Uptown Lit debuts today

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Uptown Lit debuts today

Story by Robin Elisabeth Kilmer

Congressman Luis Gutiérrez recounts his life in Still Dreaming: My Journey from the Barrio to Capitol Hill

Congressman Luis Gutiérrez recounts his life in Still Dreaming: My Journey from the Barrio to Capitol Hill

2013 seems to be a lucky year for Northern Manhattan.

Not long after the community pitched in to purchase a projector for the United Palace, and made certain its beloved bookstore, Word Up, got a second home at 165th Street and Amsterdam Avenue, uptown is now reveling in the written word – with the first-ever Uptown Lit festival.

Veronica Liu, of Word Up, said Alane Salierno Mason, an editor for W.W.Norton Publishing Company, approached her about a literary festival over the summer.

And as months passed, 16 sponsors and almost 40 artists and writers came together for Uptown Lit, which debuts today.

There are several notable names, including Quiara Alegría Hudes,the Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright, Nicole Kraus, author of New York Times bestseller History of Love, and Congressman Luis Gutiérrez.

Mason is the editor of Congressman Gutiérrez’s memoir, Still Dreaming: My Journey from the Barrio to Capitol Hill, and invited him to come to the festival.

“It’s an amazing opportunity to bring him to the neighborhood, knowing that he’s hugely admired,” said Mason.

Liu said she was happily surprised that Kraus is also coming.

“Apparently she doesn’t do public events too often.”

Liu works in publishing herself, specifically for Seven Stories Press, which will be screening artwork from The Graphic Canon, a slideshow of art adaptations of some of the world’s most famous literature.

Authors whose works have been adapted include Frederick Douglas and Andrea Mistral.

The Graphic Canon has been screened before, but its screening at the United Palace will be special, said Liu.

“We’ll get to see it on a 50-foot screen!”

Uptown Lit is on Sat. Oct. 19 from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. at the United Palace Theater at 4140 Broadway.

For more information, please visit www.uptownlit.com.