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Charlotte Book Fair returns for third year

Your challenge, should you choose to accept it, is craft a story in six words

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She only eats the dead skin.

Korean moms wail for white skin.

When the beat drops, death ensues.

Distance stabbed the lovers to death.

Those are my submissions to the Charlotte Book Fair's #6WordsCharlotte community challenge, asking for six-word stories. It was a little harder than I thought it would be. Especially since I write for a living.

"Once you write one, you just start seeing six-word stories everywhere," says Emiene Wright, a member of the Charlotte Book Fair planning committee (and CL's resident copy editor).

We'll see if she's right. Those four sucked my soul dry.

Oh wait. There's another one.

The Charlotte Book Fair returns in its third year on Oct. 4. Banish any images of the elementary school book fair that might be lingering in your head, though — CBF is nothing like that. (Sorry, Scholastic.)

"The concentration is on literacy, but we're also talking about other kinds of literacy. Creative literacy — knowing how to tell your own stories. That can come through music or film," Wright says.

The organizers aim to create as big of a cultural event here as that of the book fairs hosted in Miami and Harlem. They're well on their way: This year, the CBF had to move into a larger space, Uptown's Little Rock Cultural Center (formerly the Afro-American Cultural Center). Organizers expect about 1,000 attendees, and Wright makes sure to emphasize that there will be plenty of free parking.

In addition to readings and discussions by local authors, such as Adeola Fearon (Soul Whisperings) and Ruth King (Healing Rage), the robust lineup includes film screenings — including the state premiere of Tananarive Due's new short horror film Danger Word, a coming-of-age film with zombies — a wide variety of music performances, from Afro-punk to country, and performing arts showcases. There's something going on in almost every room in the Little Rock Cultural Center and even outside. It's a family-friendly event.

And what about that six-word challenge? Wright says they've gotten quite a few submissions already online, via the Facebook page and on Twitter. All of the stories will be performed in a dramatic reading by a member of On Q Productions.

"Six words is a lot of fun," Wright says. "Just something to break people over the hump of writing. We want to get people thinking about the literary landscape and contributing to it. You don't have to be a 'writer' or professional. You don't have to get a knighthood to do it. You can just do it."

While you're admiring the moves of the Oneaka Mack Dance Company or rocking out to Harry Hunter — just two of the many performers who will be out at CBF — look for inspiration for your own six-word story. White boards will be scattered throughout the venue, just waiting for your contribution to Charlotte's literary scene.

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