Anabranch kicks off in Alabama with ‘Moonlight’ star, Princeton scholar

Anabranch kicks off in Alabama with ‘Moonlight’ star, Princeton scholar
Sophie Shoults gets an autographed copy of "The Cat's Pajamas" from Daniel Wallace. Anabranch is being held in conjunction with the Alabama Book Festival. (contributed)

Anabranch, a two-day event celebrating literature and the humanities, features two distinguished Alabama natives – scholar Imani Perry and actor André Holland – who will discuss their respective careers and Alabama roots today at Montgomery’s Capri Theatre.

Anabranch kicks off at 6 p.m. with the onstage conversation between Perry and Holland, who will discuss their thoughts about 200 years of Alabama statehood and the usefulness of the humanities to the state’s future.

Friday, April 12, Anabranch will hold a full day of free workshops for teachers and the public on the campus of Troy University-Montgomery from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at Whitley Hall.

The Anabranch events are in association with the 14th Annual Alabama Book Festival, which will be Saturday, April 13, at Old Alabama Town.

Imani Perry

Perry, born in Birmingham, is an interdisciplinary scholar of race, law, literature and African American culture. She is the Hughes-Rogers Professor of African American Studies at Princeton University. Author of five books, Perry has published numerous articles on law, cultural studies and African American studies. One of her most recent books, “Looking for Lorraine: The Radiant and Radical Life of Lorraine Hansberry,” was a New York Times Notable Book of the Year and won the 2019 PEN/Jacqueline Bograd Weld Award for Biography.

Holland, born in Bessemer, is an actor and producer. He received accolades for his performance as Kevin in the Academy Award-winning film “Moonlight.” Holland is also well known for his work as sportswriter Wendell Smith in “42” (2013), as activist Andrew Young in “Selma” (2014), as Principal Jenkins in “A Wrinkle in Time” (2018) and, most recently, as the lead actor in “High Flying Bird” (2019).

André Holland

Holland is well known for television roles in “The Knick” (2014–2015) and “American Horror Story: Roanoke” (2016). On stage, Holland has starred in August Wilson’s play “Jitney” (2017) on Broadway, and in London in the Globe Theatre’s production of “Othello” (2018).

Friday, the celebration of literature and the humanities continues with workshops on the Troy University-Montgomery Campus, for which teachers can earn professional development credits and receive stipends.

Workshops include:

  • The Clotilda and Africatown.
  • Writing for Young People I: Irene Latham and Charles Waters.
  • Writing for Young People II: Bethany Hegedus.
  • Alabama Story/Alabama Shakespeare Festival.
  • Young Adult Writing I: Randi Pink.
  • Young Adult Writing II: S.F. Henson.

Saturday, the Alabama Book Festival gets underway with a host of authors headlining the day in Old Alabama Town. In addition to the festival’s traditional concentration on fiction, nonfiction, children’s literature and poetry, there will be songwriters, philosophers, scholars and filmmakers in the mix.

Endorsed by the Alabama Bicentennial Commission, Anabranch is funded in part through a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities and is a collaborative effort involving the Alabama Humanities Foundation, Troy University, Alabama State Council on the Arts, Landmarks Foundation and Old Alabama Town, the city of Montgomery, Alabama Public Television, Alabama Writers’ Forum, Alabama Library Association and Montgomery City-County Public Library.

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