Home Land City is a literary showcase, featuring the collaboration of several women writers in an evening of readings by emerging Diaspora and immigrant writers based in New York City. Through three acts, the show will explore issues faced by urban Diaspora writers as well as discuss the writers’ competing notions of home. New and emerging writers with nationalities and dual identities representing the U.S., Jamaica, Haiti, and other parts of the Caribbean are featured in the performance, as well as traditional music by artists from Honduras and Belize. Nyasha Laing, the curator of the event, tells us the inspiration behind the event and what attendees can expect.
Q: Tell us about Home, Land, City, and the inspiration behind it?
Nyasha Laing: The event was inspired by my own longing for a country in which I have ancestral ties and had lived for five years but was not born in. It was also inspired by the expressions of interest by women writers of color in writing collectively into a space which provided more room for the existential questions and between-two-world experiences of many diaspora writers. we decided to invite writers to submit works that stretched the boundaries of the Caribbean Diaspora and openly explored the writers’ relationship to themes of “Home” Land” “City” and belonging. The project’s focus on gender empowerment emerged by virtue of the writers who took interest in the project – young women.
Q: Tell us about the writers?
Nyasha Laing: The writers are emerging women voices developing new poetry and fiction. Some are releasing first and second books. We wanted to give them space to share their unique voices while celebrating the common experiences reflected in their work. The experience of the immigrant or diaspora writer has been examined by writers as well-known as VS Naipaul. It is the lesser known voices, the new talents, the next generation whose participation in that conversation is critical to defining notions of home and community, and keeping them current.
Q: What can the audience expect?
Nyasha Laing: The audience can expect a show of poetry, fiction, and short film that will give them a taste of what’s in store for these talented artists. The Bowery poetry club is now situated in an intimate cabaret like setting with a wonderful atmosphere.
The featured writers for the event are:
Tiphanie Yanique is the author of the short story collection, How to Escape from a Leper Colony, published by Graywolf Press, and the novel Land of Love and Drowning, which will be published by Riverhead/Penguin on July 10th. BookPage listed her as one of the 14 Women to watch out for in 2014. Her writing has won the 2011 BOCAS Prize for Caribbean Fiction, Boston Review Prize in Fiction, a Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers Award, a Pushcart Prize, a Fulbright Scholarship and an Academy of American Poet’s Prize. She has been listed by the Boston Globe as one of the sixteen cultural figures to watch out for and by the National Book Foundation as one of the 5 Under 35. Her writing has been published in Best African American Fiction, The Wall Street Journal, American Short Fiction and other places. Tiphanie is from the Virgin Islands and is a professor in the MFA program at the New School in New York City.
Amina Henry is a poet-playwright who creates poetry for the stage. Recent productions include: An American Family Takes a Lover, produced by The Cell: a 21st Century Salon and presented by Theatre for the New City (New York, NY), Water produced by Drama of Works (Brooklyn, NY) and The Minstrel Show, produced as part of the 2013 Bring a Weasel and a Pint of Your Own Blood Festival 13th Street Theater/CSC. Her work has been developed/presented by: Oregon Shakespeare Festival in the 2013 Black Swan Lab Series (Ashland, OR), The Brick, HERE Arts Center, The Cell: a 21st Century Salon, HERO Theatre, the Hive Theater, Shakespeare’s Sister Company, the Bowery Poetry Club and Brooklyn College. She was a 2012-2013 Core Apprentice playwright at The Playwrights Center and a 2013 Finalist for the Leah Ryan FEWW Playwriting Prize her play Bully. She was a featured playwright at the 2013 Black and Latino Playwrights Conference at Texas State University. Publications include Hello, My Name Is Joe in the compilation 24 Gun Control Plays, published by NoPassport Press. Amina Henry is a graduate of Yale University, NYU’s Performance Studies MA program and Brooklyn College’s MFA Playwriting program.
Arielle John. Hailing from the twin-island Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, the young writer has been involved in arts education and youth advocacy for a number of years, mainly initiated by her work with Arts-in-Action, an applied theatre arts organization at the University of the West Indies, Trinidad. The Brooklyn-based legal studies graduate is now pursuing further training at the City University of New York where she was recently awarded the Harriet Brows Scholarship for Social Change as well as the Sojouner Truth Memorial Award for exceptional talent and commitment to social justice. The budding theater director is also a part of the Brooklyn College Poetry Slam Team, which ranked 2nd in America at the national inter-college poetry slam (CUPSI) in April 2013.
Nadia Alexis is a New York City born Haitian poet, activist and community organizer. Her poems have appeared in BLACKBERRY: a magazine and Kalyani Magazine. She was selected to attend The Watering Hole’s inaugural 2013 retreat and will be attending the 2014 Callaloo Creative Writing Fellowship at Brown University in June of 2014. She currently interns at Brooklyn Poets and resides in Harlem.
Luthfun J. Nahar is an English student-teacher at a high school in Times Square. She studies English literature at Hunter College. Luthfun is originally from Sandwip, a 3,000-year-old island that is part of present-day Bangladesh. She came to the United States at the age of seven in the winter of 1999. In addition to working with students in Haiti to build sustainable living conditions, Luthfun is also a cofounder of Atlas: DIY, the nonprofit organization for undocumented youth and their allies. She has two younger siblings and lives in Crown Heights, Brooklyn.
Home Land City, takes on place Sunday April 27, 2014 at Duane Park/Bowery Poetry Club in New York City. In addition to readings by emerging women writers from the Diaspora, the event will also present The Cluster Project, Ayat and Mina, part of a series titled “The Human Kind,” which uses the words of cluster bomb survivors to evoke their individual stories, hopes and dreams.
Sunday, April 27, 6-8 pm
Duane Park Burlesque / Bowery Poetry Club
308 Bowery, NY, NY
Advanced tickets can be purchased here