Wednesdays, June 24 – July 29 – DON QUIXOTE: Into the World of the Book


Word Up welcomes the Brooklyn Institute for Social Research for a class on DON QUIXOTE, conducted every Wednesday, 7pm, from June 24 to July 29. More information on the class and enrollment are available at

In this course, we will delve “Into the World of the Book” in four ways. First, we will extensively and closely read DON QUIXOTE, parts I (1605) and II (1615). If you have always wanted to read this first—and in the minds of many, best—novel, this is your chance. Second, we will hone in on the many books that populate the narrative—chivalric romances, Arabic manuscripts, short stories read aloud at inns, wax tablets found on mountaintops, books being constructed in print shops—and analyze those passages in connection to broader themes. Third, we will learn about book production and circulation in sixteenth- and seventeenth-century Spain and Europe, historically grounding Don Quixote in its original context. Finally, our setting, Word Up Books, a community bookstore in Washington Heights, will inspire and inform our discussions about books and the social, inciting us to consider Don Quixote’s contemporary relevance and parallels.

In addition to reading DON QUIXOTE, some secondary critical readings will be assigned. Students may choose to read the novel in English or Spanish; both will be available for purchase at Word Up Books. The class discussion will be in English, but may be conducted in Spanish or bilingually depending on the make-up of the group. Financial assistance to take this course may be available upon request.

Class held Wednesdays, 7pm
June 24 & July 1, 8, 15, 22, & 29 (6 sessions over 6 weeks)
Cost: $315; financial assistance available

DON QUIXOTE: Into the World of the Book
Wednesdays, June 24 – July 29 , 2015
Word Up Community Bookshop/Librería Comunitaria.
113 Amsterdam ave, (at 165 st)
New York, NY

May 10 – Mexico Season 1: Jalisco in Photos, by Emmanuel Abreu

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Word Up invites you to the opening reception of Emmanuel Abreu’s first gallery featuring his photos from Mexico.
In May of 2014, Emmanuel Abreu experienced his first artist residency in Jalisco, Mexico thanks to the 360 XOCHI QUETZAL artist residency. He was the first photographer ever chosen for this trip and he spent 42 days travelling around this beautiful state. Capturing people, landscapes, architecture and everything in between, he is now sharing this experience for the first time in a gallery at Word Up Community Bookshop in Washington Heights, New York City.
There will be light snacks and refreshments available.

Mexico Season 1: Jalisco in Photos, by Emmanuel Abreu
Sunday, May 10, 2015
Word Up Community Bookshop/Librería Comunitaria.
113 Amsterdam ave, (at 165 st)
New York, NY

May 9 – Bueno, Bonito y Barato

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Join us for a trunk sale hosted by Fashionton Heights (, showcasing local vendors of vintage clothing and accessories as well as local artists — all in support of Word Up Books. Our intent is to provide quality items at affordable prices while supporting our community bookstore. Refreshments will also be available.

Bueno, Bonito y Barato
Saturday, May 9, 2015
Word Up Community Bookshop/Librería Comunitaria.
113 Amsterdam ave, (at 165 st)
New York, NY

May 7 – Face Out: Salar Abdoh and David Unger

Face Out Salar Abdoh and David Unger

Join us for a night celebrating the recent accomplishments and publications of two international literary sensations who also teach in our neighborhood.
SALAR ABDOH was born in Iran, and splits his time between Tehran and New York City, where he is codirector of the Creative Writing MFA Program at the City College of New York. He is the author of The Poet Game and Opium. His essays and short stories have appeared in various publications, including the New York Times, BOMB, Callaloo, Guernica, and on the BBC. He is the recipient of the NYFA Prize and the National Endowment for the Arts award. He is the editor of Tehran Noir and the author of Tehran at Twilight, his latest novel.
DavidUnger_headshotOct-2011-600x800Born in Guatemala, in 2014 DAVID UNGER was awarded his country’s Miguel Angel Asturias National Literature Prize for lifetime achievement. He is the author of The Mastermind (Akashic Books, Planeta Mexico: 2015), La Casita, The Price of Escape, Para mi, eres divina, Ni chicha, ni limonada and Life in the Damn Tropics. He directs the Publishing Certificate Program at The City College of New York.

Both authors will be reading from their most recent works followed by a Q & A and book signing. Light refreshments will be served.

Face Out: Salar Abdoh and David Unger
Thursday, May 7, 2015
Word Up Community Bookshop/Librería Comunitaria.
113 Amsterdam ave, (at 165 st)
New York, NY

April 29 – Word Up to be featured in Then, Now, Next: Oral History Exhibit


One of our newest volunteers, Benji, has been documenting Word Up for a while and is exhibiting some of his great work at Columbia University tomorrow from 5-8pm.
Join us!
The Refectory at Union Theological Seminary, enter at 121st Street and Broadway, Nyc

DATE: Wednesday, April 29, 2015

TIME: 5-8 PM

WHERE: The Refectory at Union Theological Seminary, enter at 121st Street and Broadway (note: we regret that this space is not wheelchair accessible)

WHAT: Oral history has the potential to transform public dialogue about the most important issues of our time–race and police violence, income inequality, gentrification, the crisis of democracy–by amplifying diverse voices in the public sphere, providing new perspectives and historical context.

