The 31st annual Aspen Summer Words was launched off at 5 pm on Sunday, June 24th 2007, as authors hand-picked to appear in a variety of different venues throughout the week by the Aspen Writers Foundation, were made available for book signings and an open reception at the Gant Hotel in Aspen.
The lax Sunday afternoon commencement was only the beginning of a weeks worth of speeches, stories, ideas, creative workshops, and lots and lots of words.
The Aspen Writers Foundation has dedicated the 2007 festival as a celebration of African literature and literary artists. These new-generation literary wonders have traveled half way across the world and will be presenting in “Africa: The Origin of Stories,” right here at Belly Up over the next few days.
With so much of Africa headlining the news these days it’s nice to see the wind blow a different direction as Americans and people all across the world recognize, Africa a continent of 800 million and 53 countries, come to life in a Literary Renaissance.
It was no more than seven months ago that a record breaking number of journalists, magazine editors, and writers came to Nairobi, Kenya to celebrate what was dubbed a breathtaking Literary Festival. It included Nigerian Author, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie who will be present this week at Aspen’s own Summer Words Fest.
“Adiche appeared radiant and fresh,” according to “Vanity Fair” magazine. “Anyone even remotely observing the way she departed the crowd—Cleopatra style—could sense the dawn of a new age.”
This renaissance of words, in the worlds second largest continent, was first realized when young literary pioneers started the break the habit of Africa’s old-style storytelling– based around ancient legends and myths—and began to tackle the more modern issues of culture clashing and racial and gender inequalities.
Hot on the front-burner also is the idea that for the first time in history the prevailing voice of the black female is taking over and being heard almost as frequently as the male equivalent.
Aspen Summer Words will feature seven of Africa’s finest new scholarly heroes, including Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, along with 19 other award winning and bestselling authors from America.
Tune in Monday night as the Aspen Writers Foundation hosts “Introducing Africa” at 6 pm at the Belly Up were the African legends introduce themselves and there countries and conduct short readings, storytelling and talks.