Author Archives: wordupbooks

October 24 – Another Mother by Ross Kenneth Urken

Why does a Jewish boy from Princeton, New Jersey speak with a Jamaican-inflected accent? In Another Mother, a memoir, Ross Kenneth Urken writes about his special relationship with his childhood nanny, Dezna Sanderson. Jamaican poet and artist Anna Ruth Henriques, will act as interlocutor for the evening.

Ross Kenneth Urken is a New York-based writer who has published in the Paris Review, the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg Businessweek, Esquire, New York, Tablet, the New Republic, VICE, Newsweek, National Geographic, Travel + Leisure, and the Atlantic.

Born and raised in Jamaica, Anna Ruth Henriques is a multi-talented creator. An award-winning artist, her artworks are in the permanent collections of New York’s Jewish Museum and El Museo del Barrio, as well as the National Gallery of Jamaica. She launched her first jewelry collection at Barneys New York and is the author and illustrator of The Book of Mechtilde and is currently working on a novel in prose.

About the book: 
After his cherished childhood nanny dies, a Jewish young man entering adulthood realizes there’s so much he has yet to learn about the woman who leant him her accent and with whom he shared an unlikely kindred spirit. Part memoir, part reportage, Another Mother is a story about family, an unlikely duo, and a woman whose strength held it all together. From New Jersey to Jamaica, Ross Kenneth Urken chronicles the life of Dezna Sanderson, the Jamaican immigrant nanny who had an outsize positive effect on his dysfunctional Jewish American family and his life trajectory.

An anchor in a volatile home—plagued by addiction and mental illness—Dezna became Urken’s closest confidante and inspired in him a love of words and narrative. But she vanished before he can ask all the essential questions he wants to about her life – adult to adult. There was a tacit privacy agreement she maintained during his childhood, a sacrosanct code of silence. Her role was to maintain order in this American household while obscuring the chaos of her own past. Yet because she transcended the call of duty in her love and maternal care, the author finds that gag-order null and void. As redemption for his missed opportunity, he goes on a quest to find her through an authentic connection to her Jamaican homeland and her family members. He digs deeper into her family—the three loves, the eight children—and the hardships she faced in her native country—the poverty, the family pineapple business ravaged economically by a calculated CIA plot. After becoming a widow, she escaped to the country that undid hers in search of a better future—forced with the difficult decision of leaving her own kids behind to provide for them. In his quest for the truth of Dezna’s past, Urken also encounters unexpected secrets and a spiritual Promised Land.

Another Mother by Kenneth Ross Urken
with Anna Ruth Henriques
Thursday, October 24, 2019
Word Up Community Bookshop
2113 Amsterdam Ave. @ 165th St.


October 20 – Hebe Uhart’s THE SCENT OF BUENOS AIRES: A conversation with translator Maureen Shaughnessy and Eva Gasteazoro

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A remarkable traveler and observer, Hebe Uhart pays close attention to the way people speak, how they move, and how they remain still. Considered to be one of the greatest contemporary Argentine writers, Uhart won the Manuel Rojas Iberian-American Award for literature in 2017. The Scent of Buenos Aires is the first collection of Uhart’s to be published in English, and Maureen Shaughnessy’s translation perfectly captures Uhart’s extraordinary world, one dappled with iridescent ivy and the small epiphanies of ordinary souls.

At this event at Word Up, Maureen will be in conversation with fellow translator Eva Gasteazoro, a writer and performance artist, translator, and teacher, originally from Nicaragua.

Hebe Uhart’s The Scent of Buenos Aires
a conversation with translator Maureen Shaughnessy and Eva Gasteazoro

Sunday, October 20, 2019
Word Up Community Bookshop/Librería Comunitaria
2113 Amsterdam Ave. @ 165th St.
New York NY 10032
Can’t make it to the event? Order the book here.

October 18 – Cuatro escritoras americanas – 8va lectura // Four American writers – 8th reading


¿De dónde somos y dónde estamos cuando escribimos? ¿Dónde, cuando nos leen? Nosotras estamos de paso o vivimos en español en la ciudad, escritoras americanas en Nueva York. En esta octava lectura del ciclo: Mana Bugallo, Carmen Cáceres, Paula Jiménez España, Ana Sánchez Acevedo. En las próximas lecturas se irá multiplicando la procedencia de las voces, las tensiones, los recorridos. Invitamos a escuchar, a leer, a discutir y a trazar mapas nuevos. // Where are we from and where are we when we are writing? And when we are being read? We are just a few among so many people living in Spanish in this city, American writers in New York. In this eighth reading: Mana Bugallo, Carmen Cáceres, Paula Jiménez España, Ana Sánchez Acevedo. In the upcoming readings the origin of the voices, the tensions, and the trajectories will multiply. We invite you to listen, read, discuss, and draw new maps.

