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An Evening with Bassey Ikpi

  • Ware Center 42 N Prince St Lancaster, PA 17603 United States (map)
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This September, Fear No Lit, the Midtown Scholar Bookstore, and the Ware Center are pleased to welcome author Bassey Ikpi to Lancaster as she presents her new essay collection, I’M TELLING THE TRUTH BUT I’M LYING.

The event will include:

  • a reading from Ikpi

  • a live conversation between Ikpi and Donna Talarico of Hippocampus Magazine

  • short performances by: Jamie Beth Cohen, Maria James-Thiaw, and Jonny Teklit

Books will be available for purchase prior to the book signing portion of the evening. This event is free and open to the public!

Accessible venue. Due to prep work for the interpreter, we would need to know if anyone attending this event would like an ASL interpreter by August 25. Please let us know via Facebook, by emailing fearnolit@gmail.com, or calling Erin Dorney's cell phone at 585-313-5786.*

About the Book:

From her early childhood in Nigeria through her adolescence in Oklahoma, Bassey Ikpi lived with a tumult of emotions, cycling between extreme euphoria and deep depression—sometimes within the course of a single day. By the time she was in her early twenties, Bassey was a spoken word artist and traveling with HBO's Def Poetry Jam, channeling her life into art. But beneath the façade of the confident performer, Bassey's mental health was in a precipitous decline, culminating in a breakdown that resulted in hospitalization and a diagnosis of Bipolar II.

In I'm Telling the Truth, But I'm Lying, Bassey Ikpi breaks open our understanding of mental health by giving us intimate access to her own. Exploring shame, confusion, medication, and family in the process, Bassey looks at how mental health impacts every aspect of our lives—how we appear to others, and more importantly to ourselves—and challenges our preconception about what it means to be "normal." Viscerally raw and honest, the result is an exploration of the stories we tell ourselves to make sense of who we are—and the ways, as honest as we try to be, each of these stories can also be a lie.

About the Author:

Bassey Ikpi is an American-Nigerian writer and mental health advocate. Her debut essay collection, I’M TELLING THE TRUTH BUT I’M LYING, is forthcoming in August 2019 from Harper Perennial.

Appearing on stages across the world as a public speaker and TV personality, Bassey featured on HBO’s ‘Def Poetry Jam’ and joined the touring company for their Tony Award-winning Broadway show. She was the resident pop culture critic for Philly’s WURD FM radio station and is currently a contributing editor for Catapult. An active voice in pop culture commentary and the mental health community, Bassey’s essays have been published by The Root, Ebony, Huffington Post, and Essence, as well as the anthologies Rookie On Love and Who Will Speak For America. In 2015, Bassey was commissioned by Nike’s global nonprofit Girls Effect to write and perform a short film, Invisible Barriers, which premiered at a panel discussing female empowerment as a means for societal growth at Aspen Ideas Conference.

Bassey is the founder of The Siwe Project, a mental health organization that centers Black and Brown people in an effort to spread mental health awareness. Recognized by MSNBC’s The Melissa Harris-Perry Show for her advocacy work, Bassey is also the creator of #NoShameDay, an initiative that attempts to reduce stigma and increase mental health awareness.

As a performing poet, Bassey has opened for Grammy-winning artists India Arie, Luther Vandross, and Alicia Keys. She tributed Venus and Serena Williams at the NAACP Image Awards and opened for Conde Nast Traveler’s 25th Anniversary Visionaries Award, performing original poems composed in recognition of attending honorees Hillary Clinton, Michael Bloomberg, Christy Turlington, Olivia Wilde, and Susan Sarandon, among others.

Bassey currently lives in Maryland and is working on her next book.

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Earlier Event: September 5
Almost Uptown Poetry Cartel
Later Event: September 6
Nathaniel Gadsden's Spoken Word Cafe