KWELI INTERNATIONAL LITERARY FESTIVAL
JULY 21, 2018
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The Belindas
by Ivelisse Rodriguez

I can hear him cracking his knuckles in the pocket of his peacoat, a nervous habit when he is annoyed. Old Belinda reappears and smiles at him. Then the tiniest smirk appears on his face as he steps back. READ MORE
 

Ain't That Good News
by Brit Bennett

 
 Painting: Maceo Montoya

Painting: Maceo Montoya

 

Wanting to kill someone felt like a type of love. Before they caught him, Florence worried about Andy as often as his own mama might: cotton soft thoughts, like was he fed? Was he bloodied? Was he well? Was he sleep at a bus stop? Did he remember to bring a jacket? Bet he forgot. Bet he never remembered to bring a jacket. He was on the run for three months, and all that time, she worried that he might catch cold or starve. The only thing worse than him getting away was him dying a natural death. She didn’t want there to be anything natural about the way Andy Robinson left this earth. And she worried about him, praying that nothing or no one else would touch him until the sheriff got to him first. Now that he was locked away, she still thought about Andy every day, little thoughts that felt like touches in the dark. Just to reassure herself that she hadn’t imagined him—that this long, lanky boy on the front page with those soft eyes had used his knobby hands to spread her daughter’s thighs like a wishbone before he hogtied her with her carnation pink sweater and tossed her in the Calcasieu River.   READ MORE
 

The Visit
by Sunita Dhurandhar

 
 Photo credit: Ozier Muhammad

Photo credit: Ozier Muhammad

 

When his mother told him she bought fresh mango from the fruitwala, he turned to look at her. She was draped in the same emerald green silk saree she had worn on the day she died in a car accident some sixty years ago. She spoke in Marathi—Me baajaratune taaje ambe andle—and nonchalantly handed him one of his favorite treats, a slice of fresh Alfonso mango. In the time it took for him to inhale, he left New Orleans to visit his childhood home in Bombay. It was 1942, again.  READ MORE


drone footage of Homs, twenty sixteen
by Jennifer Zeynab Joukhadar

 Photo credit: Haitham Abdulmajed

Photo credit: Haitham Abdulmajed

Homs / twenty sixteen / the house my father grew up in / once sat between these two matchbox buildings / now broken teeth / see the shell-gouged street / he used to play in / buckled floors stacked like decks / of playing cards / focus the eye on middle distance / missing years / clotheslines before they snapped   READ MORE

Searching for Salvation at Antioch
by Jodi Savage

 
 Photo credit: Ozier Muhammad/NYT Photo

Photo credit: Ozier Muhammad/NYT Photo

 

After Granny developed Alzheimer’s disease, she began hallucinating. Her phantoms ranged from people having sex in our backyard, to the mafia having a sit-down in her bedroom, to a young man’s funeral occurring in our closet. "He had AIDS," she whispered to me after one of these funerals. I had stopped taking her to church or to places with large crowds, because her hallucinations and delusions followed her. I never knew when she was going to start yelling at the invisible people. READ MORE