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Interviews, Reviews, & Videos

Interview by Litnet

Three women providing a catalyst for African literature: An interview by LITNET with SarahBelle Selig, Ashawnta Jackson and JL Powers about Catalyst Press.

PAN DULCE is comprised of authors taking an in-depth look at each other’s work, talking about the process of putting their books together, and discussing writing life in general. Each episode will be hosted by a member of the Cinco Puntos team and pairs one of our authors with an author of a similar work from another independent publisher.

Lone Star Listens: J.L. Powers and the one hat she'll never quit wearing

Lone Star Literary Life: Ms. Powers, you wear many hats: author, editor, publisher, teacher, and now Director of Editorial and Foreign Rights for El Paso’s Cinco Puntos Press—and I’ve probably missed a couple. Do you enjoy, or feel drawn to, any one hat over the others, and why?


On Sunday 6 December 2020 an international panel of authors and publishers took part in a discussion on the joys of #ReadingAfrica​. The panellists are: Justin Cox, book marketer and CEO of African Books Collective; Siphiwe Gloria Ndlovu, author of The Theory of Flight and The History of Man, writer, filmmaker and an academic who holds a PhD in Literature from Stanford University, as well as master’s degrees in African Studies and Film; Rešoketšwe Manenzhe is a writer, engineer and academic who has recently won the 2020 Dinaane Debut Fiction prize for her manuscript Scatterlings; Jessica Powers is an award-winning author and founder of Catalyst Press; Ahmed Ismail Yusuf fled Somalia due to civil war as child, today he is an author of The Lion’s Binding Oath, playwright and an academic in the USA; Izak de Vries, the moderator, is an author and journalist associated with LitNet, an online journal.


”People don't read crime if they don't have hope.“ Micheal Sears hosted a diverse panel of crime writers to discuss African crime- and thriller-book publishing. The panellists were: Sifiso Mzobe, author of Young Blood and Searching for Simphiwe, who hails from Umlazi in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa; Mike Nicol, crime novelist, journalist, and writing teacher from Cape Town, South Africa has a number of books to his name, the latest being Agents of the State, Power Play, Of Cops & Robbers, Black Heart, Killer Country and Payback; Ameera Patel, an actor, playwright, and poet whose novel Outside the Lines is set in Johannesburg; Jessica Powers, who has lived in and written several novels about KwaZulu-Natal and the US-Mexican border; Bettina Wyngaard, author of Vuilspel, Jagter and Slaafs, who lives in Grabouw, South Africa; Michael Sears, the moderator, is co-author of the Detective Kubu series, and a crime book columnist. He lives in Kynsna.


”Books literally saved me. They catapulted me out of the fear I was experiencing as a person and into the realm of these other worlds, where I could be safe. I think that legacy, of books as a safe place, has always stayed with me.“

As part of our ‘Conversation with...’ series, Catalyst founder/publisher Jessica Powers chats with Caroline Kurtz, author of A Road Called Down on Both Sides: Growing up in Ethiopia and America, and founder of the Maji Development Coalition. Learn more and order A Road Called Down on Both Sides at, and Maji Development Coalition at

As part of our ‘Conversation with...’ series, Catalyst founder/publisher Jessica Powers chats with Bunmi Emenanjo, founder of Atlas Book Club. Learn more about Catalyst Press at and more about Atlas Book Club at

So many book events and readings have been canceled due to the coronavirus epidemic of 2020 that we decided to put some videos of Catalyst Press authors reading online, which you can enjoy while practicing “social distance.” In this video, Catalyst Press founder and publisher Jessica Powers reads from her young adult novel Under Water.

J.L. Powers visited the Cinco Puntos Press booth at the 2011 Mid-Winter American Library Association Conference in San Diego. Cinto Puntos Press spoke with Jessica about her coming-of-age novel, This Thing Called the Future, about 14-year-old Khosi growing up in post-apartheid South Africa during the time of HIV. 

Author J.L. Powers answers some questions on writing her book, Amina, the second in a fictional series about children living in contemporary conflict zones.

Video: Fronteras

Fronteras: A Changing America - Anthony Moreno talks to author J. L. Powers and George Mendoza, a blind artist and champion runner.

A vlog entry JL and MA Powers made for MomReadIt about their book, Broken Circle. Listen to them talk favorite characters, writing, spelling, and more.

Ben & Daniel talk with J.L. (Jessica) Powers, author of the novel This Thing Called the Future.  Jessica talks about what led her from UTEP's MFA program to become an Africanist. Her interest in Africa led her to extensively study Zulu and live with a host family in South Africa, which is where This Thing Called the Future is set.  Jessica talks about the stigma often associated with being a white writer talking about the black experience.

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