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February 26, 2009
By Guia Del Prado
In honor of Black History Month, Honors English student Imogen Hadleigh, 26, and Justin Gifford, assistant professor of English, are hosting a reading and discussion of African American urban fiction on Friday, Feb. 28, from 1-3 p.m. in Room 11 of the Jot Travis Building. The focus of the discussion will be African-American street fiction written by female authors.
The event, organized by the Honors Program and the National Council of Teachers of English, stems from Hadleigh’s senior thesis. She has been working on her thesis with Gifford since the fall semester. Like Hadleigh, Gifford specializes in African American urban fiction.
Hadleigh and Gifford will read and discuss three texts, “The Coldest Winter Ever” by Sister Souljah, “Let That Be the Reason” by Vickie Stringer, and “G-Spot” by Noire. Hadleigh said these novels were selected for their role in the genre of female African-American urban literature.
“‘Let That Be the Reason’ was chosen because Stringer is the first female author to become CEO of her own publishing company called Triple Crown publications,” Hadleigh said. “Sister Souljah’s book was the first female street literature to enter the genre (in 1999).”
Hadleigh hopes students attend the event and attribute more attention to the often overlooked genre as literature. Hadleigh believes the female-authored books and the urban genre have been and still are culturally relevant, in their influence on hip hop culture and feminism. Though the event is primarily targeted to Honors students, anyone is welcome to the event, said Hadleigh.
“The intention of the event is to get honors students together and let the books get looked at critically,” Hadleigh said. “To have students contributing to the discussion and broadening the scope of what is considered literature.”