Articulations: The First VONA/Voices Faculty Reading a Hit

Last Thursday night in the Coral Gables Congregational Church of Christ, it’s possible that more than one person had a spiritual experience, albeit the kind you find with a literary reading. Amongst the pews, candles, and bibles, Elmaz Abinader, Staceyann Chin, Junot Diaz, Kim Euell, Ruth Forman, Marjorie Lui and David Mura read various bits of poetry, fiction, plays, and comics.

With a close-to-packed house, the first official faculty reading as part of the VONA workshops in Miami was a success, complete with snaps and even a few “amens” from the audience. In partnership with Books & Books and the University of Miami, the event showcased the talent of the faculty, with topics ranging from the Haitian/Dominican crisis currently underway to mother daughter relationships and living, breathing tattoos.

Junot Diaz's mind has lately turned to politics. Earlier last week, he and Haitian-American writer Edwidge Danticat spoke at a panel in Little Haiti. The two celebrated writers spoke openly about the human rights crisis in the Dominican Republic (Diaz is Dominican descent) where the government is actively deporting citizens of Haitian descent. “The last time something like this happened was Nazi Germany, and yet people are like, shrugging about it,” Diaz told Fusion. 

The Pulitzer-prize winning author Díaz spent most of his time not reading but rather talking about us, the readers.

“I’ve been thinking about readers all week,” Diaz said. “I’ve been thinking about you guys. That humble, anonymous reader who asks for nothing, who manages to carve out the time to read, that wholly benevolent action. It’s to the readers of the world that my covenant lays and I wish to dedicate this to you.”

If you enjoyed the reading and want more, or if you weren’t able to attend, then you’re in luck: there's a second faculty reading this Thursday, July 2 at Books & Books in Coral Gables with Faith Adiele, Chris Abani, Tananarive Due, M. Evelina Galang, Achy Obejas, Willie Perdomo, and Andrew X. Pham.

Doors open at 6:30 p.m. and the event begins at 7 p.m.

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Dana De Greff