How can oral histories help us understand and catalyze social change? This interactive, multimedia pop-up exhibit, curated by the students and faculty of the Columbia Oral History Master of Arts program, will present eleven projects engaging this question from eleven different angles, asking:

  • How do experiences of collective power become myths, and how do these myths generate or defuse new waves of activism?
  • How do stories of urban places nurture resilient communities?
  • How are living traditions of resistance passed down between generations and how are these traditions disrupted?
  • How do personal stories about the past document injustice and provide clues to a new way forward?
  • How do we use knowledge of history to imagine and create the future we want?

Audience members will be invited to don headphones and dip into immersive community spaces, including a sultry jazz club, a midwife’s office, and a neighborhood hair salon.

Refreshments will be served and children are welcome!

RSVP to this event on Facebook.

Exhibits include:

Church as Community: St. Augustine’s on the Lower East Side by Kate Brenner
A look at the vibrant African American community around St. Augustine’s Church on the Lower East Side.

Building Bridges: Stories from a Homeless Shelter by Leonard Cox
Listen to stories from a homeless shelter and share ideas on how to connect with the homeless.

Word Up Community Bookshop Oral History Project by Benji de la Piedra
This pop-up recreation of Washington Heights’ beloved volunteer-run bookstore invites you to browse books, enjoy music, writing and photography from local artists, and consider the cultural significance of community bookstores in 2015.

The Neighborhood Hair Salon as Living Oral History Archive by Jonathon Fairhead
A simulation of the hair salon experience, with cloak, mirror, and comb is a recorded oral history interview discussing the interviewee’s relationship with their hair, their hair salon, hair stylist, and neighborhood.

BlackMother: Stories Surrounding Childbirth & Remembrances of Traditional Birth Workers in the American South by Nicole JeanBaptiste
Black women’s voices on intergenerational experiences with and issues surrounding childbirth.

Refugee Resettlement in Orange County by K Lee
Website introducing the Vietnamese refugee resettlement in Orange County

The Human Be-In Teach-In by Steven Palmer
Voices from a hippie happening in San Francisco.

Personal Storytelling as Advocacy by Steven Puente
Hepatitis C Peers from Einstein’s Methadone Clinics, located in the South Bronx, will be sharing their personal stories as a form of personal outreach and advocacy.

Guardians in the NYPD by Liz Strong
Work, identity and advocacy in law enforcement remembered by retired members of the NYPD Guardians Association for black officers.

Paying Respects: Stories of Family and Friends Buried in New York’s Potter’s Field by Leyla Vural
Hear from people with family and friends buried on Hart Island, our city’s potter’s field, the final resting spot for nearly one million New Yorkers that’s hidden in plain sight.

Gathered Time: Hearing Change in Jazz by Erica Zora Wrightson
The sounds of change in jazz.

May 3 – Talking Back: Voices of Color Reading & Reception


Join Comrades of Color Caucus of Radical Women and the Freedom Socialist Party at Word Up, in celebrating the release of a new anthology, TALKING BACK: VOICES OF COLOR, which presents an unusually diverse group of writers speaking out on issues affecting communities of color. With an introduction and editing by Bay Area poet and social justice activist Nellie Wong, TALKING BACK features contributors—community organizers who identify as Asian/Pacific American, Black, indigenous North American and Aboriginal Australian, Latino, Palestinian, immigrant, feminist, youth, elder, LGBTQ, students, unionists, former prisoners, and more—who share tales of survival, explore little-known history, and offer insightful cultural reviews. Speaking from and to the grassroots, their offerings are readable, persuasive, free from academic jargon, and rich with personal experience.

Contributors Yolanda Alaniz, Emily Woo Yamasaki, and others will be present at the launch at Word Up.

Talking Back: Voices of Color
Sunday, May 3, 2015
Word Up Community Bookshop/Librería Comunitaria.
113 Amsterdam ave, (at 165 st)
New York, NY

May 1 – Word Up Open Mic


Calling all writers, rappers, musicians, orators, dancers, and artists of all kinds! Join us for the monthly Word Up Open Mic, hosted by Cheyenne, Beatriz, and guests, as all ages and persuasions gather to share, learn, and experience together.

Word Up Open Mic
Friday, May 1, 2015
Word Up Community Bookshop/Librería Comunitaria.
113 Amsterdam ave, (at 165 st)
New York, NY