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Wisconsin Book Festival set to ramp up with online event for new, posthumous Ntozake Shange collection

"Sing a Black Girl’s Song" is a new posthumous collection of Ntozake Shange’s unpublished poems, essays, and plays from throughout the life of the seminal Black feminist writer. The Wisconsin Book Festival will host an event on Wednesday night dedicated to Shange (top left) hosted by presenters (pictured clockwise) Dr. Yaba Blay, Tarana J. Burke, and Imani Perry. (Photos supplied.)

The Wisconsin Book Festival is soon approaching and Madison Public Library in partnership with Madison Public Library Foundation is getting ready for the Oct. 19-22 dates by hosting exciting events to lead into the literary celebration.

For poetry and Black literature fans alike, an upcoming online event centering Ntozake Shange’s new posthumous collection called “Sing A Black Girl’s Song” will be offered free to the public on Sept. 20, 7 p.m., on Crowdcast

The collection included unpublished poems, essays, and plays that explore experiences both as a Black woman in America, and as a human in the grand scheme of existence. Shange uses her voice and writings as a way to share an often underrepresented perspective while providing space for fellow Black women to be seen and undertake the journey of healing.

Shange’s literacy legacy extends far with 13 plays, seven novels, six children’s books, and 19 poetry collections that span the 50-plus years of her career. Although Shange passed in 2018, her legacy lives on in both the recognition of her beautiful works and the Shange Institute at Barnard College.

The event will have three presenters including Dr. Yaba Blay, Tarana Burke, and Imani Perry.

Dr. Blay is a scholar-activist and Ghanaian-American professor who is interested in topics of Black global experiences with a particular interest on the experience of Black women and girls. Dr. Blay’s work looks to dissect the ideas of colorism and skin color politics and has provided fruitful dialogue around beauty standards and concepts of Blackness.

Burke is perhaps best known for her creation and catalyzation of the “Me Too” movement that looked to challenge silence, and often acceptance towards sexual violence and harassment of women. Burke’s activism work spans the last 25 years as she has also been involved in and started other movements and organizations around supporting Black women and girls such as Just Be Inc. 

Perry is a scholar and author whose work spans across topics in African-American literature, culture, and experience. Perry is a Carol K. Pforzheimer professor at Harvard Radcliffe Institute and professor of African American studies and women and gender studies at Harvard University. Perry is also the recipient of the Lambda Literary Award and the Hurston Wright Award, and has authored seven books starting with the majorly impactful “Prophets of the Hood” for the Hip Hop studies field, and most recently winning the 2022 National Book Award for her book “South to America.”

To catch the discussion and presentation of Shange’s newest material by these three amazing Black women, save your spot for the online event on Sept. 20 at this link.