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Sat, Aug 19


Sankofa Video, Books, & Café

The Human Origins of Beatrice Porter and Other Essential Ghosts

Join us for a conversation between Soraya Palmer and Alexis Harper on Soraya's debut novel The Human Origins of Beatrice Porter and Other Essential Ghosts!

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The Human Origins of Beatrice Porter and Other Essential Ghosts
The Human Origins of Beatrice Porter and Other Essential Ghosts

Time & Location

Aug 19, 2023, 7:00 PM – 8:30 PM

Sankofa Video, Books, & Café, 2714 Georgia Ave NW, Washington, DC 20001, USA


About The Event

Watch Conversation Here

About the book:

"Mothers never die. Children love to resurrect us in they stories."

Folktales and spirits animate this lively and unforgettable coming-of-age tale of two Jamaican-Trinidadian sisters in Brooklyn grappling with their mother's illness, their father's infidelity, and the truth of their family's past

Sisters Zora and Sasha Porter are drifting apart. Bearing witness to their father's violence and their mother's worsening illness, an unsettled Zora escapes into her journal, dreaming of being a writer, while Sasha discovers sex and chest binding, spending more time with her new girlfriend than at home.

But the sisters, like their parents, must come together to answer to something more ancient and powerful than they know--and reckon with a family secret buried in the past. A tale told from the perspective of a mischievous narrator, featuring the Rolling Calf who haunts butchers, Mama Dglo who lives in the ocean, a vain tiger, and an outsmarted snake, The Human Origins of Beatrice Porter and Other Essential Ghosts is set in a world as alive and unpredictable as Helen Oyeyemi's.

Telling of the love between sisters who don't always see eye to eye, this extraordinary debut novel is a celebration of the power of stories, asking, What happens to us when our stories are erased? Do we disappear? Or do we come back haunting?

About the author:

SORAYA PALMER is the author of The Human Origins of Beatrice Porter and Other Essential Ghosts. She is a Flatbush-born-and-raised writer and licensed social worker. Her novel was named one of Today's "38 Best New Books to Read in 2023," one of the "Buzziest Debut Novels of the New Year" by Goodreads, one of the "Best and Most Anticipated Books of 2023" by Elle magazine, and one of “The Most Anticipated Feminist Books of 2023” by Ms. Magazine. Her writing has appeared in Electric Literature, Hazlitt, Ploughshares, and elsewhere. She has been awarded a residency at Blue Mountain Center and graduated from the Virginia Tech MFA program. She lives in Brooklyn.

About the host:

Alexis Harper is a PhD Candidate at Howard University. Her planned dissertation is titled Earthscapes, Spacescapes, and Mindscapes: Fantastic Black Geographies in the Afrofuturist Worlds of Rivers Solomon, Janelle Monae, Octavia Butler and N.K. Jemisin which explores ideas and possible futures of Black American citizenship through the lens of Afrofuturism. Her work has been published in Refinery29 and IGN and elsewhere. She has an upcoming chapter on Dorothy West's The Living is Easy in Who Was That Masked Woman, upcoming. Alexis Harper received her M.A from Virginia Tech and her B.A. from Fisk University. She is currently the Director of Communications for the Kalmanovitz Initiative for Labor and the Working Poor, which seeks to change labor conditions. She is from Southern California and lives in Montgomery County, Maryland. Outside of school, Alexis volunteers with Mutual Aid organizations in the DC-Maryland Area.


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