2007 Harlem Book Fair

The book Fair was quite interesting, on a number of levels.

One of the most interesting things I saw was the Conversation between Howard Zinn and Walter Mosley


The full interview is available on C-Span2 Book TV
WNYC - News - Harlem Book Fair

Article and interviews recorded by Siddhartha Mitter
Charles B. Rangel and AALBC.com Founder Troy Johnson
Congressman Charles B. Rangel and AALBC.com Founder Troy Johnson

71 other photos taken during the Harlem Book Fair
The following blog entry describes the street fair itself.

"One moment you're staring at a car emblazoned with the title "The Black Man's Guide on How to Cheat on Your Woman" and the next moment you're whirling around and saying to a friend, "that's Amiri Baraka," exuding the innocence of neophyte even though you've encountered the legendary author and activist on a number of occasions."

Troy's Comments
I must have walked right past the the author of the Blog Post. I walked right by Amiri Baraka. I said 'hello' he acknowledged me (I don't know him personally) I did not take a photo as I have a bunch of photos taken at many previous encounters. I did run into the 'emblazoned' van. I took a photo of the van. Not so much because I've never seen a van so adorned. I just found the subject matter of 'how to cheat on you woman' remarkable.

The author of the how to book was nearby and asked "don't you want to take a photo of the author" Which I did:


It might seem obvious, but how one feels about the Harlem Book Fair is really in the eyes of the beholder. I know people who were disgusted and other your were very happy and they are all reasonable in their assessments.

One common comment was the lack of 'literary' work or rather non-ghetto/urban/street/hiphop books. The Blogger referenced about touched upon this in the post.

There is perhaps no better metaphor for how the self published/urban/street authors are crowding out the main stream publisher's on book store shelves ,than what I saw on the street this past Saturday.

I know several people who simply could not find a book they wanted to read at the book fair. However I also observed many people who were seemed quite excited about the offerings.

As a vendor, during the Harlem Book Fair, for several years (I did not vend the last two years); I have noticed how some people would be excited to see my John A Williams titles and would buy 1 or 2. However the last year I exhibited I spent more time explaining to folk, who John A. Williams is. No one cared very much and my sales of his titles reflect this.

Yeah, the quality of Harlem Book Fair experience is truly in the eye of the beholder...


The smorgasbord of black books out there on the table provides something for everyone. What causes "indigestion" is that hungry new customers have an appetite for rib-tips and french fries and strawberry pop, instead of filet mighon and potatoes au gratin and Chardonney. But cream rises to the top. The tide has turned in the black book business, and fortunately the same tide that goes out, comes back in.

In this case, the Cadillacs cost the same as the Buicks and people aree still buying the Buicks.

LOL. True, true, Troy-Troy. That's the difference between you and me. While I'm about metaphors, you're about money. :-)

LOL. True, true, Troy-Troy. That's the difference between you and me. While I'm about metaphors, you're about money. :-)


SHIT! Screwed up again. I was actually at the fair on Saturday and not only did I NOT have my book, I didn't get to see Walter Mosely, Howard Zinn OR Amiri Baraka! I guess I was so tired after walking around in the heat and noise and confusion of Harlem....

How did I miss that van? Guess I was too busy trying to get a coconut "icee".

Great pix, btw. I had to register to view them, but at least I didn't have to wait for them to send me a confirmation email. Soon as you register you can look at the photos right away. Very nice pictures.

I took some pictures with my phone, but they didn't come out too good because of all the sunlight.

Schakspir, give yourself ten lashes for me!

Shakes, you also missed my riveting panel on book reviews. Honestly I found it to be a very interesting panel. I also learned a lot from the audience and other partcipants.

Much of the discussion focused on fee based book reviews. The audience (reader) is completely oblivious to the whole process and really don't care. What they are about are book reviews they can trust.

Pictured from left to right
Max Rodriguez, founder of QBR the Black Book Review and co-founder of the Harlem Book Fair, Ron Kavanaugh, founder Mosaicbooks.com, Troy Johnson, founder AALBC.com, Shunda Leigh, founder Booking Matter Magazine and Gilda Celestin founder Belletristic Press.

157 photos from James Lisbon, Founder of Awareness Magazine.


Side Note: Coincidentally, Ron Kavanuagh, James Lisbon and I all graduation from the same high school (Brooklyn Technical High School). We were all three at the same time. Ron and I were in the same graduating class (we did not know each other then.

Funny How James and I got the same Charlie Rangel shot. I did not see James at all that day.


LOL @ the guide on how to cheat on a black woman. GITdafukouttaheah!

I like HBF, but the selection did leave a lot to be desired...won't keep me from supporting it though.

Nom_de_plume, we should continue to support the fair. Perhaps our support should take different forms, perhaps it should be in the form of more active involvement.

Desipte the selection leaving a lot to be desired why do you like the HBF?

What's not to love about beautiful black folks coming together to share their love of reading? That's it for me! I also enjoy the panels and the vendors that sell things other than books.

Here is a link to photos that my man Ron posted on Flickr he does not require logging in to see them and he editted to shot down quite a bit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/mosaicbooks/sets/72157601035749231/

Ron also made a few Blog Posts as well: http://mosaicbooks.blogspot.com/

Nom_de_plume, I have to admit it was a very attractive crowd I enjoyed being in the mix.
The Book TV web site has been redesigned. CSpan recorded all of the panel discussions that took place in the Schomburg.


Max Rodriquez, QBR and co-fiunder of the Harlem Book Fair.

Troy Johnson (circled) with camera in hand.

The memoir panel on includes Dominic Carter (http://aalbc.com/authors/dominic_carter.htm). Dominic self-published his memoir.

It also includes June Cross (http://aalbc.com/authors/june_cross.htm) who is the secret daughter of a "white groupie".

The videos may be found here: http://booktv.org


I just listened to the Memoir and Remembrances: Making Way Out of No Way panel. It was really very good all of the panelists did a good job of explaining their books and they all sound interesting.

Even the Q&A was decent -- no one launched into a diatribe or gave commercials.

The author of Game Over: The Rise and Transformation of a Harlem Hustler, Agyei Tyehimba. Was quite interesting too.

Game Over: The Rise and Transformation of a Harlem Hustler http://aalbc.com/authors/agyei_tyehimba.htm

This book explores the New York City drug game during the Ronald Reagan years, the forces that led so many urban youth to enter the drug game, the lavish lifestyles of Azie and his partners, and the personal tragedies that confronted them all. Readers will learn about the massive corruption of law enforcement and their complicity in urban drug trafficking. Readers will also learn about how Azie turned his life around, creating a documentary and motion picture about his life to steer youth away from his former path. This is a must read for high school students, parents, college students, social critics, Hip Hop enthusiasts and professionals in all walks of life. Agyei Tyehimba recently appeared at the 2007 Harlem Book Fair on a panel discussing his book.


Wow Troy. Much thanks to you, my brother! You have given us enough info here to make me feel like I actually did get to the HBF. Now I don't feel so bad about missing it this year. Being right here in Newark gives me no excuse not to be there each year. LOL

See ya next year; I am running a bus ride from Newark to the HBF.


Harlem Book Fair Book Fair After Party at Minton's Playhouse
Sponsored by Harlem World Magazine


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