Natasha Marin with Renee Simms
Two years after her extraordinary, brilliant first book, Black Imagination was published, at the height of the pandemic, nationally-esteemed Seattle-based conceptual artist Natasha Marin should get to do a program here in person, this night for a second book she has curated, Black Powerful: Black Voices Reimagine Revolution (McSweeneys). As with Black Imagination, a generous, knowing spirit is at work in creating this new book with the voices of over one hundred Black voices of a range and breadth. If at all as with Black Imagination, we imagine a good number of those voices to be here in Seattle. This night, one to give overdue applause to Black Imagination, and to help welcome Black Powerful into the world. Renee Simms, author of Meet Behind Mars, will join Natasha in conversation and celebration.
“In Black Powerful, Natasha Marin has again curated a stunning collection of stories from deep in our Black imaginations. The short pieces featured here both dare everyone to consider the ways in which a better world is possible, and celebrate how much we currently have to lavish in. These pieces are connected by the ideas of where we are rooted, what we consider home internally and externally, and the ways in which we show up for ourselves. Where we have grown—not only where we have bent or broken—is where the power stems from. Each perspective and interlude calls to you, to invite you in to claim yourself. These voices will move and captivate you, and I look forward to returning to them when I am in need of a reminder of my own power.” —Katrina Otuonye.
“Natasha Marin’s Black Powerful presents a chorus of black voices that encircle the globe, a beautiful gesture to the immense breadth of the black experience. The multitude of testimonies speak to the domestic and the performative, to nations and to households, ancestry and community. What results is a stunning tapestry of the global diaspora, and through the dozens of real speakers imagined—a way of learning ourselves anew.” —Richard Georges, joined by Keith Knight, Damon Young, Monica Prince, Amber Payne, Ron Austin, Junie Désil, Derrais Carter, Jubi Arriola-Headley, and Arisa White, among others in early, welcoming praise.
Natasha Marin is a conceptual artist whose people-centered projects have circled the globe since 2012 and have been recognized and acknowledged by Art Forum, the New York Times, the Washington Post, the LA Times, NBC, Al Jazeera, Vice, PBS and others. The City of Seattle and King County have backed Black Imagination with a series of conceptual exhibitions.
Renee Simms is a recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts Creative Writing Fellowship, a John Gardner Fiction Fellowship at Bread Loaf, and fellowships from Ragdale and Vermont Studio Center. She’s an associate professor of African American Studies and English at University of Puget Sound and teaches with the Rainier Writing Workshop, Pacific Lutheran’s low-residency MFA program. Her debut story collection Meet Behind Mars was a Foreword Indies Finalist for Short Stories and listed by The Root as one of 28 brilliant books by Black authors in 2018. Renee is currently at work on a book about the Black suburban space.