Annual conference program to feature diverse literary voices

Contact: Miguel A. Figueroa

Director, ALA Office for Diversity

(312) 280-5295


For Immediate Release

June 22, 2009

Chicago – The American Library Association (ALA) will showcase the diverse voices of our world at the Many Voices, One Nation program, an evening of literature and performance during its Annual Library Conference in Chicago. This year’s program carries the theme “Changing Communities through Literature and Activism” and will feature authors whose works highlight and hope to change societal issues.Â

Many Voices, One Nation, now in its fifth year, brings together writers and artists from different perspectives and presents a rich program of spoken word, music and performance art that celebrates and reminds us of the many unique cultures sharing one world. Â

This year’s program will feature novelist Nami Mun, author of “Miles from Nowhere”; spoken word artist George Watsky, a performer on “
Russell Simmons Presents Def Poetry” on HBO; poet, children’s author and librarian Janice Harrington; playwright, poet and short-story writer Ed Bok Lee, author of “Real Karaoke People”; and poet Rachel Zucker, author of “The Bad Wife Handbook” and creator of “Starting Today: Poems for the First 100 Days.” Attendees will enjoy performances by Hooked on Drums, an urban youth group performing African djembe drumming. Complimentary books and author signings will also be made available.

Many Voices, One Nation: Changing Communities through Literature and Activism takes place in the Palmer House State Ballroom from 6-9 p.m., on Friday, July 10. Admission is $10 payable in advance with conference registration or at the door.

Many Voices, One Nation began as an initiative of ALA Past President Carol Brey-Casiano. The 2005 Initiative generated a "nation's booklist" available at the ALA website, a nationwide celebration of reading entitled Many Voices, One Nation, One Night @ your library® held for the first time on Monday, April 11, 2005 during National Library Week, and the first Many Voices, One Nation literary event held at the ALA 2005 Annual Conference in Chicago. Last year’s event, themed the Many Voices, Many Nations honored the art and culture of America’s diverse Native American populations. The program in Chicago continues the tradition and honors Brey-Casiano’s vision of regional events highlighting the diverse voices of our nation’s literature and the unifying role that libraries play in building a literate nation.