St. Ann & the Holy Trinity Church and Grace Church, Brooklyn Heights, co-hosted two days of book events with acclaimed author and creator of Black Liturgies, Cole Arthur Riley. Riley is the author of the stunning 2022 New York Times best-selling debut, This Here Flesh: Spirituality, Liberation, and the Stories That Make Us, a book of stories and reflections on discovering the sacred in her skin.
On Friday, September 29, at 7:00 pm, at St. Ann’s, Riley headlined a Brooklyn Book Festival Bookend Event, joined by fellow Tracey Michae’l Lewis-Giggetts, whose books Then They Came for Mine: Healing from the Trauma of Racial Violence and Black Joy: Stories of Resistance, Resilience and Restoration and Black Joy: Stories of Resistance, Resilience and Restoration, celebrate Black Americans’ resilience in the face of racially-motivated violence and explore joy as a path to healing.
On Saturday, September 30, at 12 noon at Grace Church, Riley gave a lecture and was joined for a Q&A facilitated by the Rev. Adriene Thorne, Senior Minister of historic Riverside Church in Upper Manhattan.
Cole’s 2022 New York Times best-selling book, This Here Flesh: Spirituality, Liberation, and the Stories That Make Us, is an unforgettable book of stories and reflections on discovering the sacred in her skin. Writing memorably of her own childhood and coming to self, she boldly explores some of the most urgent questions of life and faith: How can spirituality not silence the body, but instead allow it to come alive? How do we honor, lament, and heal from the stories we inherit? How can we find peace in a world overtaken with dislocation, noise, and unrest? At once a compelling spiritual meditation, a powerful intergenerational account, and a tender coming-of-age narrative, This Here Flesh speaks potently to anyone who suspects that our stories might have something to say to us.
Cole is also the creator of Black Liturgies, a space that integrates spiritual practice with Black emotion, Black literature, and the Black body, and is a project of The Center for Dignity and Contemplation in Ithaca, New York, where she serves as Curator.
Photos of the events may be viewed here.