Mana Bugallo is a performer, writer, and singer from Buenos Aires, Argentina. She’s too serious to be a comedian and too neurotic to take her poetry seriously. Her abilities, whatever they are, are at the service of those who want to change this unfair world. // Mana Bugallo nació en Buenos Aires, Argentina. Es performer, escritora y cantante. Es demasiado seria como para ser comediante y demasiado neurótica como para tomarse en serio su poesía. Sus habilidades, cualesquiera sean, están al servicio de quienes quieran cambiar este mundo injusto.

Carmen M. Cáceres (1981, Posadas, Argentina) es escritora, traductora, ha sido productora del Festival Internacional de Literatura en Buenos Aires (FILBA) y ha dado talleres literarios en Buenos Aires, Madrid y Bogotá. En 2008 obtuvo el subsidio otorgado por el Fondo Metropolitano a las Artes y en 2010 fue seleccionada por el Consejo Nacional para la Cultura y las Artes de México (CONACULTA) para participar en las residencias de artistas iberoamericanos. En 2015 fue finalista del Premio Cosecha Eñe (España) y en 2016 la editorial Pre-Textos publicó su novela Una verdad improvisada. Ha traducido novelas y ensayos del inglés para las editoriales Seix Barral, Sexto Piso, Sílex o el CIS. Como ilustradora, ha realizado portadas para Anagrama, Pre-Textos y Visor utilizando técnicas analógicas de collage. Vive y trabaja en Nueva York. // Carmen M. Cáceres (1981, Posadas) is an Argentinean writer, translator and illustrator. She’s worked as a producer for the International Literature Festival in Buenos Aires (FILBA) and has given literary workshops in Buenos Aires, Madrid and Bogotá. In 2008 obtained the subsidy granted by the Metropolitan Fund for the Arts and in 2010 was selected by the National Council for Culture and Arts of Mexico (CONACULTA) to participate in the residences of Latin American artists. In 2015 she was longlisted for the Eñe Prize (Spain) and in 2016 published her first fiction novel Una verdad improvisada. As an illustrator, she’s done book covers for Anagrama, Pre-Textos and Visor in Spain using analog collage techniques. Lives and works in New York.

Paula Jiménez España nació en Buenos Aires en 1969. En poesía publicó, entre otros libros, Ser feliz en Baltimore (Nusud, 2001), la mala vida (Bajo la luna, 2007), Espacios naturales ( Bajo la luna, 2009), Paisaje alrededor (Bajo la luna, 2014), Terrores nocturnos (El ojo del mármol, 2017) y la antología personal El corazón de los otros (Tabaquería, 2015, México). En prosa: Pollera pantalón / cuentos de género (La Mariposa y la Iguana, 2012) la novela La doble (La Mariposa y la Iguana, 2018) y el libro de ensayos La cifra mágica (El ojo del mármol, 2017). En 2006 recibió el Premio Nacional de Literatura Tres de Febrero, en 2007 el 2º Premio de relato corto LGBT de Hegoak (País Vasco), en 2008 el Primer Premio Fondo Nacional de las Artes y en 2015 un reconocimiento del Premio Nacional (Ministerio de cultura de la Nación). Como periodista colabora desde 2008 con Soy y Las 12 de Página 12, y con la revista de viajes Marcopolo. Dicta talleres de escritura desde 2001.

Paula Jiménez was born in Buenos Aires in 1969. She published the poetry books “Ser feliz en Baltimore” (Nusud, 2001), “La mala vida” (Bajo la luna, 2007), “Espacios naturales” (Bajo la luna, 2009), “Paisaje alrededor” (Bajo la luna, 2014), “Terrores nocturnos” (El ojo del marmol, 2017) and the anthology “El corazón de los otros” (Tabaquería, 2015, México), among others. In prose: “Pollera pantalón/genre stories” (La Mariposa y la Iguana, 2012), the novel “La doble” (La Mariposa y la Iguana, 2018) and the essay book “La cifra mágica” (El ojo del marmol, 2017). In 2006 she received the National Literary Prize Tres de Febrero, in 2007 the 2º Prize for LGBT short story – Hegoak (Basque Country), in 2008 the First Prize Fondo Nacional de las Artes and in 2015 an honorary mention of the National Prize. As a journalist, since 2008, she collaborates with Soy y Las 12 (Página 12), and with the travel magazine Marcopolo. She has been teaching writing workshops since 2001. She lives in Argentina.

Ana Sánchez Acevedo (Elche, España, 1983) trabaja como docente e investigadora en la City University of New York, donde se especializa en prácticas escénicas contemporáneas. Su único libro de poemas hasta la fecha, teatro anatómico, todavía está inédito y en proceso de composición. // Ana Sánchez Acevedo (Elche, Spain, 1983) works as a teacher and researcher at the City University of New York, where she specializes in contemporary performing practices. Her only book of poems to date, teatro anatómico, is still unpublished and in the process of being composed.

