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Givens Foundation | Black Market Reads

Black Market Reads is a menu for Black literary consumption and all of its spin-offs. Featuring Black artists who love to read and write and engage in arts and culture.

To listen to episodes and find great additional content about our authors and their work, visit our website (

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PRODUCER: The Givens Foundation for African American Literature

SEASON TWO - FOUR: Hosted by Lissa Jones

SEASON ONE: BMR was originated by Tana Hargest on behalf of The Givens Foundation, HOSTED BY Erin Sharkey and Junauda Petrus of Free Black Dirt, and other guest hosts as introduced, MUSIC: Sarah White - Through People [M¥K Remix]

Black Market Reads is made possible through the generous support of our individual donors, Target Foundation, and the voters of Minnesota, through a Minnesota State Arts Board Operating Support grant thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund.

For more information about the Givens Foundation, visit their website. (

Jul 1, 2023

In this previously unpublished episode, Lissa talks with author Rachel Howzell Hall during her visit to the Loft's inaugural Wordplay Festival, exploring issues of crime and passion in her 2019 novel They All Fall Down (Forge Books).

Rachel Howzell Hall is a noteworthy author from Los Angeles, The United States, who is famous for writing thriller, mystery, literature & fiction, and crime fiction novels. She has written 7 critically acclaimed novels in her career, which include the books of the Detective Elouise Norton novel series. The 3rd book of this series was the receiver of the coveted Kirkus Star. One more book from the same series was included in the list of the Los Angeles Times’ top books to read in the summer. The New York Times has praised the chief protagonist of the series, Elousie Norton, by describing her as a formidable fighter and a person that everyone would want to have by their side. In addition to writing this popular book series, author Hall has collaborated with James Patterson for writing the novel, The Good Sister. Hall is known to be a featured writer on the acclaimed series of the NPR. Author Hall has also served in AWP’s Writers’ Program in the role of a mentor. Currently, she is serving on the panel of the board of directors of the MWA.  Author Hall was born in Los Angeles, California. During her childhood days, she used to always keep a pen with her and used to write everywhere, especially the places she felt like writing on. Hall used to fill her notebooks, loose leaf papers, her brother’s yearbook, and in church bulletins. She never used to write on freeway overpasses, buildings, or walls as she used to consider it as graffiti. For a period of 4 years, author Hall has lived in Santa Cruz.

The episode also includes a brief conversation with founding director Steph Opitz, about the origins of the 1st Wordplay Festival.