BIPOC Book FestVIEW EVENT DETAILS
Presented in partnership with the BIPOC Book Fest
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Saturday, May 13, 2023
10 a.m. – 6 p.m. Program
The annual BIPOC Book Fest is a celebration centered on underrepresented voices through a showcase of literary works that feature Black, Indigenous, people of color, and other creatives of marginalized communities. Curated with diversity in mind, the festival combines the nostalgia of the book fairs we knew and loved as children with unique programming, panels, readings, vendors, book-related memorabilia, poetry performances, and more!
The 2023 edition of BIPOC Book Fest builds upon the success of last year's first-ever festival, offering a variety of wide-ranging panels covering art, poetry, and food, including:
In a keynote address, Houston poet laureate emeritus Deborah D.E.E.P. Mouton will discuss her debut memoir Black Chameleon; her play Plumshuga, which celebrates the life of Houston ballerina Lauren Anderson; and her work as a poet in the city.
Houston Chronicle restaurant columnist Bao Ong will moderate a panel celebrating Houston's diverse cuisines, featuring Anita Jaisinghani, chef-owner of Pondicheri and author of the cookbook Masala, and chef Kavachi Ukegbu, author of cookbook The Art of Fufu.
Houston artist Reginald Adams, known for his iconic murals outside of The Breakfast Klub, will speak on a panel about the city's burgeoning visual arts scene, alongside Matthew Ramirez, author of Found Me magazine, an art book highlighting the city's BIPOC creatives.
The festival concludes with a poetry showcase and an open mic featuring Houston Poet Laureate Outspoken Bean.
Inprint Writing Workout
- 10–11 a.m., Room A of Allen Education Center (Second Floor)
- Featuring Inprint Houston
Flex your writing skills at Inprint’s free workshop!
Writing Big Topics for Young Minds
- 10:15–11:15 a.m., Brown Foundation Performing Arts Theater (First Floor)
- Liara Tamani, Jasminne Mendez, Lauren Harris, and Sheila Ahmad in conversation with Camryn Wells
Houston author Camryn Wells moderates this inspiring panel featuring authors who pen books for children and teenagers that tackle a range of complex topics including immigration, healing, chronic illness, and grief. Featuring Liara Tamani, author of young adult novels Calling My Name and All The Things We Never Knew; Jasminne Mendez, author of Aniana Del Mar Jumps In; Lauren Harris, author of The Gifts We Leave Behind; and Sheila Ahmad, author of The Magic Table. A book signing will follow in the Grand Hall.
Reality Check: Media Literacy in the Age of AI
- 10:15–10:45 a.m., Room B of Allen Education Center (Second Floor)
- Featuring Laura Duclos
Was Pope Francis’ Balenciaga coat fake? Laura Duclos, multimedia journalist and editor at Poynter’s Mediawise offers a 30-minute workshop to help empower people of all ages to be more critical consumers of online content and information.
- 11–12:15 p.m., Room B of Allen Education Center (Second Floor)
- Featuring Tyrone Void and Carlos Gabriel Kelly González
Teens, it's your turn! Join longtime educator and author Tyrone Void and post-doc researcher, poet, and gamer Carlos Gabriel Kelly González for a discussion about cultural representation and its impact in entertainment — from film to video games to comic books and TikTok. Stay for a book giveaway by Books Beyond Bias!
Diverse Foodways: Culture and Cooking in Houston
- 11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m., Brown Foundation Performing Arts Theater (First Floor)
- Anita Jaisinghani and Kavachi Ukegbu in conversation with Bao Ong
Chef Anita Jaisinghani, author of Masala, and Chef Kavachi Ukegbu, author of The Art of Fufu, join Houston Chronicle restaurant columnist Bao Ong for an intimate conversation about diverse foodways, crafting recipes from a non-Western framework and the responsibility of cultural education in expanding palates. A book signing will follow in the Grand Hall.
For Ourselves in Between: Addie Tsai Reads From 'Unwieldy Creatures'
- 11:15 a.m. – 12:15 p.m., Room A of Allen Education Center (Second Floor)
- Addie Tsai in conversation with David Carter
Join Addie Tsai for a short reading from their latest release, Unwieldy Creatures – a queer, biracial Asian and non-binary retelling of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, followed by an in-conversation with David Carter, unpacking shared themes explored in Addie's writings, all in tribute to AAPI Heritage Month.
