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A CONVERSATION WITH RADIAH HUBBERT

BY JULIA PRESS SIMMONS

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We have a deep appreciation for the contributions you've made to the book industry over the years; however, some are unfamiliar with your role. Could you please tell us a little about yourself and Urban Reviews? 

Thank you so much. Urban Reviews was co-founded by myself and my late husband Charles back in 2005. At the time, I was reading 8 to 10 books monthly and would periodically post reviews on Amazon. But I wanted to do more. So, with the urging of Charles, Urban Reviews was formed. I screen and approve book review submissions, write reviews, edit & post all reviews, and maintain the website, Twitter, and IG pages. I'm also an admin for my Urban Review Facebook Group.

Urban Reviews Online is full of detailed and thoughtful book reviews. How impactful are book reviews on the overall success of a book, and do you read the reviews of books before you make a purchase?

To me, book reviews are the best free promotion for a book. It gives the reader enough information on whether they want to purchase the book or not. Book reviews are very impactful because if a person sees a lot of positive reviews, they will be more likely to buy it. It's the same as you looking up reviews of another product before you buy it.

What was your inspiration behind the Annual Great Midwest Book Fest, and how has it evolved over the years?

The Annual Great Midwest Book Fest was started because although authors were doing book tours, those tours would not stop in the Milwaukee area or a lot of Midwest cities. Some would just stop in Chicago which is about two hours away from Milwaukee and that's it. I felt that there were a lot of readers that were yearning for an annual book event where they could meet a variety of African-American authors and they didn't have to travel a long distance to meet them. For the first few years, the Great Midwest Book Fest was free to the public. But because of rising costs associated with putting on the event, there is a $5 fee for the public. I still wanted to keep it affordable for the attendees.

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WATCH THE 2020 VIRTUAL EVENT HERE

Can you tell us about one of your favorite memories? 

I have so many favorite memories. But the one that stands out is when I got confirmation that Eric Jerome Dickey was going to be the headliner for the Great Midwest Book Fest back in 2013. I got that confirmation a few days after my late husband Charles passed away. It gave me confirmation that I was supposed to continue with the book fest.


 We think the November to Remember Book Bash is an outstanding way to connect readers and writers during this pandemic. Do you see virtual events becoming a permanent staple of Urban Reviews?

The November to Remember Book Bash was very successful. I think that virtual events could be a permanent staple of Urban Reviews in the future. I've seen people do live virtual interviews on FB and IG so I'm exploring those options as well. Of course, I do want to return to doing in-person events but it depends on what happens with this pandemic. Safety first.