Broward County Library: Pan African Bookfest and Cultural Conference

Pan African BookfestBroward County Library proudly presents the fifth annual Pan African Bookfest and Cultural Conference from April 11 through April 21, 2007. This event offers a host of programs by new and established authors, and includes Artist-in-Residence and Storyteller-in-Residence programs, a community history presentation, and panel and book discussions by local and national authors.

Most of the programs will be held at the African-American Research Library and Cultural Center located at 2650 NW Sistrunk Blvd., Fort Lauderdale.

The bookfest was established to draw attention to the proliferation of new work being written by local authors of African descent. In addition, the bookfest addresses the cultural, historical and day-to-day issues that impact this community.

Featured exhibits include:

  • The Colors and Textures of Our Legacy: South Africa Rises, a contemporary exhibit with a focus on utilitarian and symbolic forms including totems, bead work, ornate baskets and rites of passage ornamentation.

  • Haitian Community Arts, Images by Iris PhotoCollectives is a 38-panel exhibition in collaboration with the Historical Museum of Southern Florida. It represents the practice of Haitian traditional arts in South Florida. This exhibit is featured at the Collier City Library in Pompano Beach.

  • The Salvador of Pierre Verger is an 18-panel display of photographs showing the relationship between African and Brazilian cultures. It is sponsored by the Broward Center for the Performing Arts and South Florida Point of Light in association with the Ministry of Culture of Brazil.

Following are some highlighted activities of the event. A complete listing is available in the Library’s newsletter, Bookings, or at the Broward County Library web site: www.broward.org/library.

April 15, Sunday

2 to 5 p.m. – Yoruba-Ifa Cosmology

The Yoruba-Ifa Cosmology Panel with Yeyefini Efunbolade will explore the traditional Ifa religion and the evolution of the practice throughout the world. The Yoruba-Ifa religion is the faith practiced for thousands of years in what is known today as South Western Nigeria. In the New World, Yoruba-Ifa tradition was transfigured in order to adapt to the oppressive institution of slavery.

April 17, Tuesday

6 to 9 p.m. – “An Evening with Amiri Baraka”

This American writer is best known for his works for theatre and poetry. Baraka has explored a variety of themes, including race relations, Beat aesthetics, Black Nationalism, Marxism, and contemporary events. Baraka has founded or co-founded a number of organizations, including YUGEN Magazine, Totem Press, the Black Arts Repertory Theatre, and the Congress of African People. He has served as director of the Congress of African People, secretary-general of the National Black Political Assembly and has served as New Jersey’s Poet Laureate.

April 18th, Wednesday,

6 to 9 p.m. – First Florida Freedom Film Festival, Rewind!

(A National Library Week Celebration)

So good it had to be done twice. This event will employ a unique format of documentary films and movie films to tell the epic yet tragic story of the Black/American experience from the Middle Passage to the present. Featuring the 1987 documentary “Time and Judgment,” by British-based producer, Menelik Shabazz, and excerpts from “Goodbye Uncle Tom,” “The Birth of a Nation,” and “Marcus Garvey: Look for Me in the Whirlwind,” presented by Priest Douggie Smith and I. Jabulani Tafari, author of Marcus Mosiah Garvey. Sponsored by the Broward Public Library Foundation.

April 19, Thursday

6 - 9 p.m. – Joan Cartwright, “In Search of a Melody”

The Artist-In Residence Program with Joan Cartwright, jazz vocalist and educator recently back from an Asian tour. Cartwright will launch her new book, In Search of a Melody” that explores her 30 year career in Jazz.

April 20, Friday

10 a.m. – Moses: When Harriet Tubman Led Her People to Freedom

A reader’s theatre presentation of a book by Carole Boston Weatherford, will be presented by students from the Performing and Fine Arts Department at North Carolina’s Fayetteville State University. This multimedia production will feature readers, dancers, singers, and projected images. RSVP required. To register your group, call 954-357-7455.

April 21, Saturday – PAN AFRICAN BOOKFEST DAY

12 noon to 5 p.m.

Bookfest Day features local, national and international authors. The day includes a young adult book writer’s workshop and reception, author book signings, and cultural events.

Special features include:

12 noon to 1:30 p.m. – Zora Neale Hurston: A One-Woman Show

Phyllis McEwen will portray the life and times of Ms. Hurston, an American folklorist and author, who lived during the time of the Harlem Renaissance and is best known for her novel, Their Eyes Were Watching God.

1 to 2 p.m. – Young Adult Authors

Meet Brian W. Smith, author of Mama’s Lies – Daddy’s Pain and Blair Poole, author of Breathe. These Young Adult Authors will discuss their new fiction books and their relevancy to today’s youth and issues.

2 to 5 p.m. – Promises from the Palmetto Bush: the Genesis of Carver Ranches, Florida. This is a book signing and discussion by Cynthia Strachan Saunders. Join new author Saunders, writer and native of Carver Ranches, as she brings to life the people, places, events and the story of the growth of the 300-acre community founded in 1940. Living pioneers and their families will tell the stories of their families and this culturally rich community.

2 to 3 p.m. – Tatiana Henrique, Storyteller-In-Residence

A native of Brazil, Tatiana Henrique will present “Storytelling from the African Diaspora” with stories from her native country of Brazil. Sponsored by the Broward Center for the Performing Arts.

3 to 4:30 p.m. – Learning to Dream with Your Eyes Open.

This is a Young Adult Workshop by author, motivator Melanie D. Geddes, who will deliver her book’s message directing youth, parents and educators to focus on setting and achieving goals, pursuing dreams and focusing on the individual’s potential, not their problems.

4:30 to 5:30 p.m. – Rites of Passage for Breast Cancer Victors.

Author Jeanette Stephens-El, “Raining Deer,” author of BCV – Rites of Passage for Breast Cancer Victors, will hold a tea party to promote breast cancer awareness and discuss her new book that shares her personal experience with this diagnosis.

This years’ sponsors for the Pan African Bookfest and Cultural Conference include Broward Community College, The National Endowment for the Arts, Broward Public Library Foundation, Broward County Transit, Pyramid Books, The School Board of Broward County, The Herald, Comcast, Unique Graphics and the Florida Center for the Book, the Florida Humanities Council, Broward Center for the Performing Arts, and South Florida District of Culture.

For additional program information, call Broward County Library Outreach Services at 954-357-7348.


Contact: Tanya Simons Oparah, 954-357-7514, tsimons@browardlibrary.org

Contact: Karen Williams, 954-357-7395, kwilliam@browardlibrary.org


Founded in 1974, the award-winning Broward County Libraries Division, www.broward.org/ library, provides essential quality of life community service as well as outstanding customer service throughout Broward County. The library consists of 37 branches, more than three million items for public use, 970 permanent staff, 114 part-time staff and $4.6 million in grants with 41 grant-supported positions. Broward County Library is the ninth largest library system in the United States serving 10 million customers annually.

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