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NOVEMBER 1

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Ntozake Shange—a playwright, novelist, performance poet, and musician—is the quintessential ’90s renaissance woman. Although the Obie Award-winning for colored girls who have considered suicide/when the rainbow is enuf remains Shange’s best-known work, she’s found her way into the spotlight this year with a children’s book, i live in music, which is illustrated with the jazz-influenced collages of the late Romare Bearden, and the novel Liliane: The Resurrection of the Daughter. The latter, a sensual, complex blend of prose and poetry, is at heart a shrewd contemplation of race. Liliane, a visual artist, has spent her life assimilating into various cultures by learning their languages and customs; through dialogues between Liliane and her shrink, as well as first-person accounts from Liliane’s lover and childhood friends, readers learn that the character’s uneasiness stems from a black heritage and an immersion in white society. Shange reads at 6 p.m. at Vertigo Books, 1337 Connecticut Ave. NW. FREE. (202) 429-9272. (Nathalie op de Beeck)