Friday, January 15, 2016

January Edition of the Lowercase Reading Series: Tara Campbell, Koye Oyedeji, and Collin Dwyer

January Edition of the Lowercase Reading Series:
Tara Campbell, Koye Oyedeji, and Colin Dwyer

I recently had the pleasure of attending the lowercase at Petworth Citizen, a monthly reading series hosted on the first Wednesday of every month by 826dc. The nonprofit was represented by Christina Mueller, a GWU English Major Alum, and Gus Caravalho, a volunteer who works with children to promote literacy. Gus described one of the nonprofit’s programs in which a group of children work together to write a three page story while he illustrates the plot and projects his drawings on the wall in real time. This event featured three local writers who shared excerpts of their most recent work.



Tara Campbell, a writer of crossover sci-fi who volunteers for 826DC and Books Alive! Washington Writers Conference, read from her new work, "The Human Zoo." This piece focused on the Ashanti people who were brought from the Gold Coast of Africa to perform in theatrical troupes. She argues that despite their subjugation and exploitation, they had far more agency and decision making than it would seem.
Her favorite line from "The Human Zoo":
 “An ancient name cannot be cooked and eaten; after all, money is the thing.”
Favorite author and work: Margaret Atwood, "A Handmaiden’s Tale"

Koye Oyedeji, a contributing editor for SABLELitmag , is currently working on his first novel and a collection of short stories. A creative writing teacher at the Duke Ellington School of Arts, he is a VONA and Callaloo fellow as well as a recipient of an Arts Council of England grant. He has been featured in Washington City Paper,and he read from his work, "Postscript From the Black Atlantic," set on an estate in England during a time when girls were going missing.
Favorite line from "Postscript From the Black Atlantic": 
“He was none the wiser though, wrapped up in things unseen –his travels and his ambition, a sense of spirit that stirred within and flood his arteries with the promise of something; a tingle that felt like fortune, an air that trapped his lungs with the swallow of success.”
Favorite author and work: Adrunhati Roy, "The God of Small Things"

Many of his former students came to the event, including Sarai Reed, a Masters Candidate at GWU.


Colin Dwyer, a digital producer who writes and edits for NPR, read from his newest work, "Static." In his introduction, Gus Caravalho described how “before backsliding into journalism, he was an English major -- and even, shudder to think, a creative writing major -- who spent most of his time in school telling people that, no, he didn't care to be a journalist.”
Favorite line from "Static": 
“His blood and genes and facial features, all now and in the bodies of sons and daughters he would never meet. If synecdoche were scientific law, he was in thousands of places in any single moment. He wondered at that, stopping at the intersection and letting the stroller continue on. Within a few generations he could be everywhere at once. He could be God.”
Favorite author and work: Don Dellilo, "Underworld"


826DC is a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting students ages 6-18 with their creative and expository writing skills, and to helping teachers inspire their students to write. Our services are structured around our understanding that great leaps in learning can happen with one-on-one attention and that strong writing skills are fundamental to future success.
With this in mind we provide drop-in tutoring, field trips, after-school workshops, in-schools tutoring, help for English language learners, and assistance with student publications. All of our programs are challenging and enjoyable, and ultimately strengthen each student’s power to express ideas effectively, creatively, confidently, and in his or her individual voice.”






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January Edition of the Lowercase Reading Series: Tara Campbell, Koye Oyedeji, and Collin Dwyer
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