Join Chicago readers and book lovers at the Printers Row Lit Fest which will feature selected offerings from over 100 booksellers, including beloved used books, rare finds, and brand new, just-published works.
There are also more than 100 authors participating in panels, discussions, a variety of other programs, and opportunities for book signings.
Find out more here, and we hope to see you there!
Alice Walker made history in 1982 when she became the first black woman to win the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award for The Color Purple. Almost forty years before the “Me Too” movement, the book received both praise and negative criticism upon publication and for the conversations around race, gender, and sexual violence that it sparked and still continues today. Since then, the powerful and controversial novel has been adapted into an Oscar-nominated film directed by Steven Spielberg and a Broadway musical produced by Oprah Winfrey.
In Search of the Color Purple by prominent academic and activist Salamishah Tillet combines cultural criticism, history, and memoir to explore Walker’s epistolary novel. Tillet examines the groundbreaking novel through archival research, interviews with Alice Walker, Oprah Winfrey, Quincy Jones, and others, and through her own personal experiences with the text. Reading The Color Purple at age fifteen was a groundbreaking experience for Tillet that continues to resonate—as a sexual violence survivor, as a teacher of the novel, and as an accomplished writer. Provocative and personal, In Search of the Color Purple is a bold and timely work from an important public intellectual that captures this novel’s seminal role in reimagining trauma, healing, and justice for generations to come.
The event will be on April 14th, 6:00-7:00 p.m. and is co-sponsored by the DePaul Department of English, Women’s Center, Center for Black Diaspora, and African and Black Diaspora Studies
Register for the event here.
Sandra Cisneros is a poet, short story writer, novelist, essayist, performer and artist whose work explores working class lives and landscapes. She will receive the Chicago Literary Hall of Fame’s Fuller Award for lifetime achievement.
As a Chicago native, Cisneros began her career with the 1980 publication of poetry chapbook Bad Boys and her must-read 1984 young adult novel, The House on Mango Street. Her most recent work is 2015’s A House of My Own: Stories From My Life.
Cisneros has received many prestigious awards, including the American Book Award, a MacArthur Fellowship, a Lannan Literary Award for Fiction, and an Anisfield-Wolf Book Award for Fiction. The Chicago Literary Hall of Fame’s award acknowledges Cisneros’s rightful place as one of our greatest contemporary authors and her enormous influence on our literary and cultural life.
Carlos Cumpián will serve as the master of ceremonies for the evening, and a lineup of speakers that includes Jorge Valdivia and Richard Bray, will give short tributes. Donna Seaman will interview Sandra after her acceptance speech, with audience members invited to submit questions. More speakers and details will be added throughout the next couple of weeks. The event is free and open to the public, but registration is required in advance.
Submit to the C.D. Wright Emerging Poet’s Prize! The grand prize includes $1,000 and publication (as well as an Editor’s Choice Prize of $250 and publication). This year, the contest is being judged by none other than Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Jericho Brown.
The Arkansas International is a literary magazine sponsored by The University of Arkansas Graduate Program in Creative Writing and Translation.
Check out their website: https://www.arkint.org/cd-wright-prize for more information.
We’re celebrating Banned Books Week! This week recalls the value of free and open access to information. Check out DePaul’s upcoming events, and exercise your freedom to read!
Diversity Can Exist in America, and In Romance Novels Too
By Morgan Kail-Ackerman
Contributor to The Underground
The Bride Test by Helen Hoang is a 2019 contemporary romance novel book that is sure to melt your heart, and keep you excited the entire time. Although this is the second book in the series, you can follow characters and plot without reading The Kiss Quotient, the first book in Hoang’s universe.
This beautiful love story is a modern Cinderella retelling, but this time the story is told with diversity and equality. It follows Esme, a Vietnamese woman, who is given the opportunity to live in America by Cô Nga, the mother of our romantic male hero, as long as she tries to seduce Khai into marriage. Khai, on the other hand, is dealing with the death of his best friend, Andy. As someone who is told over and over that he cannot feel emotions due to his autism, Khai believes he has a heart of stone and blames himself for Andy’s death.
The Bride Test has a perfect balance of everything you will want. It is a well-written story, gives fully dimensional characters, and keeps you interested with every page. On the whole, it is a romance novel that makes you fall in love with these characters, root for their relationship, and believe in everything they are fighting for.
In addition to being a solid romance novel, the story pushes diversity in the romance genre. Both of the romantic leads are people of color, and one is not American. Throughout the novel, Esme speaks in Vietnamese or choppy English. In fact, the last line of the novel is in Vietnamese.
The book also features a positive, well-written representation of autism from Helen Hoang, who is autistic herself. We learn from and support Khai as he figures out his autism and emotions. Esme is likewise not well-educated, and spends parts of the novel trying to find herself while seeking higher education. These aspects are not generally seen in a mainstream romance novel, so Helen Hoang’s novel brings a gorgeous new story to the landscape of the modern romance genre.
Nevertheless, The Bride Test can be a little predictable. It is a Cinderella-retelling and the plot is straightforward, so maybe that is where the predictability lies. Yet it is a positive predictability. You can guess where the novel is going, but that does not mean you will not enjoy the ride.
If you are looking for a contemporary and diverse romance novel, look no further! The Bride Test is for anyone who is looking for a beautiful and sexy love story.