Saturday, July 20, 2024

African-American Authors to Appear at Las Vegas Book Festival

The 17th Annual Las Vegas Book Festival will spotlight an impressive lineup of award-winning and best-selling African American authors on Saturday, October 20, 2018 — at the Historic Fifth Street School, located at 401 S. Fourth Street. The day-long event begins at 9 a.m. and has a special After Dark program at 7:30 p.m. Festival events are free and open to all ages, including special children’s programming.

Don’t miss this chance to meet New York Times best-selling authors Colson Whitehead and Nnedi Okorafor, as well as many other talented writers, artists, and illustrators who are inspiring the next generation with their distinctive styles and voices. There will also be a fascinating panel discussion on Afrofuturism, an exciting new trend in literature.

Whitehead’s novel, “The Underground Railroad,” won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, the Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence, and the National Book Award — among many other honors. His other works have included “The Intuitionist,” “The Zone,” and “Sag Harbor.” Whitehead has taught at University of Houston, Columbia University, Princeton University, and Wesleyan University. He will appear at 4 p.m. in the Fifth Street School Auditorium.

Novelist Okorafor is known for her African- based science fiction, fantasy, and magical realism, which weaves African culture into creative settings and memorable characters. One striking example of this is her work on Marvel’s “Black Panther” comics, launching their new series, “Wakanda Forever.” She is the recipient of numerous awards including a Nebula, a Hugo Award, and an Africana Book Award. Her adult novel, “Who Fears Death,” will be adapted into a TV series by “Game of Thrones” author George R.R. Martin and HBO. Her first appearance will be as part of a “Hero or Villain: Superheroes and Villains for Teens and Adults” panel with CB Lee and Sarah Kuhn at 5:15 p.m.

Okorafor will then appear that evening, along with Gregory Tate and Ingrid LaFleur, as part of a special Las Vegas Book Festival After Dark panel discussion on Afrofuturism, moderated by Niela Orr at 7:30 p.m., also in the auditorium. Inspired by Tate’s illuminating essay on the topic, the discussion will cover, “The Pioneering of the Self in All Spaces: Afrofuturism and the Black-Body-Psyche Unbound.”

Tate, a founding member of the Black Rock Coalition, is a veteran staff writer for well-known publications including The New York Times, Rolling Stone and VIBE. He has taught at New York University, Yale University, Williams College, and Princeton University.

A recent mayoral candidate in Detroit, LaFleur is an artist, activist, and Afrofuturist. Her platform brought the idea of an Afrotopia and “the equitable distribution of the future” into Detroit politics. She has led conversations and workshops at Centre Pompidou in Paris, TEDxBrooklyn, TEDxDetroit, Harvard University, and Oxford University.

Orr is a radio producer the current writer-in-residence at the Black Mountain Institute; her work has been featured in The New York Times Book Review, BuzzFeed, and Elle.

Whitehead is one of three distinguished keynote speakers who will appear, including novelist Sara Shepard, the best-selling author of the new horror thriller “The Elizas” and the hugely popular teen crime thriller “Pretty Little Liars,” which became a series on ABC Family network; and former poet laureate of Los Angeles Luis Rodriguez, author of 15 books including the best-selling memoir, “Always Running: La Vida Loca, Gang Days in L.A.,” and “It Calls You Back: An Odyssey Through Love, Addiction, Revolutions and Healing.”

The Las Vegas Book Festival is produced by the city of Las Vegas, Las Vegas-Clark County Library District, Las Vegas-Clark County Library District Foundation, and Nevada Humanities. For information, please visit or call (702) 229-ARTS (2787).

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