Imagination Station: How Moms and Dads Can Nurture Creativity in Kids
- 12:30–1:15 p.m., Room B of Allen Education Center (Second Floor)
- Featuring Tyrone Void and Alivia Hardges-Greene
Join author and educator Tyrone Void and library specialist and story time performer Alivia Hardges-Greene for a workshop on how parents can engage their children in reading and keep that imaginative spark alive in all facets of life and learning.
Crafting Home: Readings From Texas Writers
- 12:30–1:50 p.m., Room A of Allen Education Center (Second Floor)
- Featuring Reyes Ramirez, Mehnaaz Momen, Gemini Wahaj, Ikechi Ukazu, and Saborna Roychowdhury
Texas is the second most diverse state in the country, and writers from all over the world call this place home. During this intimate reading, hear from a range of authors who share their own personal stories of home: Reyes Ramirez, author of El Rey of Gold Teeth, Mehnaaz Momen, author of Living Dhaka, Leaving Dhaka and Listening to Laredo: A Border City in a Globalized Age, Gemini Wahaj, author of The Children of This Madness, Ikechi Ukazu, author of Chinwe and Obi, and Saborna Roychowdhury, author of Everything Here Belongs To You. A Q&A session will follow.
State of Literacy: How Book Bans and a Broken System Affect Our Kids
- 1:30–2:30 p.m., Brown Foundation Performing Arts Theater (First Floor)
- Dulcie Veluthukaran, LaTrisha Milton, and Lupe Mendez in conversation with Camilo Hannibal Smith
Houston ISD educator and former curriculum writer Dulcie Veluthukaran, Houston Public Library’s LaTrisha Milton, and educator, activist and 2022–23 Texas Poet Laureate Lupe Mendez discuss how censorship campaigns, anti-CRT policies, and underresourced schools impact our most vulnerable populations in one of the nation’s most diverse cities. Moderated by Houston-based independent journalist Camilo Hannibal Smith. A Q&A will follow.
Lit Lounge (Second Floor)
- 2:30–4:30 p.m., Room B of Allen Education Center (Second Floor)
Relax and enjoy book-themed cocktails in the Lit Lounge! Drinks courtesy of Pour Me Perfection. Must be 21 or older to enter.
Fantasy is for Us: BIPOC Representation in Fantasy and Sci-Fi
- 2:05–3:05 p.m., Room A of Allen Education Center (Second Floor)
BIPOC people are very often absent from fantasy and science fiction media (novels, comic books, video games or films). If we are present, we usually take on the roles of villains, the enslaved, or laborers to support the dominant white majority. In this panel, we discuss the importance of empowered BIPOC representation in fantasy and science fiction genres, as well as, how fantasy looks for those of us from the People of the Global Majority (PGM).
Cultural Capital: The Power of Latinx Art
- 2:40–3:40 p.m., Brown Foundation Performing Arts Theater (First Floor)
- Bryan Parras, Liana Lopez, and Lupe Mendez in conversation with Tony Diaz
Tony Diaz, author of The Tip of The Pyramid: Cultivating Community Cultural Capital, leads a panel that delves into the community cultural capital that Diaz chronicles in the book. The panel will consist of the co-founder of the Librotraficante Caravan, who defied Arizona officials’ ban of Mexican American Studies in 2012 and smuggled the books from the outlawed curriculum back into Arizona. They also started "Underground Libraries" throughout the Southwest. This is a profound look at the power of community and art and the role they play in democratic society. Panelists include Bryan Parras – Librotraficante High Tech Aztec, Liana Lopez – Librotraficante Lilo, and Texas Poet Laureate Lupe Mendez, a.k.a Librotraficante Lips Mendez.
Houston’s Vision of Visual Arts
- 3:15–4:15 p.m., Room A of Allen Education Center (Second Floor)
- Reginald Adams, Matthew Ramirez, and Daniel Anguilu in conversation with Matt Manalo
Houston’s public art scene is growing and becoming more diverse. Join artist Reginald Adams, known for his iconic murals outside of The Breakfast Klub and his Absolute Equality mural in Galveston, the birthplace of Juneteenth; Matthew Ramirez, author of Found Me, an art book highlighting the city's BIPOC creatives; and talented artist and muralist Daniel Anguilu, for an invigorating discussion all about Houston’s public art. Matt Manalo, founder of Filipinx Artists of Houston and Alief Art House, will moderate the discussion. A book signing will follow in the Grand Hall downstairs.
