Sunday, October 4, 2009

ringShout's Martha Southgate Hosts Panel with Three "Young, Gifted, and Black (Male) Writers"

Young, Gifted and Black Men: Writer’s Who Rock (In Brooklyn)

By Chinyere Osuala

There’s an exclusivity that Park Slope, Brooklyn boasts, that makes it different, makes it stand out. No, it’s not the strollers, or the young married couples, or the yuppie-ness, it is the amount of writers, famous writers at that, who call this affluent Brooklyn neighborhood home, including Jonathan Safran Foer, Jhumpa Lahiri, and Pete Hamill. The number of cafes and writers’ spaces—even for kids—make this college-town-without-a-college a place where writers can thrive and focus on their next masterpiece.

This is the environment that esteemed Brooklyn writer Martha Southgate, author of Third Girl from the Left, thought would be a great place to feature innovative and diverse black voices.


Author Martha Southgate, left, presents the "Young, Gifted Black Male Writers" gathering in Brooklyn on October 1, with fellow authors, from left, James Hannaham, Clifford Thompson, and Victor LaValle. Photo: Chinyere Osuala

On October 1, Southgate curated the book reading and discussion,” Young, Gifted and Black (Men),” in the Old Stone House, a Park Slope recreation center. The featured writers were James Hannaham, journalist and author of God Says No; Victor LaValle, author of The Big Machine; and essayist Cliff Thompson, whose first novel, Signifying Nothing, was released in April. The event was hosted by Brooklyn Reading Works, a program that seeks exposure for emerging and notable scribes living in the area.

“I thought it would be really exciting to bring three African-American writers here,” Southgate said, “There are some interesting writers in the community, out there and I like to get them out there.”

The reading took place in a salon-like room inside the reconstructed Dutch-stone farmhouse located inside of Washington Park. Under its two-sided sloped roof, the lights beamed down on the thirty black chairs set up for guests and on the Trader Joe’s cheese and wine that host Louise Crawford, founder of Brooklyn Reading Works, made sure to mention on her blog

Please read more about Martha's evening with Victor LaValle. James Hannaham, and Cliff Thompson by going to

No comments: