NEA Big Read

Writers Room


Contact Info

Dornsife Center for Neighborhood Partnerships | 3509 Spring Garden Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104

Tel: 215/571-4013
Fax: 215/895-1071
http://www.writersroom.online

Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston

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Their Eyes Were Watching God
Zora Neale Hurston

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Events

NEA Big Read Keynote | Their Eyes Were Watching God: The Making of a Classic

Keynote by Cheryl A. Wall, Board of Governors Zora Neale Hurston Professor of English at Rutgers University. When Zora Neale Hurston died, penniless and forgotten in 1960, her novel Their Eyes Were Watching God was long out of print. Today it is not only regarded as her masterpiece but as an American classic. This lecture explores how and why Their Eyes has gained “classic” status in the African American, feminist, and American canons. Critics of all persuasions analyze its themes, characters, form, and most of all its language. The struggle to reclaim the legacy of Zora Neale Hurston has not only gained “classic” status for the novel most believe to be her greatest work, it has in the process helped to redefine what “classic” means.

Event Location: Drexel University | Mandell Theater, 3201 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104

Date: Thu, Sep 22, 2016
Time: 5:00pm – 6:00pm

Book: Their Eyes Were Watching God

NEA Big Read Kickoff | West Powelton Drummers Second Line Parade + Darla Concert

Help us kick off NEA Big Read by joining the West Powelton Drummers in a traveling dance party. Parade starts outside Mandell Theater and finishes at the Dornsife Center for Neighborhood Partnerships with a free open-air show by Darla, Philly’s own progressive funk band, and a one-time performance uniting both bands in their Zora Neale Hurston-inspired project.

Event Location: [Parade] Mandell Theater, 3201 Chestnut Street, [Performance] Dornsife Center for Neighborhood Partnerships, 3509 Spring Garden Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104

Date: Thu, Sep 22, 2016
Time: 6:00pm – 7:30pm

Book: Their Eyes Were Watching God

Capturing the Moment: the Art and Science of Field Recording

Zora Neale Hurston's field recordings give voice to many who would be forgotten in time and offer much to enrich our lives. In this conversation, Nelson Eubanks (Melodius Thunk) and Cyrille Taillandier (Drexel Music Industry Program), discuss the art and science of field recording, as well as the Zora Neale Hurston-inspired project with the West Powelton Drummers and progressive funk band Darla. Attendees will get a first listen of audio recorded by Melodius Thunk and MAD Dragon Community Recording during the NEA Big Read launch parade.

Event Location: Drexel University | URBN Center Annex, 3401 Filbert St, Philadelphia, PA 19104

Date: Fri, Sep 23, 2016
Time: 5:30pm – 7:00pm

Book: Their Eyes Were Watching God

Painted Bride Quarterly Poetry Slam

Join us for a special version of Painted Bride Quarterly's slam at the legendary Pen & Pencil Club using Hurston’s language as prompts in our no-pressure writing improv game. Established in Philadelphia in 1973, PBQ is one of the country’s longest running literary magazines, with democratic editorial boards running in three major cities.

Event Location: Pen & Pencil Club, 1522 Latimer Street, Philadelphia, PA 19102

Date: Thu, Sep 29, 2016
Time: 7:30pm – 9:00pm

Book: Their Eyes Were Watching God

Zines for Zora: Writing + Drawing Workshop

Stop by Writers Room for this special NEA Big Read version of our monthly first Tuesday workshops. It’s a given that Hurston writes with beautiful imagery. She combines lyric beauty with riveting storytelling. The zine is a form that combines word and image. In this workshop we will examine and talk about zines, create several writings (including a letter) in conversation with Zora Neale Hurston, and then actually create one or more zines (on our own, or collaborating with fellow-writers). Don’t stay away if you haven’t finished Their Eyes yet, but it’s great if you have. Offered by poet and Drexel professor Valerie Fox.

Event Location: Writers Room, Dornsife Center for Neighborhood Partnerships | Lindy House, 3509 Spring Garden Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104

Date: Tue, Oct 4, 2016
Time: 4:00pm – 6:00pm

Book: Their Eyes Were Watching God

Library Book Group Ogontz

Book discussion at Ogontz branch of the Free Library of Philadelphia.

Event Location: Ogontz Branch FLP, 6017 Ogontz Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19141

Date: Thu, Oct 6, 2016
Time: 12:00pm – 1:00pm

Book: Their Eyes Were Watching God

Soul Food Culinary Workshop

This hands-on cooking class explores Southern food and traditions in early twentieth-century Florida. Offered by Drexel’s Culinary Arts Program with chef Brian Lofink, ’03 (Sidecar Bar & Grille, Kraftwork, Kermit's Bake Shoppe), and Amanda Abene, ’15 (Joe Coffee).

Event Location: Free Library of Philadelphia | Culinary Literacy Center, Parkway Central Library, 1901 Vine Street, Fourth Floor, Philadelphia, PA 19103

Date: Tue, Oct 11, 2016
Time: 6:00pm – 7:30pm

Book: Their Eyes Were Watching God

Zora Neale Hurston: Portraying and Modeling the Trickster Figure in the African American Diaspora

Dr. Eva Thury (Drexel), Dr. Andrea Abrams (Centre College), Dr. A Yemisi Jimoh (UMass Amherst) and Ed Pavlic (University of Georgia) will discuss trickster figures in Zora Neale Hurston’s life, her work as an anthropologist, and her fiction. Hurston was a trickster herself, slipping between various racial, gender and social roles. The panel will highlight her contributions to culture and literature as relevant to contemporary efforts at transforming our society. Enjoy samples from the soul food culinary workshop in the Free Library's Culinary Literacy Center.

Event Location: Free Library of Philadelphia | Parkway Central, Skyview Room, 1901 Vine Street, Philadelphia, PA 19103

Date: Tue, Oct 11, 2016
Time: 7:30pm – 8:30pm

Book: Their Eyes Were Watching God

Folktale Making with Zora

How Do You Dream? - Explore Zora Neale Hurston and the Chinaberry Tree through Visual Folktale Making. Ages 7 and up.

Event Location: Durham Branch Library, 3320 Haverford Avenue , Philadelphia, PA 19104

Date: Wed, Oct 12, 2016
Time: 3:30pm – 4:30pm

Book: Their Eyes Were Watching God

Open-Notebook Dance Workshop

A Caribbean-American dancer/choreographer who fuses choreography with personal documentary and social commentary to grapple with identity, post-colonial issues, feminism and juxtapositions of European and African influences, Tania Isaac's exploration of creative method “Open-Notebook” turns a room into a laboratory of performance investigation. This 4-week workshop offers the opportunity to look at Their Eyes Were Watching God as source material and model for creating performance. Participants interweave their narratives with Hurston’s to create small performances of movement, theater and/or voice. The installation space will house notes, questions, interviews, and responses. Participants meet once per week, but the installation is open each day to the public and their comments and responses are folded in. Final presentation will document the passage from the original text to its final re-interpretation in performance.

Event Location: Drexel University | Van Rensselaer Hall, 3320 Powelton Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19104

Date: Fri, Oct 21, 2016
Time: 9:00am – 9:00pm

Book: Their Eyes Were Watching God

To Be There and Hear It All: Audio, Documentary, and Adaptations on Hurston

Join us for coffee and conversation in this salon-style multimedia book discussion with andre carrington, PhD, Assistant Professor of English at Drexel University. carrington is the author of Speculative Blackness: The Future of Race in Science Fiction (Minnesota, 2016).

Event Location: Drexel University | Hagerty Library, 3300 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104

Date: Fri, Oct 21, 2016
Time: 10:00am – 11:00am

Book: Their Eyes Were Watching God

Letters for Zora: Letterpress Workshop

Writers Room members are invited to work with Mary Tasillo of The Soapbox to learn how to create letterpress cover art for the NEA Big Read zine. Letterpress printing combines art and writing, using block letter-forms and ink to transfer text with a range of looks to the page. Embracing the spirit of self-publication, we will create bold covers for the NEA Big Read collaborative zine, Letters for Zora. In this 2 1/2 hour workshop, our group will learn the basics of letterpress printing—setting wood type on a basic table-top press—and everyone will try their hand at printing. By the end of the morning, we will have a stack of hand printed covers. Participants will get a deluxe edition of the zine featuring their hand-printed covers, and their cover design will be used for a fully photocopied version of the design which will be distributed to the community for free.

Event Location: Writers Room, Dornsife Center for Neighborhood Partnerships | Ryan Hall, 3509 Spring Garden Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104

Date: Sat, Oct 22, 2016
Time: 10:00am – 12:30pm

Book: Their Eyes Were Watching God

Haverford Library Sr. Book Group Discussion

Haverford Library Sr. Book Group discussion of Their Eyes Were Watching God.

Event Location: West Philadelphia Sr. Center, 1016 N. 41st St., Philadelphia, PA 19104

Date: Mon, Oct 24, 2016
Time: 10:30am – 11:30am

Book: Their Eyes Were Watching God

Open-Notebook Dance Performance

This final presentation will document the open-notebook process and the passage of Their Eyes Were Watching God from the original text to its final re-interpretation in a performance by Caribbean-American dancer/choreographer Tania Isaac.

Event Location: Drexel University | Van Rensselaer Hall, 3320 Powelton Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19104

Date: Sat, Oct 29, 2016
Time: 7:00pm – 8:00pm

Book: Their Eyes Were Watching God

NEA Big Read Closing Party

Come read, watch, and listen to what we've created together in response to Zora Neale Hurston's Their Eyes Were Watching God. Pennsylvania State Representative Donna Bullock will be in attendance to deliver a proclamation naming November 1st National Family Literacy Day in honor of NEA Big Read.

Event Location: Writers Room, Dornsife Center for Neighborhood Partnerships | Lindy House, 3509 Spring Garden Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104

Date: Tue, Nov 1, 2016
Time: 4:00pm – 6:00pm

Book: Their Eyes Were Watching God

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