Keynote Conversation With Deborah Mouton
- 4–5 p.m., Brown Foundation Performing Arts Theater (First Floor)
- Deborah D.E.E.P. Mouton in conversation with Rozella Haydee White
Deborah D.E.E.P. Mouton’s debut memoir Black Chameleon is a praise song and an elegy for Black womanhood. She’ll discuss her new memoir, her play Plumshuga which chronicles the life of Houston ballerina Lauren Anderson, and her work as a poet. A book signing will follow in the Grand Hall.
“Transformative”: A Poet Showcase:
- 5:05–6 p.m., Brown Foundation Performing Arts Theater (First Floor)
- KB Brookins, The Fluent One, Ariana Lee, Avalon Hogans, and Meta-Four Houston. Hosted by Outspoken Bean
BIPOC Book Fest will close out with a dynamic poetry showcase hosted by Houston Poet Laureate Outspoken Bean, featuring works from a slew of talented poets, including the award-winning KB Brookins, a National Endowment of the Arts fellow and author of the forthcoming Freedom House. Also, hear performances from The Fluent One, Houston Youth Poet Laureate Ariana Lee, and the city’s Youth Poet Laureate Emeritus Avalon Hogans. An open mic extended to the audience will close out festivities.
Publishers, Partner Organizations, and Vendors
Arte Público Press | Brazos Bookstore | Books and Brown Sugar Co. | Cedric D. Fisher & Company Publishers | CLASS | Grackle & Grackle | Harris County Public Library | Houston Public Library | Inprint | Kindred Stories | Nuestra Palabra | Write About Now | Writers in the Schools
About the Speakers
Jump to: Reginald C. Adams | Sheila Ahmad | Daniel Anguilu | KB Brookins | David Carter | Tony Diaz | Lauren Harris | Avalon Hogans | Ariana Lee | Liana Lopez | Matt Manalo | Mehnaaz Momen | Deborah D.E.E.P. Mouton | Bryan Parras | Matthew Ramirez | Reyes Ramirez | Saborna Roychowdhury | Liara Tamani | Addie Tsai | Ikechi Ukazu | Gemini Wahhaj | Camryn Wells
Reginald C. Adams is a true visionary in the world of public art and community development. He's a master at creating public art projects that not only beautify neighborhoods, but also bring people together and give them a sense of pride in their community. For the past 30 years, Reginald has been dedicated to designing, coordinating, and producing public art projects in Houston and beyond. He's worked with over 50,000 youth volunteers, hundreds of artists, and thousands of community stakeholders to create pieces that truly reflect the culture, heritage, history, and social context of the communities they serve.
Sheila Ahmad is a proud mother, devoted wife, and Board-Certified MD, living in rural Appalachia since 1997. The Magic Table is her first foray into the world of writing. This simple heartwarming story is hers. It describes the hidden magical powers that lie within every family, that often gets lost in the hustle and bustle of life. The author describes her family as an amalgam — a Bangladeshi-Appalachian family with proudly intertwined mountain roots with their Bengali heritage. She has shown how her two cultures have perfectly balanced each other just like curry and cornbread, and enriched their lives.
Daniel Anguilu started painting graffiti at an early age. Mostly using freight trains and walls as his canvases, his art is increasingly visible around his hometown of Houston, Texas, and highly concentrated in the East End. Anguilu has been invited and traveled to many cities in the U.S., Mexico, Peru, Spain, and Italy to paint graffiti and to participate in graffiti art exhibits. He has also visited Asia, Africa, and Central America to enrich his knowledge of pre‐colonial art and the cultures in those regions. Anguilu’s style is deeply inspired by his Mexican heritage, and mostly manifests itself as large scale, aerosol murals. Currently, Anguilu is focusing on painting public spaces in the Houston area and working in collaboration with local business and homeowners. Through his many conversations with Houstonians over the years, Anguilu has noticed that many people, whether involved in art or not, support his efforts to bring his art to our public spaces.
