As we approach the end of 2019, we have been reflecting on what an exciting year we’ve had at Word Up Community Bookshop/Librería Comunitaria. We celebrated our eighth birthday back in June, and we have continued to grow and thrive, expanding the possibilities of what bookstores can do.
We want to continue to make space for community dialogue and the stories of our neighborhood. Please join us by making a special year-end contribution to Word Up. We are a 501(c)(3) organization, so your donations are tax-deductible to the fullest extent of the law. If your employer matches donations, please keep us in mind. Thank you in advance for your support!
In collaboration with the hundreds of you who volunteer, participate, suggest, stop by, and dream with us each and every week, here’s a snapshot of what’s been happening at Word Up:
We created UPTOWN READS, a 5-month program inviting all of Uptown NYC to read the same book together, starting with Angie Cruz’s Dominicana, for which we hosted the launch along with Dominican Writers and Flatiron Books, at Alianza Dominicana Cultural Center.
During BookExpo, we hosted an Uptown Literary Happy Hour that featured authors Kalisha Buckhanon, Ta-Nehisi Coates, Jaquira Díaz, Malcolm Tariq, and Dina Nayeri.
We organized a day-long symposium devoted to the work of octogenarian Dominican-American poet, translator, and educator Rhina Espaillat.
We celebrated books like Cherríe Moraga’s memoir Native Country of the Heart, Renée Watson and Ellen Hagan‘s young adult novel Watch Us Rise, Amanda Alcántara‘s proudly independently published Chula, Matthew A. Cherry and Vashti Harrison‘s children’s picture book Hair Love, local business owner Sarina Prabasi‘s memoir The Coffeehouse Resistance, and Willie Perdomo‘s new poetry book The Crazy Bunch.
And, BEYOND BOOKS . . .
The Heights/El Alto printmaking project—commissioned by Word Up and Realengo Studio—invited visual artists who have lived uptown for 17+ years to reflect on changes in the neighborhood, and culminated in an artist talk at Word Up before the exhibit moved to the Inwood Library.
Our educational offerings included two multi-week comics classes; Spanish-language writing workshops; a series of professional development workshops for those interested in literary fields who are less represented in the publishing industry; two series of writing workshops organized by Dominican Writers; kids’ music classes presented by Listen Closely; and a writing workshop focused on queer, trans, and intersex youth in collaboration with inQluded. We have hosted dozens of Uptown Stories’ culminating readings, multiple P.S. 132 “I Am” art exhibitions, and lots more presentations by educational institutions from all over.
In sheer numbers: we hosted 300+ in-store events—readings, art exhibits, classes, workshops, community meetings, screenings, concerts, and story times—in English, Spanish, Dominicanish, Italian, Korean, and more, and sometimes with live interpretation; welcomed school visits from 500+ students from our local elementary, middle, and high schools, daycares, and colleges; facilitated internships for 20 students; distributed 17,000+ books through in-store and online sales and donations to other organizations, schools, prisons, shelters, and more; clocked 7,000+ hours of volunteer work in store and in the community; and staffed 83 offsite events around the city. For this work, Word Up received an Honorable Mention for the National Book Foundation’s Innovations in Reading Prize.
We want to continue to make space for community dialogue and the stories of our neighborhood. Please join us by making a special year-end contribution to Word Up.
Word Up is a 501(c)(3) organization, so your donations are tax-deductible to the fullest extent of the law. If your employer matches donations, please keep us in mind. Thank you in advance for your support!