African Town, by Charles Waters and Irene Latham, Chosen as the 2022 Alabama Great Reads Selection


The Alabama Center for the Book has selected African Town, by Charles Waters and Irene Latham, to be featured as the Alabama Great Reads selection for the 2022 National Book Festival. This year’s theme is, “Books Bring Us Together.”

The Library of Congress National Book Festival is an annual literary event that brings together best-selling authors and thousands of book fans for author talks, panel discussions, book signings and other activities. The 22nd Library of Congress National Book Festival will be held Labor Day weekend, returning this year to the Washington Convention Center on Saturday, September 3rd. A selection of programs will be livestreamed, and video of all presentations can be viewed online after the Festival concludes. 

African Town is a novel-in-verse, chronicling the story of the last Africans brought illegally to America in 1860.

“In 1860, long after the United States outlawed the importation of enslaved laborers, 110 men, women and children from Benin and Nigeria were captured and brought to Mobile, Alabama aboard a ship called Clotilda. Their journey includes the savage Middle Passage and being hidden in the swamplands along the Alabama River before being secretly parceled out to various plantations, where they made desperate attempts to maintain both their culture and also fit into the place of captivity to which they’d been delivered. At the end of the Civil War, the survivors created a community for themselves they called African Town, which still exists to this day. Told in 14 distinct voices, including that of the ship that brought them to the American shores and the founder of African Town, this powerfully affecting historical novel-in-verse recreates a pivotal moment in US and world history, the impacts of which we still feel today.”

–Penguin Random House

Every year, a list of books representing the literary heritage of the 50 states, the District of Columbia, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico, is distributed by the Library of Congress’s Center for the Book during the National Book Festival.  Each book is selected by a Center for the Book state affiliate or state library and most are for children and young readers. Books may be written by authors from the state, take place in the state, or celebrate the state’s culture and heritage.

The Alabama Center for the Book supports reading, literacy and other book-related activities in Alabama as well as promotes appreciation of regional writers.  The Center is a founding co-sponsor of the Alabama Writers Hall of Fame.

The Library of Congress’ Center for the Book, established by Congress in 1977 to stimulate public interest in books and reading, is a national force for reading and literacy promotion.  A public-private partnership, its sponsors educational programs that reach readers of all ages through its affiliated state centers, collaborations with nonprofit reading-promotion partners and through its Poetry and Literature Center at the Library of Congress. For more information, visit Read.gov.

 

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