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Opening Pages

Previewing the Baltimore Book Festival

By Eileen Murphy | Posted 9/23/1998

Now in its third year, the Baltimore Book Festival has become a destination rather than a gathering to be stumbled upon. The festival has all the requisite components--food, music, performances, and kids events--but it also offers a full slate of high-caliber literary folk. Here's a highly arbitrary list of the highlights of the Sept. 26—27 festival:

Amiri Baraka, 3 p.m. Sept. 27, The Sun literary tent, hosted by the Howard County Poetry and Literary Society. Best known for his 1964 play Dutchman, this controversial author's latest book is Black Music, a collection of wide-ranging jazz writings from 1959 to 1967.

Carolyn Kizer, 2 p.m. Sept. 26, Book Festival coffee bar, hosted by the Maryland State Poetry and Literary Society. Poet Kizer won the Pulitzer Prize in 1985 for her collection Yin; her latest book, Harping On, gathers poems from 1985 to 1995.

Sheneska Jackson, 5 p.m. Sept. 26, Zora Neale Hurston room, sponsored by Sibanye. Set in a Los Angeles beauty salon, Blessings, Jackson's third novel, reads like an African-American Steel Magnolias (minus the accents and most of the melodrama).

Sonia Sanchez, 4 p.m. Sept. 26, The Sun literary tent, sponsored by Sibanye. Shake Loose My Skin, Sanchez's National Book Critics Circle Award—nominated book, collects more than 30 years of her poetry.

Juan Williams, 4 p.m. Sept. 27, Zora Neale Hurston room, sponsored by Sibanye. Journalist and pundit Williams, who made the best-seller list with Eyes on the Prize, just released the biography Thurgood Marshall: American Revolutionary.

David Simon and Ed Burns, 2 p.m. Sept. 26, Zora Neale Hurston room, sponsored by Sibanye. Simon, the author of Homicide, and Burns, a former Baltimore City cop, spent a year at the intersection of Fayette and Monroe, a notorious open-air drug market. The resulting book, The Corner, shows we've already lost the War on Drugs.

Laura Lippman and Sujata Massey, 2:30 p.m. Sept. 26, The Sun literary tent, hosted by Mystery Loves Company. Lippman won an Edgar award for the second novel in her Tess Monaghan series; Massey won an Agatha award for her fictional debut. The Baltimore-based writers join Jody Jaffey, Judy Fitzwater, Valerie Malmont, Barbara Lee, and Howard Blank for a panel discussion on mysteries.

The Black Panther Party Reconsidered, 6 p.m. Sept. 26, The Sun literary tent, hosted by Black Classic Press. Publisher W. Paul Coates joins Clarence Lusane and Audrea Dunham for a panel discussion on the new book from this publishing house.

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