How many of us have recited and pondered the words of this epic poem by the great Langston Hughes, he asks “What happens to a dream deferred? Does it dry up Like a raisin in the sun?... Or does it explode?” Hughes further comments on the power of dreaming and the value of dreamers, offering this advice, “Hold fast to dreams, for if dreams die, life is a broken-winged bird that cannot fly.” And knowing full well the weight of life outside of prose and verse, he offered these words of encouragement that ring, still, inside the ears and lives inside the hearts of many who love Langston Hughes. He said: “Let the rain kiss you. Let the rain beat upon your head with silver liquid drops. Let the rain sing you a lullaby.”
For the third straight year, Total Equity Now will again co-sponsor the Langston Hughes Festival at The City College of New York on Thursday, November 16.
The event will honor the 2017 Langston Hughes Medal Winner world-renowned author Zadie Smith, whose work will be celebrated at the free LHF event.
Langston Hughes Medal Award winner Zadie Smith is an award-winning British-born novelist. She joins a list of literary luminaries, including James Baldwin, Toni Morrison, Maya Angelou and Walter Mosley, who have received this honor.
Smith is a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and has twice been listed as one of Granta's 20 Best Young British Novelists. Her first novel, "White Teeth"(Random House, 2000) was the winner of The Whitbread First Novel Award, The Guardian First Book Award, The James Tait Black Memorial Prize for Fiction, and The Commonwealth Writers' First Book Award. Her second novel, "The Autograph Man" (Vintage Books / Random House, 2002), won The Jewish Quarterly Wingate Literary Prize. Smith's third novel, "On Beauty" (Penguin Books, 2005) received the Orange Prize for Fiction, The Commonwealth Writers' Best Book Award (Eurasia Section) and was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize. Her fourth novel, "NW" (Penguin Press, 2012) was shortlisted for the Royal Society of Literature Ondaatje Prize and the Women's Prize for Fiction. "Swing Time" (Penguin Books, 2016), Smith's most recent book, has been shortlisted for the National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction. In addition, she published an essay collection, "Changing My Mind" (Penguin Books) in 2009.
Smith writes regularly for the New Yorker magazine and the New York Review of Books. She is a tenured professor of creative writing at New York University.
The evening will include a reading by Zadie Smith, a conversation between the honoree and writer and City College Professor Emily Raboteau, award presentation by Jacqueline Woodson and a special musical guest.
On November 1st support #RockThoseReads by carrying
reading materials publicly and proudly everywhere you go--on Wednesday, November 1 (Literacy Across Harlem Day).
Consider showing of Zadie Smith and/or the Langston Hughes poetry collection featured in our very special list of books about Harlem.
You can find Zadie Smith's books at Sister's Uptown Bookstore & Cultural Center (156th St. & Amsterdam Ave.) and at your local Harlem branch of the New York Public Library.