MK Asante & Lisa Page (2013)
This event happened on September 17th 2013 at Hill Center at Old Naval Hospital.
Hill Center/ PEN/Faulkner Literary Reading Series features award-winning writer, filmmaker, and hip-hop artist MK Asante who read from and discuss his new book, BUCK: A Memoir. Asante will be joined in conversation by writer Lisa Page, former president of the PEN/Faulkner Foundation.
MK Asante was born in Zimbabwe to American parents: a mother who led the new nation’s dance company and a father who would soon become the revered pioneer in Black Studies. A little more than a decade later MK found himself alone in North Philadelphia — his mother in a mental hospital, his father gone, his older brother locked up in a prison — forced to find his own way to survive physically, mentally, and spiritually, by any means necessary.
A teenager lost in a fog of drugs, sex, and violence on the streets of Killadelphia, Asante sought refuge in the poetry of hip-hop giants — from Tupac, to Jay-Z, to Nas — and later, in the words of Kerouac, Whitman, Orwell, and even the diary of his own mother. BUCK is the unforgettable story of Asante’s rise from dealer and delinquent to writer, filmmaker, poet, and professor. It is a powerful memoir of how a precocious kid educated himself with the most unconventional of teachers — outlaws and eccentrics, rappers and mystic strangers, ghetto philosophers and strippers, and, eventually, an alternative school that transformed his life with a single blank sheet of paper.
MK Asante is an award-winning writer, filmmaker, hip-hop artist, and professor of creative writing and film at Morgan State University. He received the Langston Hughes Award in 2009, and won the Jean Corrie Prize from the Academy of American Poets for his poetry collection Like Water Running Off My Back. Asante directed The Black Candle, a film he co-wrote with Maya Angelou, and he directed and produced the film 500 Years Later. The Philadelphia Inquirer calls Asante “a rare, remarkable talent that brings to mind the great artists of the Harlem Renaissance.
Lisa Page is Acting Director of Creative Writing at George Washington University and a freelance writer based in Washington, DC. Her work has appeared in the Washington Post Book World, Playboy, Washingtonian, Savoy and the Chicago Tribune among other publications. He essays and short stories have appeared in the anthologies, Skin Deep: Black Women and White Women Write About Race, Gravity Dancers, and Dream Me Home Safely. She is a regular guest on NPR’s The Diane Rehm Show Reader’s Review. She is a member of the PEN/Faulkner Foundation’s board of directors, and its former president.