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Hooked on Nikki

Charlotte finds its literary pulse

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There are many different types of events, festivals, galas and all things synonymous with parties here in the QC: pool parties, tailgates, street fairs, bar crawls -- you name it. Although this closet nerd can get down with any and all genres of parties, my kind of party is one that stimulates as opposed to one with stimulants, such as the Charlotte Literary Festival.

Real Eyes Bookstore threw the party in NODA, featuring the Loaf's selection for best band, Soulganic. The guest list included best-selling authors Omar Tyree and Patrice Gaines, and world-renowned, Grammy-nominated poet, and my fellow Virginia Tech Hokie Nikki Giovanni. Imagine I just rapped her name like Kanye does on "Hey Mama."

The event last week was a huge success. The line at the Neighborhood Theatre wrapped around the block for a night of jazz, fiction, rap, spoken word and sung poetry. Singer Missra and EPMD's Parrish Smith "opened" for the famous authors, and the artistic, open-minded crowd of literature enthusiasts was jiving to it all. There was so much wisdom and worldliness in that room that I felt smarter by osmosis.

"Women love to read about sex, and men just love to have it," Tyree said of his most recent novel, What They Want. Tyree passed out surveys to women in the audience to see what we crave. He claims that there are four types of women: high maintenance, practical, optimistic and drama queens. Apparently, Charlotte is full of optimistic women.

When Giovanni walked onstage, Charlotte greeted her with a standing ovation.

She read from her most recent book, Rosa, a children's biography of Rosa Parks. Giovanni made several good points. Poetry is present in almost all celebrations and milestones of life, she said: weddings, births, graduations. With that said, seeing Giovanni in person definitely constitutes a celebration.


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