“Definitions belong to the definers, not the defined,” the late Toni Morrison wrote in Beloved, her 1987 novel about a mother who escapes slavery. The line holds special meaning to Shonda Buchanan, the local writer (Black Indian: A Memoir) and L.A. Weekly contributor who is hosting A Celebration of Toni Morrison.

“Morrison taught us that we get to define who we are and what our role in this world will be and become: We get to define and reimagine ourselves as whole, human and woman,” Buchanan writes. The group reading “is a chance for Los Angeles’ black women authors, readers and fans to pause in our lives and give homage to someone who changed the lexicon of what it meant to be a black woman in America.” Featured readers include Rhonda Mitchell, Bridgette Bianca, Asha Grant, Sanura Williams, S. Pearl Sharp and Melanie Luja.

Beyond Baroque Literary Arts Center, 681 Venice Blvd., Venice; Sun., Feb. 23, 5 p.m.; $10. (310) 822-3006, beyondbaroque.org.

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