Books in Bloom, Peace Poetry, Potter, Fests & More! Your Weekly Lit News Roundup by Laurel Dowswell

Austin African American Book Festival Celebrates Literature

The 11th annual festival took place from June 22-24, highlighting such authors as bestselling YA author Angie Thomas, novelist April Sinclair, and Salon Magazine Editor-at-Large D. Watkins. The keynote address was given by author Peniel Joseph, titled “Black History, Literature, and Power in the Age of Black Lives Matter.” Here is a tweet from the Texas Book Festival getting excited about the event:

The Peace Poetry Movement in Pakistan Continues to Gain Momentum

Highlighted in Asia Times this week, the number of published works of poetry with themes of peace is continuing to accelerate across Pakistan. With more than 300 works over the past decade, poets from across the country are sharing their voices on the subject. Professor Abaseen Yousafzai, a renowned Pashto poet and Director of the Pashto Department at Islamia College Peshawar, is quoted in the article:

“Peace poetry is a great uniter, bringing divided people together and directly leading them to peace…It is a powerful weapon against war. We need tranquility… for the sake of human survival.” — Abaseen Yousafzai


Hever In Bloom Celebrates England’s Literary Heroes With Thousands of Roses

Hever Castle, the childhood home of Anne Boleyn, is kicking off this bountiful celebration of literary heroes of the last 200 years starting today, June 26th, and running through July 2nd. Slips of poetry will be hidden among more than 4,000 roses from such authors as Arthur Conan Doyle, Anne Brontë, Emily Brontë, Daphne Du Maurier, and Jane Austen. There will also be a yew maze shaped like Harry Potter’s glasses and Gryffindor scarf where kids can race through to find topiary chess pieces like the ones in The Philosopher’s Stone. Sounds like a lot of bloomin’ fun!


Pottermore’s Official Launch of the Wizarding World Book Club!

Harry Potter Fans…it’s here! Announced back in May, the official Pottermore Wizarding World Book Club launched June 19th. Here, you can read the books together with other fans, digging deep into the stories, and join in the conversation on Twitter.

But Wait! There’s more…

Author Hasan Namir speaks on his reconciliation with being gay and Muslim. 

Writing, photography, and author Teju Cole.

Stanford graduate student Vanessa Seals studies multiracialism in contemporary novels and memoirs. 

Anthony Phelps wins the Grand Prize of Poetry 2017 from  Académie Française.

For our Video of the Week…this is the second video from Button Poetry’s first ever video contest. Uploaded on June 22, this poetry + music = Beautiful Weird, from Jeremiah Blue and featuring Loren Smith.



Laurel Dowswell is the Features Editor at Change Seven. Her short story “I Am the Eggman” was nominated for the 2016 Pushcart Prize. She was a copy editor for an independent feminist newspaper in Santa Fe, NM, after being raised and educated in Florida. She lives and writes in Georgia, just outside of Atlanta with her son. She is currently working on a novel filled with oil paintings, family drama, a lot of red wine, and the spectrum of sexuality. Follow her on Twitter @laurels_idea

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