Penn State Altoona Announces African-American Read-In Events

ALTOONA – The 25th annual African-American Read-In Chain will be celebrated at Penn State Altoona on Feb. 23–24. This year’s theme, Lift Every Voice, recognizes the close relationship between the musical and literary arts.

Events begin Feb. 23 at 4 p.m. in the Port-Sky Café with a community gathering featuring music, literature, and food.  It is free and open to the public.  You are invited to share a short reading from a work by an African-American author or just listen and enjoy. Advanced reservations are required. RSVP to or at 814-949-5280.

The Read-In Chain continues Feb. 24 with “Monday Marathon,” an Open Mic Read-In in the Slep Student Center.  From 9 a.m. – 5:30 p.m., various dance, theatre and musical performances will take place to celebrate African-American authors and artists.  Special sessions on black women writers, African American spirituals, and a tribute to the late poet and playwrite Amiri Baraka will be held.  From 12 p.m. – 1 p.m. the keynote presentation “Jazz, Hip Hop, and Poetry,” by Ronnie Burrage will take place.  At 5:30 p.m., Yona Harvey, featured author of the 2014 African American Read-In at Penn State Altoona will give a reading of her works.

Harvey is the author of the poetry collection Hemming the Water (Four Way Books 2013). Her poems can be found in jubilat, Gulf Coast, Callaloo, West Branch, and various journals and anthologies, including A Poet’s Craft: A Comprehensive Guide to Making and Sharing Your Poetry. She is a Cave Canem Fellow and the recipient of an Individual Artist Grant from The Pittsburgh Foundation. Harvey teaches creative writing at the University of Pittsburgh.

A book signing will immediately follow the presentation, where the Harvey’s book will be available for purchase. This event is free and open to the public and sponsored by the Penn State Altoona English Program’s Writers & Speakers Series.

If you’d like to sign up to read or have questions about the Monday Marathon, contact Robin Reese at

The 2013 African American Read-In at Penn State Altoona events are sponsored by Dr. Lori J. Bechtel-Wherry, chancellor and dean, The Letters Arts and Sciences Program, The Office of Institutional Equity and Diversity and International Student Services, The Division of Arts and Humanities, The Division of Education, Human Development, and Social Sciences, The Altoona College Honors Program and the Blair County NAACP.

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