Episodes | Synopsis


phatLiterature began its third season in 2006 with phatLiterature: In Conversation, which features extended one-on-one interviews conducted Gabrielle David and Tony Medina. Whether it’s a poet, playwright or novelist, these creative minds behind the written word provide an informal, free-flowing conversation, discussing a wide range of issues and subjects.

Every writer has a primary motivation and a guiding sense of purpose. Asked why they write, they often cite a wide range of reasons, but one thing is certain; their writing unfolds and stretches into every aspect of their world. It helps give shape to their daily experiences and makes sense of things that are happening in their lives. The guests, while talkative but modest, speak fearlessly, openly and honestly about the things that matter to them most: their craft and the crucial events of their lives and careers. They are informative and fun to watch.

The interviews originate from remote locations: either at a writer’s home or workspace, and they are recorded for a later broadcast date. With the intimacy and openness achieved in a one-on-one interview, phatLiterature: In Conversation provides viewers an inside look into the making of contemporary literature. Programs will be available for distribution in March 2008.

Writers featured in Episodes 1-6: Jesús Papoleto Meléndez, Askia Touré, Tony Van Der Meer, Ammiel Alcalay, Brenda Walcott, Victor Hernández Cruz and Tonya Foster, with more to come!


When Gabrielle David and Nathalie Handal returned as hosts of phatLiterature in 2004 at the Langston Hughes Community Library & Cultural Center, phatLiterature became an independently produced program and was pared-down into a half-hour series consisting of ten episodes. phatLiterature was co-sponsored by the Langston Hughes Library, with grants and funds received from the New York State Council on the Arts, New York State Education Department, New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, Queens Borough Public Library, Queens Borough President’s Office, and the Library Action Committee of Corona-East Elmhurst, Inc., private donations and contributions. phatLiterature received additional funding from Queens Council on the Arts with public funding from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs; Astoria Federal Savings and Flushing Savings Bank. phatLiterature’s website received support from Queens Council on the Arts’ JPMorgan Chase Arts and Culture Regrants Program.

Instead of relegating phatLiterature to one station, the IAAS envisioned airing the series on public access networks and college stations throughout the United States, and is currently reaching more than half-a-million viewers at 50 plus stations. And while phatLiterature continues to feature interviews of writers and poets, in order to support and promote local visual artists, phatLiterature opened its stage to act as a gallery for both new and accomplished visual artist during its episodes, including the production of a 60-second spot entitled VISUAL SIGNATURES on each visual artist that is broadcast on each episode.

Writers featured in Episodes 1-10: Tony Medina, Sydnee Stewart, Nelly Rosario, Idra Novey, John Watusi Branch, Mikhail Iossel, Bridgit Evans, Rana Kazkaz, Bob Holman, Abiodun Oyewole, Kristin Prevallet, Shirley Bradley LeFlore, Maryemma Graham, Meena Alexander, Ram Prasad Devenini


In 2002, the Intercultural Alliance of Artists & Scholars, Inc. (IAAS) developed three 1-hour pilot programs which were cosponsored by the Langston Hughes Community Library & Cultural Center/Queens Borough Public Library System and supported with an in-kind grant from Queens Public Television (QPTV), a public access network. Hosted by poet, writer and publisher, Gabrielle David, and award-winning poet, playwright and writer, Nathalie Handal, all three pilots were taped before a live studio audience at the Langston Hughes Community Library in September 2002 and aired on QPTV in January 2003. The studio audience, which was comprised of longstanding supporters of the IAAS and the Langston Hughes Library, members of the Queens community as well as folks from the outer boroughs, Long Island and New Jersey, were joined by students from Boricua College (Manhattan campus), who attended as part of their class assignment.

Each episode opens with a lively exchange between hosts David and Handal, with news and views from a progressive perspective. The hosts conduct insightful interviews with writers and discuss activities from the literary community, with performance by most guests, followed by a “Q&A” segment between audience members and guests. At the end of each taping, writers and visual artists are available for book/print sales and signings to the studio audience.

phatLiterature’s 2002 Season was reissued as a half-hour episode, and along with the 2004 Season, distributed to 50 plus public access and college stations across the country.

Writers featured in Episodes 1-3: Shirley Bradley LeFlore, Andrew P. Jackson, David Henderson, Barbara Goldberg, Ronny Someck, D.H. Melhem, José Angel Figueroa, Louis Reyes Rivera, Stephanie Agosto, Pedro Pietri

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