Category Archives: Book Signing

November 20 – Nathalie Handal’s Life in a Country Album

RSVP here

Join us to celebrate the launch of Nathalie Handal new poetry collection Life in a Country Album.

The book launch will have food and music inspired by the poetry book with appearances by the author Nathalie Handal for a night of celebration and festivities. Michael Archer (founder of Guernica Magazine) will introduce the book, and Nimmi Gowrinathan (professor/founder, Politics of Sexual Violence Initiative & Beyond Identity faculty, City College) will lead a Q & A.

A dynamic line-up of guest-writers, actors and students will read a poem from Life in a Country Album: Tina Chang (Hybrida); Ricky Maldonado (The Life Assignment); Najla Said (actor); Nivea Castro and Wendy Angulo (VONA – The Voices of Our Nation Arts Foundation); Kathy Engel (The Lost Brother Alphabet); student writers, Nailah Garard (Beyond Identity fellow), Jasmine Hayden, Asia Lo Savio, and more…

With Arabic Latin live music by percussionist & oud player Zafer Tawil & Co.

Life in Country Album by Nathalie Handal: From migrations to pop culture, loss to la dérive, Life in a Country Album is a soundtrack of the global cultural landscape—borders and citizenship, hybrid identities and home, freedom and pleasure. It’s a vast and moving look at the world, at what home means, and the ways we coexist in an increasingly divided world. These poems are about the dialects of the heart—those we are incapable of parting from, and those that are largely forgotten. Life in a Country Album is a vital book for our times. With this beautiful, epic collection, Nathalie Handal affirms herself as one of our most diverse and important contemporary poets.

I love how the desire and longing running through these poems reaches me via the collection’s many voices and cityscapes, and–most poignantly–via the borders between bodies, nations and hearts. Absolutely gorgeous.
—Tracy K. Smith, Poet Laureate of the United States

NATHALIE HANDAL was raised in Latin America, France and the Middle East, and educated in Asia, the United States, and the United Kingdom. Her recent poetry books include the flash collection The Republics, about the Dominican Republic and Haiti, winner of the Virginia Faulkner Award for Excellence in Writing, and the Arab American Book Award; Poet in Andalucía; and Love and Strange Horses, winner of the Gold Medal Independent Publisher Book Award. She is the author of eight plays, editor of two anthologies, and her poetry, essays and creative nonfiction have appeared in Vanity Fair, Guernica Magazine, the Guardian, the New York Times, the Nation, the Irish Times, among others. Handal is the recipient of awards from the Lannan Foundation, Centro Andaluz de las Letras, Fondazione di Venezia, Emily Harvey Foundation, among others. Her work brings her to audiences globally. She is a professor at Columbia University, and writes the literary travel column “The City and the Writer” for Words without Borders magazine.

Beyond Identity is a program that “trains young women of color from both immigrant and U.S.-based minority communities in identity-driven research, allowing them to draw on lived experiences of discrimination and violence to inform the research agendas and political writing that will be the foundation of distinctive political projects.*The category “women” is inclusive of cis-sexual, transgender, and non-binary forms of gendered identities. The Politics of Sexual Violence Initiative does not discriminate on gender or race.

Wednesday, November 20, 2019
Nathalie Handal’s Life in a Country Album
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.

November 13 – ¡Pa’que tu lo sepas!: Stories to Benefit the People of Puerto Rico


Celebrate the release of ¡PA’QUE TU LO SEPAS!: Stories to Benefit the People of Puerto Rico. Proceeds will go to UNIDOS Disaster Relief & Recovery Program to Support Puerto Rico. Contributing local authors Richie Narvaez, Christopher Novas, and Angel Luis Colón will read their stories and sign books.

Richie Narvaez (aka R. Narvaez) was born and raised in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. His literary and crime fiction have been published in Mississippi Review, Murdaland, Pilgrimage, Indian Country Noir, Long Island Noir, and Tiny Crimes. His first collection of short stories, Roachkiller and Other Stories, received the 2013 Spinetingler Award for Best Anthology/Short Story Collection and was listed as one of BookRiot’s 100 Must-Read Works of Noir. His debut novel Hipster Death Rattle was published in 2019.

Christopher Novas is a Dominican-American writer living in New York. He’s a giant anime dork and loves mechas & cyberpunk. He recently graduated with a MFA from The New School. “La Baca” is his first published short story.

Angel Luis Colón is the Derringer and Anthony Award shortlisted author of Hell Chose Me, The Blacky Jaguar novella series, The Fantine Park novella series, and dozens of short stories that have appeared in web and print publications like Thuglit, Literary Orphans, and Great Jones Street. He also hosts the podcast the bastard title.

For more information about the anthology:

¡Pa’que tu lo sepas!: Stories to Benefit the People of Puerto Rico
Wednesday, November 13, 2019
Word Up Community Bookshop/Librería Comunitaria
2113 Amsterdam Avenue @ 165th St.
New York NY 10032
RSVP here
Can’t make it to the event? Order the book here.

June 15 – Word Up’s 8th Birthday Party!

