Pasadena Public Library hosts annual Author Fair

By Sammy Wu, Pasadena City College Courier, 3/18/2015

The Pasadena Public Library hosted their its Annual Author Fair on February 21 where many independent, freelance writers from around the Pasadena area gathered to speak to fans and to give readings of their books.

Justin Chapman, a graduate of both Pasadena City College and the University of California, Berkeley, recently finished a trip across Africa, going to areas such as Cape Town and Mityana, Uganda. In his trip through Africa, he has been involved in a plethora of exciting events, such as witnessing a witchcraft healing ceremony, nearly dodging death in a car accident, and visiting a poor township.

All of these events were collectively written about in his new paperback book Saturnalia: Traveling from Cape Town to Kampala in Search of an African Utopia.

Chapman encourages people of all ages to pick up his book, which has already received positive reviews.

“I hope that the book will open people’s eyes to the real Africa, beyond what is depicted in television documentaries and fleeting media accounts of atrocities and struggles,” said Chapman. “The stories Saturnalia contains and the conclusions it draws are important and should not be passed over or forgotten.”

Moreover, journalist and children’s author Yvonne Senkandwa debuted two of her books at the event: “Nkinzi and Nammikka Have a Tea Party”and “Nkinzi and Nammikka Go to the Farmer’s Market.” The two books take place in Kampala, Uganda, and it is intended to promote Ugandan cultural pride and language among its readers, specifically those who are Ugandan.

Senkandwa, who was born in Kenya to Ugandan parents, expressed the importance of taking pride in one’s cultural identity.

“I simply set out to write about the day-to-day life experiences of the African girl in the international world, to let the African girl know that the world will demand she knows her value and self-worth,” Senkandwa said. “It is important that the African girl loves herself, as she joins other little girls of other races and ethnic backgrounds in her global communities. It is also important that the African girl does not feel different in any way because of her skin color.”

Furthermore, Nancy Young was present to promote her book “Strum,” which was a finalist in the USA Literary Fiction contest and a recipient of the Independent Publisher Book Award. The novel centers on a young deaf man, Bernard, who is awakened one day by the sound of music created by the spirits of his great grandfather, who was Iroquois, and his great grandmother, who was European.
The music leads him to a nearby forest in his hometown of Quebec, Canada. It is at this forest that he sees a 800-year-old tree naturally fall down, and he decides to collect the wood to make two guitars. One guitar is later shipped to Europe, while the other is sent to Asia. The story then follows the trajectory of these two guitars.

“I was inspired by my personal journey and the journeys of people I know, when writing the book,” Young said. “I travel a lot as a child and as an adult. I have been to Asia, the Middle East, Australia, and Europe, and it is such experiences abroad that motivated me to write a book on love, family, culture, environment, spirituality, and magic.”

The Pasadena Public Library is located at 285 East Walnut St. and will host another Author Fair in October as part of ArtNight Pasadena.