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Thu, Mar 28



The Clifton House Presents: Aaliyah Bilal and Safiya Sinclair in Conversation

Join us for what is set to be a remarkable dialogue with authors Safiya Sinclair and Aaliyah Bilal

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The Clifton House Presents: Aaliyah Bilal and Safiya Sinclair in Conversation
The Clifton House Presents: Aaliyah Bilal and Safiya Sinclair in Conversation

Time & Location

Mar 28, 2024, 6:00 PM – 7:30 PM EDT

Baltimore, 2605 Talbot Rd, Baltimore, MD 21216, USA

About the Event

How to Say Babylon and Temple Folk authors Safiya Sinclair + Aaliyah Bilal offer intimate portraits of life in and around Rastafari and Nation of Islam communities. Through vivid storytelling, these works jolt us into contending with the intricate and nuanced worlds of relational being.

In a conversation moderated by The Clifton House’s Director of Programs Joël Díaz, Sinclair and Bilal will consider how religion, spiritual practices, and the conversations surrounding them, shape and complicate the lives of Black practitioners and devotees that populate their work. Who informs what is and isn’t permissible? What whispers, hush tones, and shouts travel the distances between kin and the strangers among them to impede or make possible one’s living?

In what is set to be a remarkable dialogue, Sinclair and Bilal come together to discuss the emancipatory aspects of their literary works.

Please note: This event is free to the public, but registration is required to attend. Tickets are available on a first-come, first-serve basis.

If you would like to request accommodations, please email


Acclaimed author and poet Safiya Sinclair’s memoir "How to Say Babylon" (Simon & Schuster, 2023) debuted to wide acclaim, deemed “scorching” (New York Times Book Review) and hailed as a “tour de force” (Publisher’s Weekly). Her debut poetry collection "Cannibal" earned numerous awards, including the Whiting Writers’ Award, the OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Poetry, and the Prairie Schooner Book Prize in Poetry. Sinclair's accolades also include a Pushcart Prize, fellowships from prestigious institutions, and publication in esteemed literary journals. Raised in Montego Bay, Jamaica, Sinclair completed her MFA at the University of Virginia and her PhD at the University of Southern California; she now serves as an Associate Professor of Creative Writing at Arizona State University.

Aaliyah Bilal is a fiction and non-fiction writer known for her exploration of the Black American Muslim experience and the connections between Chinese and Afro-Diasporic communities. Her debut short story collection "Temple Folk" was recognized as a 2023 National Book Award finalist and acquired by Simon & Schuster. In addition to directing and producing short films, Bilal’s written works have been featured in The Michigan Quarterly Review, The Chicago Quarterly Review, and The Rumpus. Raised in Prince George’s County, Maryland, Bilal holds degrees from Oberlin College and the University of London School of Oriental and African Studies.

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