Cuatro escritoras americanas – 8va lectura // Four American writers – 8th reading
Friday, October 18
Word Up Community Bookshop/Librería Comunitaria
New York NY 10032
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October 9 – PURE: Linda Kay Klein w/ Teresa Delgado & Jamia Wilson

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Join Linda Kay Klein, Teresa Delgado, and Jamia Wilson as they discuss Christianity, gender and sexuality through Linda’s book, Pure: Inside the Evangelical Movement that Shamed a Generation of Young Women and How I Broke Free.

Though about white American evangelicalism, the issues Pure discusses around gender and sexuality reverberate across different racial groups and forms of Christianity. Teresa and Jamia will join to discuss the impact of the evangelical purity on other groups, and bring their own perspectives on gender and sexuality in religion to the table.

LINDA KAY KLEIN is the author of Pure: Inside the Evangelical Movement that Shamed a Generation of Young Women and How I Broke Free. Her work has been featured by NPR’s Fresh Air with Terry Gross, CBS News, Elle, Cosmopolitan, Good Housekeeping, Chicago Tribune, New York Post, and more.

TERESA DELGADO is director of the Peace and Justice Studies program and professor and chairperson of the Religious Studies department at Iona College. Author of A Puerto Rican Decolonial Theology: Prophesy Freedom, she has published on diverse topics, including theology, race, education, gender, and sexuality.

JAMIA WILSON is an activist, feminist leader, writer, and speaker. She is also the director of the The Feminist Press at CUNY and the former VP of programs at the Women’s Media Center. She is the author of Young, Gifted, and Black and, the introduction and oral history in Together We Rise: Behind the Scenes at the Protest Heard Around the World, and Step Into Your Power: 23 Lessons on How to Live Your Best Life.

Can’t make it to the event? Order the book here:

October 17 – Renée Watson & Ellen Hagan

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Join Renée Watson and Ellen Hagan for a reading, conversation, and signing of their co-written young adult novel Watch Us Rise—a book that features the Word Up Teen Open Mic!

“This stunning book is the story I’ve been waiting for my whole life; where girls rise up to claim their space with joy and power.” –Laurie Halse Anderson, New York Times–bestselling and award-winning author of Speak

“An extraordinary story of two indomitable spirits.” –Brendan Kiely, New York Times–bestselling co-author of All-American Boys and Tradition

“Timely, thought-provoking, and powerful.” –Julie Murphy, New York Times–bestselling author of Dumplin’

Jasmine and Chelsea are best friends on a mission–they’re sick of the way women are treated even at their progressive NYC high school, so they decide to start a Women’s Rights Club. They post their work online–poems, essays, videos of Chelsea performing her poetry, and Jasmine’s response to the racial microaggressions she experiences–and soon they go viral. But with such positive support, the club is also targeted by trolls. When things escalate in real life, the principal shuts the club down. Not willing to be silenced, Jasmine and Chelsea will risk everything for their voices–and those of other young women–to be heard.

These two dynamic, creative young women stand up and speak out in a novel that features their compelling art and poetry along with powerful personal journeys that will inspire readers and budding poets, feminists, and activists.

Renée Watson is a New York Times–bestselling author, educator, and activist. Her young adult novel, Piecing Me Together (Bloomsbury, 2017) received a Coretta Scott King Award and Newbery Honor. Her children’s picture books and novels for teens—which include Some Places More Than Others, Betty Before X, Harlem’s Little Blackbird, and A Place Where Hurricanes Happen—have received several awards and international recognition. In the summer of 2016, Renée launched I, Too, Arts Collective, a nonprofit committed to nurturing underrepresented voices in the creative arts. She launched the #LangstonsLegacy Campaign to raise funds to lease the Harlem brownstone where Langston Hughes lived and created during the last twenty years of his life. Her hope is to preserve the legacy of Langston Hughes and build on it by providing programming for emerging writers. Renée grew up in Portland, Oregon and currently lives in New York City.

Ellen Hagan is a writer, performer, educator, author of two poetry collections—Crowned and Hemisphere—and co-author of Watch Us Rise, a YA collaboration with Renée Watson from Bloomsbury. She is the recipient of the 2013 NoMAA Creative Arts Grant and received grants from the Kentucky Foundation for Women and the Kentucky Governor’s School for the Arts. Ellen is the Director of the Poetry & Theatre Departments at the DreamYard Project and directs their International Poetry Exchange Program with Japan, South Korea and the Philippines. She co-leads the Alice Hoffman Young Writer’s Retreat at Adelphi University. A proud Kentucky writer, Ellen is a member of the Affrilachian Poets, Conjure Women, and is co-founder of the girlstory collective. She lives with her husband and daughters in New York City.

Watch Us Rise: A reading & signing with Renée Watson & Ellen Hagan
Thursday, October 17, 2019

Word Up Community Bookshop/Librería Comunitaria
2113 Amsterdam Ave. @ 165th St.
New York NY 10032
Can’t make it to the event? Order the book here.