KB Brookins is a Black, queer, and trans writer, cultural worker, and artist from Texas. Their chapbook How To Identify Yourself with a Wound (Kallisto Gaia Press, 2022) won the Saguaro Poetry Prize and was named an ALA Stonewall Honor Book in Literature. KB’s writing is published in Poets.org, HuffPost, American Poetry Review, and elsewhere. They have earned fellowships from PEN America and Lambda Literary among others. KB has two forthcoming books, Freedom House (Deep Vellum Publishing, 2023) and Pretty (Alfred A. Knopf, 2024). They are a 2023 National Endowment of the Arts fellow. Follow KB online at @earthtokb.
David Carter is the Assistant Branch Manager of the Houston Public Library Smith Neighborhood library. While working with HPL, David has run and been a part of several HPL Adult, Teen, and Youth programs, has been a panelist, a member of the LGBTQ+ community, hosted an LGBTQ+ book club through HPL, a moderator for HPL’s "Author Talks," and is the host of HPL’s "Comic Talks" series. David is a big fan of video games, comics/graphic novels, Science Fiction, cosplay, and a nice cup of tea. One of David’s biggest goals is to bring a smile to the world.
Writer and activist Tony Diaz, El Librotraficante, is a Cultural Accelerator. He was the first Chicano to earn a Master of Fine Arts degree from the University of Houston Creative Writing Program. In 1998, he founded Nuestra Palabra: Latino Writers Having Their Say (NP), Houston’s first reading series for Latino authors. The group galvanized Houston’s Community Cultural Capital to become a movement for civil rights, education, and representation. When Arizona officials banned Mexican American Studies, Diaz and four veteran members of NP organized the 2012 Librotraficante Caravan to smuggle books from the banned curriculum back into Arizona. He is the author of The Aztec Love God. His book, The Tip of the Pyramid: Cultivating Community Cultural Capital, is the first in his series on Community Organizing.
Lauren Harris is a wife, mother, daughter, educator and advocate. As a native Houstonian, her diverse experiences encompass supporting and leading a wide range of students and teachers. Lauren’s commitment to empowering and shaping lives propels her to continue impactful work, creating equitable opportunities for all.
Avalon Hogans is a poet, writer, and activist. She was named the sixth Houston Youth Poet Laureate (2021-2022) by Mayor Sylvester Turner. Hogans’s poetry has been published by the Houston Arts Journal, the Houston Defender, the Rothko Chapel, and more. In addition to writing, Hogans also practices activism. She has spoken at events organized by March for Our Lives, the NAACP, the League of Women’s Voters, and more. Hogans was awarded a proclamation for a day in her name by the City of Houston (November 17) in honor of her dedication to social advocacy and civil rights through art. Hogans is currently a student at Rice University studying English and African American Studies. She aspires to change the world through her writing.
Ariana Lee serves as the 7th Houston Youth Poet Laureate and is a member of Meta-Four Houston, the city's official youth slam poetry team. She has opened for US Poet Laureate Ada Limón and performed for the NCAA Men’s Final Four Legacy Project presented by Degree. Her work has been recognized by the National YoungArts Foundation and may be found in The Offing, Defunkt Magazine, and elsewhere.
Liana Lopez is multimedia communications professional, artist, and co-founder of the Librotraficante Movement. She’s an independent media-maker, journalist and community organizer whose media career is grounded in educational, environmental, and social justice work in communities throughout the Gulf South, Amazon Rainforest, the North and Central Americas and Europe.
Matt Manalo is a multidisciplinary artist who was born in Manila, Philippines and resides in Houston. His environmentally conscious work incorporates raw materials and found objects and tackles ideas surrounding his own immigrant identity, displacement, and how “home” is defined. Manalo is influenced by the physical and social structures that exist in both the Philippines and the United States as well as the erasure of histories and presence of colorism that have resulted from colonization. Manalo is the founder of Filipinx Artists of Houston, a collective of visual, performing, literary, culinary, and multidisciplinary artists. He also runs an alternative art space: Alief Art House, a hub for creativity that highlights the cultural richness of the multiple communities within a unique Houston neighborhood.
