University of Pittsburgh
January 23, 2003

Novelist Sharon Flake, a Pitt Grad and Employee, To be Featured Reader at "African American Read-In Chain" Feb. 2

Contact:  412-624-4147

Pitt Professor Ogle Duff to host 14th "Read-In Chain"

In recognition of Black History Month

January 24, 2002

PITTSBURGH—Novelist Sharon Flake, University of Pittsburgh director of publications in the Katz Graduate School of Business, will be the featured reader at a regional "African American Read-In Chain" at 3 p.m. Feb. 2 in the library of Oakland's First Baptist Church, Bellefield and Bayard streets.

Inspired by the national effort to promote racial harmony by sharing the rich legacy of African American authors, the First Baptist Church read-in is coordinated by Ogle Duff, an associate professor in Pitt's School of Education. This is the 14th year for the free event.

"The hope is that participants will have a deeper understanding of African American culture and the authors' contributions to society," said Duff. "The read-in provides an opportunity for the community at large to participate in a positive reading experience either at the church or at an informal gathering in someone's home or with an organized group, such as the Girl Scouts. The goal is to have one million people across the country devoting an hour to reading the works of African American writers."

Flake, author of young adult fiction, will read from her body of work. Her books include "The Skin I'm In" and "Money Hungry," both published by Hyperion Press. "The Skin I'm In" was a California Young Readers Medal Nominee, and the New York City Library System named "Money Hungry" a top-10 book for the teenage reader.

Flake, who earned the Bachelor of Arts degree in English writing from Pitt in 1978, is the winner of the Pennsylvania Council of the Arts Fellowship, the Coretta Scott King New Talent Award, the American Library Association Coretta Scott King Honor Award, and the YWCA Racial Justice Speak Out Award.

Anyone interested in reading with Flake at the church should contact Duff to volunteer. People also are encouraged to form a group at another location.

Schools, churches, libraries, bookstores, businesses, and community and professional organizations also are urged to make literacy a significant part of Black History Month by hosting and coordinating read-ins. Individuals across the nation are asked to participate on Feb. 2. Teachers may join in the program by holding a read-in in their classrooms on Feb. 3.

The read-in is sponsored by the Black Caucus of the National Council of Teachers of English. For more information about participating in the read-in, holding your own reading, receiving recommendations on reading selections, volunteering to read at the church, or registering, contact Duff at 412-648-7194 or