BY KEILANI BEST
In its 18th year, the Zora Neale Hurston Festival in Eatonville still is a popular, national event. Thousands of people descend on the mile-long township to celebrate the famous author, who grew up there.
This year, the eight-day event features the standard street festival from Friday through Jan. 28, concerts and receptions, but differs when it comes to its theme, “Food, Fashion and Decor: Celebrating the African Diaspora in Everyday Life.”
The food is represented by a Haitian writer who considers Hurston her inspiration and who also was a National Book Award finalist. The free event Wednesday will include a sampling of Haitian cuisine and a speech by Edwidge Danticat, whose works include “Breath, Eyes, Memory,” an empowering novel about four Haitian women who overcome poverty and powerlessness.
“We want to embrace our audience in the Haitian experience (at this event),” says N.Y. Nathiri, chairwoman of the Zora Neale Hurston Festival.