Stop by from 11am to 6pm on Saturday, June 15th for our birthday celebration—there will be food, drinks, and fun. See below for specific activities, and join us at 4:30pm for cake! *Please note that we will be closing at 6pm as usual.*

11am–12pm: Hora del cuento con Alexis Ruginis y Mariel Escalante
¿Dónde está el coquí?
Explora Latinoamérica y el Caribe mientras aprendes sobre animales, verbos y números con el coquí, una ranita cantante de Puerto Rico.
    Explore Latin America and the Caribbean while learning about animals, verbs, and numbers with the coquí, a small singing frog from Puerto Rico.
1–2pm: Why Are Our Skin Colors So Different?: Interactive Mask-Making Workshop 
Recommended for ages 6–9. RSVP requested (includes $5 materials fee):
When your child begins to observe differences in skin color, don’t their questions warrant straight-forward responses? Jyoti Gupta’s book does just that by introducing skin color to children in a healthy way. Different Differenter: An Activity Book about Skin Color takes you on a playful discovery to find answers that work for your family—while thoughtfully introducing facts and boundary-setting words. Anti-bias and diversity educators are calling it “provocative and sensitive,” “a culturally-relevant discussion guide,” and “positive and nonjudgmental.”
Join the author for an interactive, hands-on, mask-making workshop. Your child will participate in a discussion about skin colors, learn about adaptation, a process that began 10,000 years ago, and enjoy making a mask. The idea is to create a participatory, active learning environment where they can co-create messaging about skin colors.
Jyoti Gupta is a multi-disciplinary practitioner-scholar, social-justice media maker, and a media-literacy educator. Her independent work on the subject of colorism has garnered support from parents, scholars, elementary schools educators. She has represented her work at TEDxWomen and Jaipur Literary Festival, South Asia’s largest literary event.
2:30–4pm: Dominican Writers Book Club in collaboration with Word Up: Soledad
Dominican Writers is convening a new book club! In anticipation of Angie Cruz’s Dominicana, which is forthcoming in September 2019, DW and Word Up are teaming up for the June selection: Soledad by Angie Cruz. Bring your copy, or purchase one at the shop or at While you are at it, preorder a copy of Dominicana today!
4:30pm: Cake cutting to celebrate 8 years of Word Up!
Word Up’s 8th Birthday Party
Saturday, June 15, 2019
Word Up Community Bookshop/Librería Comunitaria
2113 Amsterdam Ave @ 165th St
New York NY 10032

Word Up & BCRW present Cherríe Moraga at The People’s Forum

Cherríe Moraga—the celebrated coeditor of the groundbreaking anthology This Bridge Called My Back: Writings by Radical Women of Color—will present her new memoir, Native Country of the Heart, in conversation with Claudia de la Cruz, Director of Culture at The People’s Forum.

Tickets are available at

Native Country of the Heart is the writer and activist Cherríe Moraga’s love letter to her “unlettered” mother. It is also an intimate understanding of the U.S.-Mexican diaspora by the celebrated coeditor of the groundbreaking anthology This Bridge Called My Back.

CHERRÍE MORAGA is a writer and cultural activist whose work disrupts the dominant narratives of gender, race, sexuality, feminism, indigeneity, and literature in the United States. A cofounder of Kitchen Table: Women of Color Press, Moraga coedited the influential volume This Bridge Called My Back: Writings by Radical Women of Color (1981). In 2017, after twenty years as an Artist-in-Residence in Theater at Stanford University, Moraga was appointed a professor in the Department of English at the University of California, Santa Barbara, where, with her artistic partner Celia Herrera Rodríguez, she founded Las Maestras Center for Xicana Indigenous Thought and Art Practice. She is a recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts Theatre Playwriting Fellowship Award and a Rockefeller Fellowship for Literature.

CLAUDIA DE LA CRUZ was born in the South Bronx to immigrant parents from the Dominican Republic. She is a popular educator, community organizer and theologian. In her role as Director of Culture at The People’s Forum, Claudia is committed to contribute her experiences and skills in the creation of cultural-educational space with organizers, educators and cultural workers/artists to continue producing, promoting and uplifting the cultural traditions that nourish and strengthen our communities in our struggles towards social justice. For over 20 years, she has been committed to movement building, and has actively participated in collective grassroots spaces, particularly in the communities of Washington Heights and The South Bronx.

February 21 – Mercy G’s The Awakening of My Senses Book Launch

Word Up Community Bookshop welcomes local author and Washington Heights native Mercedelli Graciano (Mercy G) to the store for an unforgettable evening! Her new book, The Awakening of my Senses, is a compilation of poems, quotes and essays describing the discovery of love and everything that comes with it. In this first book, her hope is to excite something in someone and entice them to navigate through their feelings in a healthy way. Preaching about falling in love, falling apart and regaining strength comes easy for this self-healer. Her goal is to teach people that anything can be done as long as we allow the process of life to guide us. With a sprinkle of self-love and a dash of awareness, Mercedelli Graciano brings us a masterpiece of emotions through her writing.
From the author:

“I would love to hold my book signing party surrounded by the streets that inspired so much of my poetry. Being a Dominican self-published author is one of my greatest accomplishments. I would love to celebrate with my people, como si fuera en la sala de mi casa.”


Mercy G’s The Awakening Of My Senses Book Signing
Thursday, February 21, 2019

Word Up Community Bookshop/Librería Comunitaria
2113 Amsterdam Avenue
New York NY 10032