Mehnaaz Momen grew up in Bangladesh during the heyday of chaos and change in the aftermath of liberation. She treasures the secular, tolerant, and vibrant environment that nurtured her. Her memoir is an attempt to exalt those days and preserve the narration for the generations which are distant from the way of life that once defined Dhaka. Dr. Momen teaches in the Department of Social Sciences at Texas A&M International University (TAMIU) and is the author of Listening to Laredo: A Border City in a Globalized Age (University of Arizona Press, 2023), Political Satire, Postmodern Reality, and the Trump Presidency: Who Are We Laughing At? (Lexington, 2019), and The Paradox of Citizenship in American Politics: Ideals and Reality (Palgrave, 2017).
Deborah D.E.E.P Mouton is an internationally-known writer, director, performer, critic and the first Black Poet Laureate of Houston, Texas. She is the author of the 2019 poetry collection Newsworthy with Bloomsday Literary. As a playwright and a librettist, she has penned multiple stage works including Marian's Song with Houston Grand Opera (HGO) and The Forest of Secrets, which premiered at National Sawdust, and an upcoming work, She Who Dared, with American Lyric Theater. She served as writer/director for Plumshuga: The Rise of Lauren Anderson, a choreopoem premiered at Stages Theater. Her recent memoir, Black Chameleon with Henry Holt & Co. (2023), examines womanhood through mythology. Currently, she is a Resident Artist with the American Lyric Theater, Rice University, and the Houston Museum of African American Culture.
Bryan Parras is a longtime environmental justice organizer based in Houston, Texas. He is an independent media-maker, producer, and co-founder of the Librotraficante Movement. Parras has been organizing with Nuestra Palabra for 20 years and helped develop the Librotraficante Caravan to raise awareness of Arizona’s ban on Mexican American Studies.
Matthew Ramirez is a writer and journalist living in Houston. Alongside Anthony Obi, he is the co-founder and co-editor of Found Me, an art book that centers BIPOC creatives in the Houston area. His writing has appeared in NPR, Pitchfork, Spin, and PaperCity.
Reyes Ramirez (he/him) is a Houstonian, writer, educator, curator, and organizer of Mexican and Salvadoran descent. He authored the short story collection The Book of Wanderers (2022) from University of Arizona Press’ Camino del Sol series and the poetry collection El Rey of Gold Teeth (2023) from Hub City Press. His latest curatorial project, The Houston Artist Speaks Through Grids, explores the use of grids in contemporary Houston art, literature, history, and politics.
Saborna Roychowdhury's second novel, Everything Here Belongs to You, was released in June by Texas based publisher Black Rose Writing and received a starred review from Indie Reader. Kirkus Reviews called her book “a heart-wrenching family drama, as powerful as it is delicate.” Saborna's debut novel The Distance was published in Unites States by Istoria Books and received a starred review from Publishers Weekly. Saborna was born and raised in Kolkata, India, and moved to the U.S. for undergraduate work in chemistry. She lives in Houston, Texas, with her husband and twin daughters.
Liara Tamani lives in Houston, Texas. She is the author of the acclaimed young adult novels Calling My Name, All the Things We Never Knew, and What She Missed. Her words have appeared in Time magazine, NPR, and The New York Times, and her work has been featured by Good Morning America, Buzzfeed, Essence Magazine, Teen Vogue, and more. Before becoming a writer, she attended Harvard Law School and worked as a marketing coordinator for the Houston Rockets & Comets, production assistant for Girlfriends (TV show), home accessories designer, floral designer, and yoga and dance teacher. She holds an MFA in writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts and a BA from Duke University. www.liaratamani.com
Addie Tsai (any/all) is an Asian American, Houston-raised, queer non-binary artist and writer who teaches Creative Writing at William & Mary. Addie is the author of the queer Asian young adult novel, Dear Twin (Metonymy Press), and the adult queer, non-binary, biracial Asian, Frankenstein retelling, Unwieldy Creatures (Jaded Ibis Press). Unwieldy Creatures has received rave reviews from outlets like BookRiot, Electric Lit, The Advocate, Buzzfeed News, Ms. Magazine, and a stunning blurb from MacArthur Genius Prize winner and Mississippi writer, Kiese Laymon. Addie is the Fiction co-Editor and Editor of Features & Reviews at Anomaly, contributing writer at Spectrum South, and Founding Editor in Chief at the LGBTQIA+ fashion literary and arts magazine, just femme & dandy.
