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The Tulisoma Book Fair brings 44 authors to African-American Museum in Fair Park Saturday

Dr. Helen Benjamin and Jean Nash Johnson, co-editors
Dr. Helen Benjamin and Jean Nash Johnson, co-editors of "How We Got Over"

The 17th Tulisoma South Dallas Book Fair focuses primarily on local authors, Texas authors, and they'll be present Saturday at the African-American Museum for book signings, readings and workshops.

Tulisoma [pronounced Tuh-LUH-SOH-mah] is Swahili for "we read." The fair's new program director, Dr. Helen Benjamin, says this time, they're taking it a step further. It'll be 'we read and we write.'

She might have added, we also meet, workshop, trade stories and honor authors. Friday evening is the Sutton E. Griggs Lifetime Achievement Award in Literature Dinner. It'll honor Tina McElroy Ansa, novelist, publisher, filmmaker, teacher and journalist, and Carole Boston Weatherford, whose children books have received three Caldecott Honors, two NAACP Image Awards and a Coretta Scott King Author Honor.

Hyperion Book
"Moses: When Harriet Tubman Led Her People to Freedom" is a Caldecott Honor winner from 2006

Then Saturday in Fair Park, 44 authors will be at tables talking to people. Confirmed authors include violinist-and-writer Rosalyn Story and children's book author Nancy Churnin. In the afternoon, each author will have just 5 minutes to read from his or her book.

"So you get a sampling," Dr. Benjamin said. "And then, simultaneously, there will be activities for children and workshops for adults on how to do your own book club. So it's just going to be busy."

Dr. Benjamin is also one of the featured authors at the book fair. Along with Jean Nash Johnson, she edited How We Got Over: Growing Up in the Segregated South. The two of them collected the personal accounts of how ordinary Black Americans survived and thrived under Jim Crow in the 1950s and '60s.

how we got over.jpg
"How We Got Over: Growing Up in the Segregated South," co-edited by Dr. Helen Benjamin and Jean Nash Johnson

The 17th Tulisomah South Dallas Book Fair is Friday and Saturday, Aug. 19-20. Saturday events at the African-American Museum are free and open to the public; tickets for Friday's awards dinner are $50.

Got a tip? Email Jerome Weeks at You can follow him on Twitter @dazeandweex.

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Jerome Weeks is the Art&Seek producer-reporter for KERA. A professional critic for more than two decades, he was the book columnist for The Dallas Morning News for ten years and the paper’s theater critic for ten years before that. His writing has appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle, Los Angeles Times, Newsday, American Theatre and Men’s Vogue magazines.