Porchlight Literati Book Club

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Join the Porchlight Literati reading group for an evening of rocking chairs, sweet tea, and conversations covering a vibrant array of fiction, personal narrative, and poetry by contemporary authors of color. This book club will be hosted by Hub City Writer-in-Residence Ngwah-Mbo Nkweti. Together, we will delve into texts that charm on the page while also forging a more inclusive literary universe reflective of the world we live in. Book selections will be complemented by alternative narrative forms such as film and music.

We will meet on 3rd Tuesdays in Sept/Oct/Nov from 7:00 PM- 8:30 PM at the Hub City Writers House in downtown Spartanburg, 252 South Spring Street. All are welcome! To foster a lively and engaged exchange, discussions guides will be posted online and e-mailed before each gathering. Please RSVP below to receive these materials by email.

RSVP today. Your discounted copy of each book will be available at the Hub City Bookshop, where members receive steep discounts on great reads!

About Ngwah-Mbo (Nana) Nkweti

About Ngwah-Mbo (Nana) Nkweti

Ngwah-Mbo Nkweti will join Hub City as Writer-In-Residence this Fall. A Cameroonian-American writer and English professor, her residency will run from September until December.

Nkweti recently completed Like Walking on Cowry Shells – a linked short-story collection focused on the lives of hyphenated-Americans who share her multi-cultural heritage in the United States and Africa. The book features complex, fully-embodied characters in stories she hopes will entertain readers while also offering them a counterpoint to prevalent “heart of darkness” writing that too often depicts a singular “African” experience.

September 20 | Fiction

September 20 | Fiction

The Sellout by Paul Beatty

A biting satire about a young man's isolated upbringing and the race trial that sends him to the Supreme Court, Paul Beatty's The Sellout showcases a comic genius at the top of his game. It challenges the sacred tenets of the United States Constitution, urban life, the civil rights movement, the father-son relationship, and the holy grail of racial equality―the black Chinese restaurant. Born in the "agrarian ghetto" of Dickens―on the southern outskirts of Los Angeles―the narrator of The Sellout resigns himself to the fate of lower-middle-class Californians: "I'd die in the same bedroom I'd grown up in, looking up at the cracks in the stucco ceiling that've been there since '68 quake." Raised by a single father, a controversial sociologist, he spent his childhood as the subject in racially charged psychological studies. He is led to believe that his father's pioneering work will result in a memoir that will solve his family's financial woes. But when his father is killed in a police shoot-out, he realizes there never was a memoir. All that's left is the bill for a drive-thru funeral. Fueled by this deceit and the general disrepair of his hometown, the narrator sets out to right another wrong: Dickens has literally been removed from the map to save California from further embarrassment. Enlisting the help of the town's most famous resident―the last surviving Little Rascal, Hominy Jenkins―he initiates the most outrageous action conceivable: reinstating slavery and segregating the local high school, which lands him in the Supreme Court.

READING & DISCUSSION GUIDE for the THE SELLOUT

October 18 | Poetry

October 18 | Poetry

teaching my mother how to give birth by Warsan Shire

What elevates 'teaching my mother how to give birth', what gives the poems their disturbing brilliance, is Warsan Shire's ability to give simple, beautiful eloquence to the veiled world where sensuality lives in the dominant narrative of Islam; reclaiming the more nuanced truths of earlier times - as in Tayeb Salih's work - and translating to the realm of lyric the work of the likes of Nawal El Saadawi. As Rumi said, "Love will find its way through all languages on its own"; in 'teaching my mother how to give birth', Warsan's début pamphlet, we witness the unearthing of a poet who finds her way through all preconceptions to strike the heart directly. Warsan Shire is a Kenyan-born Somali poet and writer who is based in London. Born in 1988, she is an artist and activist who uses her work to document narratives of journey and trauma. Warsan has read her work internationally, including recent readings in South Africa, Italy and Germany, and her poetry has been translated into Italian, Spanish and Portuguese.

November 22 | Negroland by Margo Jefferson

November 22 | Negroland by Margo Jefferson

Negroland by Margo Jefferson

Pulitzer Prize–winning cultural critic Margo Jefferson was born in 1947 into upper-crust black Chicago. Her father was head of pediatrics at Provident Hospital, while her mother was a socialite. In these pages, Jefferson takes us into this insular and discerning society: “I call it Negroland,” she writes, “because I still find ‘Negro’ a word of wonders, glorious and terrible.” Negroland’s pedigree dates back generations, having originated with antebellum free blacks who made their fortunes among the plantations of the South. It evolved into a world of exclusive sororities, fraternities, networks, and clubs—a world in which skin color and hair texture were relentlessly evaluated alongside scholarly and professional achievements, where the Talented Tenth positioned themselves as a third race between whites and “the masses of Negros,” and where the motto was “Achievement. Invulnerability. Comportment.” At once incendiary and icy, mischievous and provocative, celebratory and elegiac, Negroland is a landmark work on privilege, discrimination, and the fallacy of post-racial America.