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Poetry/Writing — Symposium — 13th Annual National Black Writers Conference -3/31 – 4/3/16 #MedgarEversCollege – Bklyn.

Conference Theme: “Writing Race, Embracing Difference” in the Literature of Black Writers

Conference Panels:

  • Afrofuturism: Reimagining the Past, Present, and Future
  • Decoded: Hip-Hop and Youth Culture
  • The Politics of Race and Psychology in the Literature of Black Writers
  • The Impact of War, Disaster, and Global Crises in the Literature of Black Writers
  • Creating Dangerously: Courage and Resistance in the Literature of Black Writers



THURSDAY, MARCH 31, 2016 – DAY 1
Location: Edison O. Jackson Auditorium
See Call for Papers Guidelines
11 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.
12:30 p.m. – 1:45 p.m.
2 p.m. – 3 p.m.


Location: Founders Auditorium
9:30 a.m. – 3 p.m.

Elementary School Program
Coordinated by Wade and Cheryl Hudson of Just Us Books

High School Program
Coordinated by Demel Collier and MK Lewis

Elders writing Workshop / “Tales of Our Times” Reading

Location: Edison O. Jackson Auditorium
3:15 p.m. – 5 p.m.

2016 NBWC Reading Series
Location: Edison O. Jackson Auditorium
5 p.m. – 7 p.m.

2016 NBWC Poetry Cafe
7:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.
Location: Central Brooklyn Public Library, Dweck Center
(lower level)
10 Grand Army Plaza
Brooklyn, NY 11238

Friday, April 1, 2016 – Day 2
2016 NBWC film program Presented by African Voices/reel sisters
11 a.m.–5 p.m.

  1. “The Long Night” by Woodie King Jr. (1976, 90 minutes; 11 -12:30 p.m.; panel, 12:30–1:15 p.m.);
  2. “August Wilson: The Ground on Which I Stand” by Sam Pollard (2015; 1:30 p.m.– 3 p.m.; panel, 3-3:45 p.m.)
  3. Film Shorts (4 p.m.– 5 p.m.)

Break: 5 p.m.–6 p.m.

Opening Program: Poets reflect on the state of poetry

6 p.m.: Welcome:
6:30–7 p.m.: Keynote speech by Rita Dove, Honorary Chair
7 p.m. –8 p.m.: Poets reflect on the state of poetry in today’s society

Saturday, April 2, 2016 – Day 3

Conference Panels, Roundtables, Readings by contemporary writers
 1. “Afrofuturism: Reimagining the Past, Present and Future”

10 a.m.–11:30 a.m.

The genre Afrofuturism emerged in the last two decades and is related to the term coined in 1992 by cultural critic Mark Dery. In his essay “Black to the Future,” Dery describes it as an African diasporic cultural and literary movement whose thinkers and artists see science, technology, and science fiction as a means of exploring the Black experience.” Author Walter Mosley, who also wrote an essay on “Black to the Future,” notes that this genre speaks clearly to the dissatisfied through its power to imagine the first step in changing the world. Panelists will discuss how these genres are represented in the literature produced by Black writers.

2. “Decoded: Hip-Hop and Youth Culture”
11:45 a.m.–1:15 p.m.

Elements of poetry and creative wordplay figure prominently in the language of hip-hop and in the various ways today’s youth express themselves.  In what ways is hip-hop culture connected to literature and the works of pioneering Black writers? In what ways can hip-hop raise awareness of the African-American literary canon? What are some of the components that would comprise a hip-hop literary movement? These are just a few of the questions that the panelists will address during this conversation.

Lunch and Readings 1:15 p.m.–2 p.m.

3. “Creating Dangerously: Courage and Resistance in the Literature of Black Writers”
2 p.m.–3:30 p.m.

