Alison Mills Newman in Conversation with Saidiya Hartman
A reading to celebrate the publication of Fransisco, Alison Mills Newman’s long out-of-print novel with a new foreword by Saidiya Hartman. Written in her early twenties in a “fluently funky mix of standard and nonstandard English” (Harryette Mullen), Mills Newman tells the vibrant story of a young black woman’s love affair with an indie filmmaker, Francisco. Described as “a portrait of the artist as a young black woman trying to find a way back to herself” in Hartman’s foreword, Francisco unfolds like an on-the-road diary of a young actress and musician as she becomes increasingly disillusioned with success in Hollywood. She chronicles her bohemian life with her filmmaker lover, visiting friends and family up and down California, and her involvement in the 1970s Black Arts movement. Angela Davis, Muhammad Ali, Pharoah Sanders, Melvin Van Peebles, Frank Silvera, and Amiri Baraka make appearances, along with other artists and writers like Ishmael Reed and Joe Overstreet. Love and friendship, long revealing conversations, parties and dancing in Berkeley and LA—Francisco celebrates “the workings of a positive alive life that is good value, quality, caring, truth . . . the gift of art for the survival of the human heart."
Open to the public. All attendees are required to RSVP in advance; please click here.
Masks are optional. All attendees must be in compliance with NYU’s COVID-19 vaccination requirements (fully vaccinated and boosted, once eligible and by NYU’s deadline). Visitors (i.e. anyone who is not a current NYU student or employee) should be prepared to present proof of compliance and a government-issued ID if asked to do so.
The Creative Writers House is currently wheelchair inaccessible.
Alison Mills Newman started her career as the first African American teenage actress on a television series (Julia). As a musician and vocalist she has performed with Ornette Coleman, Don Cherry, Weather Report, and Taj Mahal. She is an award-winning film director and the author of the novel Maggie 3. Mills Newman is the president of Keep the Faith Film Ministries, a chaplain at Fulton County Jail, and has five beautiful children with the late Francisco Toscono Newman, as well as ten grandchildren.
Photo via the author
Saidiya Hartman was born and raised in New York City. She is a Professor in the Department of English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University. She is the author of Scenes of Subjection: Terror, Slavery, and Self-Making in Nineteenth Century America (Oxford, 1997) and Lose Your Mother: A Journey Along the Atlantic Slave Route (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2007). She has published articles on slavery, the archive, and the city, including “The Terrible Beauty of the Slum,” “Venus in Two Acts” and “The Belly of the World.” She has been a Cullman Fellow at the New York Public Library, a Fulbright Scholar in Ghana, a Whitney Oates Fellow at Princeton University, and a Rockefeller Fellow at Brown University.
Photo via the MacArthur Foundation