Back to Copley Square for the American Literature Association and, as in the past, the high point was the awards reception sponsored by the African American Literature and Culture Society. Because I was speaking on two panels and chairing two others, I wasn't able to get to all of the AALCS sessions, let alone all the poetry sessions, but I still came away with a lot of notes and leads scrawled on my tablet.
, and then
The Toni Morrison and Paul Laurence Dunbar Societies again joined with us and presented their awards for scholarship on Morrison and Dunbar.
This year's AALCS award recipients were Cheryl Wall, for the first annual Octavia Butler Award, Henry Louis Gates, for the Darwin Turner Award, and Jamaica Kincaid, for the Stephen Henderson Award. Rather than give the usual thank you speech (though he did offer thanks), Gates gave a heartfelt overview of the life and work of Darwin Turner, a real pioneer in the field from whom all of us have learned. It was my good fortune to introduce Jamaica Kincaid, who I had also heard read recently at CLA. I was relieved that we had both managed to find our way back from Missouri, Kincaid gave a reading from the novel See Now Then, and then generously spent considerable time visiting with the audience and signing books.
The Amiri Baraka Society presented two vital sessions, the first on lesser known works and the second a round table on music in the Black Arts era.
Aldon Nielsen, Jean-Philippe Marcoux, Askia Muhammad Toure and Emili Lordi on the music panel.
Carla Harryman at work, as always.