Ikechi Ukazu is a personal finance educator, financial professional, and creative writer. Before graduating from the University of Houston in 2016 with a specialization in Finance, Ikechi served four years in the Marine Corps. Ikechi now serves his community by providing wisdom and insight on financial education, mental health, and wellness through his website ikechiukazu.com. Chinwe and Obi is Ikechi’s first book ever and he hopes to write more enchanting books about relationships and lifestyles.
Gemini Wahhaj is the author of the novel The Children of this Madness (7.13 Books, Fall 2023) and the short-story collection Katy Family (Jackleg Press, Spring 2025). She has a Ph.D. in creative writing from the University of Houston, where she received the James A. Michener award for fiction (judged by Claudia Rankine) and the Cambor/Inprint fellowship. She is Associate Professor of English at Lone Star College in Houston.
Camryn Wells is a native Houstonian, creator and author of The Color, Feel, Play Children's Book Series - a collection of poetically colorful books that gently guide children and adults through the ever changing range of emotions that we feel each day. Her books include What Color is Your Day?, The Memory of Play, and, most recently published, I'll See You in the Moon. Camryn is a lifelong literary artist. Her love for writing and performance poetry started at a young age, enthusiastically sharing her first spoken word poem at the age of 12 in front of 600 peers. Today, Camryn continues to share her passion across the nation with children ages 0-99.
About BIPOC Book Fest
BIPOC Book Fest was co-founded by Jaundréa Clay, Brittany Britto Garley, and Brooke Lewis. Brittany Britto Garley is an award-winning journalist and editor of Eater Houston, where she loves digging into culture, food and community. Jaundréa Clay is a senior copy editor and newsletter editor of HouWeAre at the Houston Chronicle, which examines the intersection of identity, race, and culture in one of the nation’s most diverse cities. Brooke Lewis is an award-winning journalist, aspiring author, and newsletter editor of Hey Houston.
Performing Arts and Culture programs at Asia Society Texas are presented by Syamal and Susmita Poddar. Major support comes from Nancy C. Allen, Chinhui Juhn and Eddie Allen, the City of Houston through Houston Arts Alliance, Houston Endowment, and The Brown Foundation Inc. Generous funding also provided by AARP, The Anchorage Foundation of Texas, The Clayton Fund, The Cullen Trust for the Performing Arts, and the Wortham Foundation. Additional support provided by the Texas Commission on the Arts, National Endowment for the Arts, and through contributions from the Friends of Asia Society, a dedicated group of individuals and organizations committed to bringing exceptional programming and exhibitions to Asia Society Texas.
Performing Arts and Culture Presenting Sponsors
Syamal and Susmita Poddar
Performing Arts and Culture Program Sponsors
BIPOC Book Fest
About APAH Month at Asia Society Texas
Beginning in 2021, Asia Society Texas has celebrated Asian Pacific American Heritage Month with the Houston community and beyond through a curated calendar for 31 ways to celebrate over the 31 days of May. Spotlighting the traditions, talents, and contributions of Asians and Asian Americans, the calendar highlights the month's key Asia Society programming, providing a platform to showcase local artists, performers, educators, and leaders who contribute to the vibrant, multicultural tapestry of Houston while also featuring staff recommendations for our favorite music, books, movies, and more by Asian and Asian American creatives.
At Asia Society Texas, APAH Month is an opportunity to celebrate and honor Asians and Asian Americans and to uplift their stories to a broader audience as part of our goal to inspire our larger community to better understand one another through culture, conversation, and connection. For information about sponsoring APAH Month and other projects like this one, please contact Saleena Jafry at SJafry@asiasociety.org or 713.496.9939.
Sponsors of APAH Month at Asia Society Texas
Asian American Bar Association of Houston
The Heimbinder Family Foundation
Past APAH Month Calendars
About Asia Society Texas
Asia Society Texas believes in the strength and beauty of diverse perspectives and people. As an educational institution, we advance cultural exchange by celebrating the vibrant diversity of Asia, inspiring empathy, and fostering a better understanding of our interconnected world. Spanning the fields of arts, business, culture, education, and policy, our programming is rooted in the educational and cultural development of our community — trusting in the power of art, dialogue, and ideas to combat bias and build a more inclusive society.
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