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Exploring Witching Hour’s can’t-miss events: Readings

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Reading: Jennine Capó Crucet, My Time Among The Whites

Merge — Saturday, Nov. 2 at 1 p.m.

Writers of Color Reading Series

Iowa Wriers’ House — Saturday, Nov. 2 at 4:30 p.m.

You have two opportunities to catch Jennine Capó Crucet during Witching Hour: her solo reading and the Writers of Color Reading Series. — photo courtesy of the festival

In this series, local arts critic (and Witching Hour participant) Daniel Boscaljon provides a guide to his choices for the most thought-provoking parts of the 2019 Witching Hour Festival. Monday: Talks and presentations; Tuesday: Theater, film and performance; Wednesday: Workshops. Today: Readings

Jennine Capó Crucet was in the headlines this fall when a group of students at Georgia Southern University staged protests after a talk she gave there and burned copies of her novel, Make Your Home Among Strangers, which was class assigned reading for them. She has two readings here in Iowa City during the Witching Hour festival: her solo event at Prairie Lights on Nov. 2 and, later that afternoon, the Writers of Color Reading Series, where she will be joined by local writers Santiago Jose Sanchez, Kofi Daniel Opam, Jing Jian (JJ), Jorrell Watkins and Michaela RedCherries.

I’ve not yet read Crucet’s work, but it seems the sort of lantern I’ve become increasingly interested in witnessing. The news shows the violent consequences that emerge when white men feel estranged: I’m excited to see the alternative. Crucet’s work promises to illuminate the struggle of belonging, the power of paying attention and the necessity of beauty and art in portraying problems.

I want to hear how a narrative about something I wrestle with is understood by someone from a very different life experience.

Tied for first: Kerry Howley’s incisive depiction of how fear leads to this estrangement, as she reads from her forthcoming Bottoms Up and the Devil Laughs: Notes on the American Surveillance State to open the festival Friday afternoon.

All Witching Hour readings are free and open to the public.

Official bio: Jennine Capó Crucet is the author of three books and is a contributing opinion writer for The New York Times. Her novel, Make Your Home Among Strangers, was a New York Times Editor’s Choice book, the winner of the 2016 International Latino Book Award, and was cited as a best book of the year by NBC Latino, the Guardian, and the Miami Herald. Her short stories have been honored by the Iowa Short Fiction Award, a PEN/O. Henry Prize, and other awards. Raised in Miami, Florida, she is an associate professor in the Department of English and the Institute for Ethnic Studies at the University of Nebraska.

Other Readings:

Bottoms Up and the Devil Laughs: Notes on the American Surveillance State University of Iowa Libraries — Main Library Gallery | Friday, Nov. 2 at 4 p.m. | Free
Notes on the Nameless: Fools Mag Exhibit & Reading Englert Theatre | Saturday, Nov. 2 at 11:45 a.m. | Free

Witching Hour is a co-production of the Englert Theatre and Little Village Magazine.
Festival passes are $20 student, $35 single day general, $55 weekend general.

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