Friday, August 14, 2009

Press Release

Fahizah Alim
James Sweeney 510.435.4493

On Saturday, Aug 22, 3-6, the Honorable James W. Sweeney will host a book party for author, poet, playwright, essayist, activist Marvin X. His latest book is a memoir of Eldridge Cleaver, My Friend the Devil, introduction by Amiri Baraka, Black Bird Press, Berkeley, 2009.

According to Dr. James Garrett, Eldridge Cleaver, My Friend the Devil, is the funniest book of the year. "The more you know about black liberation history the funnier it is." The book is indeed the history of his four decade relationship with Eldridge Cleaver, from the time he was released from prison in 1966 to his death May 1, 1998.. As people have noted, this book is as much an autobiography of Marvin X as it is a biography of Cleaver. But James W. Sweeney sees it as a metaphor for all of us who may have demons in our midst--even Jesus had demons! At a recent public conversation with Marvin X at the Joyce Gordon Gallery in Oakland, Sweeney was unable to convince the audience they need to check out their own demons rather than talk about Cleaver's or Marvin's.

The book party will be held at the beautiful home of the Sweeney's in Elk Grove. Their home is a virtual art gallery with many original paintings, photographs and sculpture by black artists. Indeed, Marvin selected (from Sweeney's collection) a painting of Cleaver by Marcella Hayes for his book cover.

About Marvin X there is much to say, but in short, he was recently called "the best damn black writer in America" --Dr. Leo Casino.Rudolph Lewis says "He is one of America's great storytellers. Maybe second only to Mark Twain. Of course I'd place Marvin X ahead of him even."

Marvin X is one of the founders of the Black Arts Movement, along with Amiri Baraka, Sonia Sanchez, Nikki Giovanni and others.He is also considered the father of Muslim American literature. He has taught at UC Berkeley, UC San Diego, Fresno State University,San Francisco State University, Mills College, University of Nevada, Reno, and elsewhere. In the past year, his plays have been performed from New York to San Francisco. His recent books include How to Recover from the Addiction to White Supremacy, In the Crazy House Called America, Wish I Could Tell You the Truth, Land of My Daughters, Beyond Religion, toward Spirituality.

His writings appear often in the Oakland Post Newspaper. He assembled 22 Bay Area authors for a tribute to slain journalist Chauncey Bailey. You don't want to miss the Marvin X experience!


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