Tag Archives: Cinco Puntos Press

Entertainment Weekly Highlights the Two New Emcees Taking to the Page in 2016

Two weeks ago, Book Expo America took over Chicago for three whole days of galley signing, panels, raffles, and more. When all was said and done, nearly 20,000 people attended. For those of us who missed the fun, Entertainment Weekly provided a handy-dandy recap of the “11 Best Things We Saw at BEA.” Clocking in at #6 were two new dynamite female MCs: one, the fictional Rani Patel of Cinco Puntos Press’s Rani Patel in Full Effect; the other, real-life poet/playwright/role model Chinaka Hodge, author of Dated Emcees from City Lirani patelghts Books.

Lee Byrd, one of the publishers of Cinco Puntos Press, knew from the beginning that Rani Patel in Full Effect was a special book.

“Publishing is like writing, an act of self-discovery,” Byrd said. “Every book we’ve acquired has taken us on a journey, to places we’ve never been before. And oh, the places Rani Patel in Full Effect has taken us, starting with the title — did I even know what ‘in full effect’ meant before I met Rani Patel?”

sonia patelEvery epic female character comes from an equally epic author. Sonia Patel may have a day job as a psychiatrist, but by night, she goes to underground hip-hop clubs, dances, and spits bars with the best of them. Don’t believe it? Check out this clip of her rapping some of Rani’s lines from the book in character, which Patel says helped a lot with her writing process.

Patel isn’t the only impressive author bringing a wide range of skills to the table. Poet, educator, playwright, and screenwriter — Chinaka chinaka hodgeHodge can and does it all. If you think you’ve heard her name before, it may be from the collaborative hip-hop ensemble she helped form, The Getback. Maybe you know her from the experimental play she wrote in 2010, which starred Daveed Diggs, the Tony-nominated actor from Broadway hit Hamilton. Or maybe it’s because she was on not one, but two seasons of HBO’s Def Poetry. Her list of credits and accolades goes on and on, and it’s well-deserved.

Elaine Katzenberger, the publisher at City Lights Books, has been a fan of Hodge’s work since the beginning.

dated emcees“I first became aware of Chinaka Hodge’s talent when she was a teenaged writer in the Youth Speaks program. In a room full of eloquent and charismatic young spoken word poets, she stood out in a way that demanded recognition: here was a voice to reckon with,” said Elaine Katzenberger, the publisher at City Lights Books. “Publishing Chinaka Hodge’s first collection of poems here at City Lights is a hugely exciting moment for all of us, and I personally couldn’t be more proud of this book and this author.”

Mark your calendars – Rani Patel makes her debut on October 11, and Chinaka Hodge’s book is available starting May 24!

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Bookslinger Update: “The King of Siam”

The Bookslinger app has been updated with a new story!

This week’s story is from Make It, Take It by Rus Bradburd, published by Cinco Puntos Press. An inventive novel, Make It, Take It sneaks the reader past the press conferences, locker rooms, and huddles of college basketball. Without judgment or sentimentality, Rus Bradburd lays bare the web of conflicts between players and coaches, blacks and whites, revealing the complex humanity of a team’s inner circle. Here, every choice has a very real cost.

Steve Pytel is an assistant coach and top recruiter for a university basketball program. His goals are simple. He wants to keep his job and be a head coach someday. Keeping his wife barely makes the list. The team staggers; everyone’s days are numbered. Pytel was responsible for landing prized recruits Leonard Redmond and Jamal Davis. Pytel’s duties now? Keep Leonard out of jail. Make sure Jamal ignores the advice of his preacher, sidesteps his girlfriend’s pregnancy, and puts the ball in the basket. Good thing Pytel doesn’t carry around a bagful of scruples.

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Bookslinger Update: “The Rule Maker”

The Bookslinger app has been updated with a new story!

This weeks story is from PEN/Faulkner winner Everything Begins and Ends at the Kentucky Club by Benjamin Alire Sáenz, published by Cinco Puntos Press. Benjamin Alire Sáenz’s stories reveal how all borders–real, imagined, sexual, human, the line between dark and light, addict and straight–entangle those who live on either side. Take, for instance, the Kentucky Club on Avenida Juárez two blocks south of the Rio Grande. It’s a touchstone for each of Sáenz’s stories. His characters walk by, they might go in for a drink or to score, or they might just stay there for a while and let their story be told. Sáenz knows that the Kentucky Club, like special watering holes in all cities, is the contrary to borders. It welcomes Spanish and English, Mexicans and gringos, poor and rich, gay and straight, drug addicts and drunks, laughter and sadness, and even despair. It’s a place of rich history and good drinks and cold beer and a long polished mahogany bar. Some days it smells like piss. “I’m going home to the other side.” That’s a strange statement, but you hear it all the time at the Kentucky Club.

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