In Edwidge Danticat’s acclaimed book Create Dangerously: The Immigrant Artist at Work, the author explores the passions and the tribulations that writers and artists face in their roles as chroniclers of cultural and political events and as the voices of opposition that strive to be heard under oppressive circumstances. In this discussion, the panelists will talk about the ways literature sheds light on the risks writers take when working under challenging cultural and political situations. They will also discuss the manner in which individual and collective truths are presented in those works for readers to interpret.

4. “The Politics of Race and Gender in the Literature of Black Writers”
3:45 p.m.–5 p.m.

In the age of President Obama, one prevailing question that comes to mind is this: Is the country more racially divided or less racially divided than it was 15 or 20 years ago? Have women honestly made significant strides in traditionally male-dominated fields? Narratives written and published today that focus on racial and gender challenges are emerging heavily in the fiction and creative nonfiction works by Black writers. How do the works of these writers impact the conversations about race in America? In this panel, the writers will discuss some of the key components in literary as well as academic writings that address issues of race and gender and examine whether the works impact the way people view race and gender.

6:45 p.m.–8 p.m. awards program
8 p.m.–9:30 p.m. Jazz Program & Benefit Reception

Sunday, April 3, 2016 – Day 4
 Panels and Talkshops – an additional fee of $25 per session separate from conference entry.

SPECIAL! Register for two (2) Talkshops and receive %15 off ticketed price!
Enter Promo Code: like2talkshop


Session I – 10 a.m.–11:30 a.m.:
A. Creative Nonfiction
B. Book Proposals
C. Poetry

Session II – Noon–1:30 p.m.:
D. Fiction
E. Online Publishing
F. Memoir

One-on-One Conversations with Industry Professionals – by appointment only.
Each session will be 30 min. and be an additional fee from conference entry.

5. “Creative Writing Programs and Writers of Color: Current and Future Trends”
Noon–1:15 p.m.

This roundtable on creative writing programs and workshops is an outgrowth of the essays, conversations, and concerns of writers of color in MFA programs and writing workshops.  Very few writing workshops focus on writers of color and both Junot Diaz and Honoree Fannone Jeffers have recently written essays on the lack of diversity in these programs and workshops. Students and workshops participants in creative writing programs make up a part of our audience.  With respect to MFA programs, we hope that participants on this roundtable would address topics such as:

(a) Should we view literature as color blind and not constructed by race and ethnicity?
(b) Are there cultural blind spots with respect to discussions of race and ethnicity?
(c) Does racial identity have an impact on writing?
(d) Is there an adequate presence of rhetorical, prose and poetic models represented by people of color?
(e) Is there a privileging of white faculty and workshop leaders?
(f) Do MFA Programs and writing workshops offer safe spaces for writers of color?
(g) Are writers of color marginalized in these programs and workshops?
(h) How can we address these concerns in MFA Programs and writing workshops?


6.  “The Impact of War, Disaster, and Exile in the Literature of Black Writers”
1:30 p.m.–2:45 p.m.

The panel discussion on war, disaster, and exile is in response to the growing body of prose, memoirs, and essays related to how we respond to natural and man-made disasters and tragedies in our lives.  Literature has always been a means to address this and to offer strategies for coping.  Literature helps readers to get into the interior lives of characters and paints very vivid portraits of the realities faced by those who confront disaster, war, and exile.


7. “Shaping Memories: The Odyssey to Adulthood”
3 p.m.–4:15 p.m.

This panel will address the various themes and moral values captured in coming-of-age stories. Although the theme is coming of age, many of the novels and memoirs in the genre attract a cross-generation of readers.


 8. “Black Writers in the Digital Age”
4:30 p.m.–6 p.m.

African-American writers have faced many hurdles in getting their works published. While the Digital Age, or New Media Age, has presented new outlets to submit works, what rewards and risks do the Digital Age offer Black writers? Has the Digital Age broadened the readership of works by Black writers? What are some challenges Black writers face in the new information age? Panelists will explore and examine these questions.


Major Funding Provided by the National Endowment for the Arts, Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation, Con Edison


NBWC 2016

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