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The newspaper of The Johns Hopkins University October 22, 2007 | Vol. 37 No. 8
Hopkins Marks 30th Anniversary of 'Callaloo'

Conference will bring more than 100 writers and scholars to Homewood

By Amy Lunday

Poetry and fiction readings, lectures, conversations and panel discussions will this week celebrate 30 years of continuous publication of Callaloo, the premier African Diaspora literary journal, published by the Johns Hopkins University Press. More than 100 of the nation's best-known creative writers, intellectuals, academics and artists will gather Wednesday, Oct. 24, through Saturday, Oct. 27, on the Homewood campus for the conference, which is hosted by the university's Center for Africana Studies and co-sponsored by the English Department, Society of Black Alumni, Reginald F. Lewis Museum and the Enoch Pratt Free Library.

"Callaloo has consistently, over the past 30 years, been at the forefront of publishing fiction, poetry and literary criticism on the African-American and African diasporic experience," said Ben Vinson, professor of history and director of the Center for Africana Studies. "It continues to be a leader in this field, and the anniversary celebration commemorates the scholarly road taken by the journal since culmination of the height of the civil rights movement. In the 21st century, as the black community engages new challenges, this conference also charts some of the avenues that the literary community will take in the future. Through scholarly dialogue, poetry readings and frank discussions with the community, the conference aspires to serve as bridge between the intellectual, the artistic and lay communities."

Writers and scholars who will be reading and engaging in discussions on writing creative texts and the culture from which they derive include Carole Boyce Davies, Lucille Clifton, Thadious Davis, Brent Edwards, Thomas Sayers Ellis, Thomas Glave, Farah Griffin, Trudier Harris, Yusef Komunyakaa, Wahneema Lubiano, John McCluskey, Mark Anthony Neal, Carl Phillips, Tracy K. Smith and Natasha Trethewey.

Speakers and event moderators from Johns Hopkins are Vinson; Adam Falk, dean of the Krieger School of Arts and Sciences; Floyd Hayes, a senior lecturer, and Neil Roberts, a postdoctoral fellow, both in the Department of Political Science and Center for Africana Studies; and representatives of the Johns Hopkins University Press.

Callaloo publishes original works, and critical studies of them, by black writers worldwide. A rich mixture of fiction, poetry, plays, critical essays, cultural studies and interviews, the highly acclaimed journal also offers frequent annotated bibliographies, original art and photography, and special thematic issues. One of the latter, "Jazz Poetics," was recognized by the Council of Editors for Learned Journals as one of the best special issues of 2002.

Over the years, Callaloo has garnered high praise from noted authors and scholars, including Alex Haley, who said, "Callaloo is no less than a Mother Lode of outstanding Afro-American arts and letters," and Henry Louis Gates Jr., who said Callaloo is "without a doubt, the most elegantly edited journal of African and African-American literature being published today. Its geographical and linguistic range is as impressive as its range of coverage of so very many genres."

For a complete schedule of events and speakers, go to the Africana Studies homepage,, and click on "Callaloo 30th Anniversary Celebration."


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