14th National Black Writers Conference
Gathering at the Waters:
Healing, Legacy, and Activism in Black Literature
Note: Program participants and schedule are subject to change.
2018 National Black Writers Conference Schedule
Planned Programming (as of February 2018)
Day 1: Thursday, March 22, Community Day
This day of events is free and open to the public. Call for Papers Presentations; Youth Day Literacy; Elders Writing Workshop; and Poetry Café (this event is off-site). RSVP for selected events.
- Youth Day Literacy Program, 9:30 AM–12:30 PM
Coordinated by Wade Hudson and Cheryl Willis Hudson, authors and founders of Just Us Books Inc. Presentations by Cheryl Willis Hudson, author, My Friend Maya Loves to Dance and Songs I Love to Sing; Zetta Elliott, author, Benny Doesn’t Like to Be Hugged and Milo’s Museum, Calvin Alexander Ramsey, author, Ruth and the Green Book and Belle, The Last Mule at Gee’s Bend; and Jerry Craft, author/illustrator, Mama’s Boyz; The Offenders: Saving the World While Serving Detention!
Welcome: 9:30 AM – 9:45 AM
Both Groups Convene Together: Wade Hudson & Cheryl Willis Hudson, authors and
founders of Just Us Books Inc.
First and Second Graders convene in Edison O. Jackson Auditorium
9:50 AM – 10:20 AM Presentation, Cheryl Willis Hudson, author, My Friend Maya Loves to Dance and Songs I Love to Sing
10:25 AM – 11:05 Presentation, Wade Hudson, author, Jamal’s Busy Day
Third, Fourth, and Fifth Graders remain in Founders Auditorium
9:50 AM – 10:20 AM Presentation, Calvin Alexander Ramsey, author, Ruth and the Green Book and Belle, the Last Mule at Gee’s Bend
10:25 AM – 11:00 AM Presentation, Zetta Elliot, Dragons in a Bag & The Phantom Unicorn
First and Second Graders Rejoin Third, Fourth and Fifth Graders
11:15 AM – 12:00 Presentation, Jerry Craft, author/illustrator, Mama’s Boyz; The Offenders: Saving the World While Serving Detention!
12:05 PM Book giveaway & Wrap-up, including presenting books to students who answer questions
- Middle and High School program coordinated by Kel Spencer, Pens of Power
- Presentation of Conference Papers, 11 AM–2 PM
“The Influence of the Slave Narrative: African American Literature, Past and Present”
Co-sponsored by College Language Association, Black Studies Committee, Dr. Therí A. Pickens, associate professor, English, African American Studies, Chair, Bates College and Thabiti Lewis, associate professor of English at Washington State University Vancouver.
- Tales of Our Times/Elders Writing Workshop: “Crossing Many Waters:
Travel Memoirs from Elder Writers,” 3 PM –6 PM
Members of the Elder Writers Workshop will present their own travel memoirs from the mid-20th century through the 21st century. The Elders will read dynamic stories from the personal points of view of women of color who traveled to Asia, Africa, Europe, and Australia, personal experiences that changed the writers forever.
- Eighth Annual Poetry Café: 7:00 PM –9:00 PM
Brooklyn Public Library
10 Grand Army Plaza
Brooklyn, NY 11238
Coordinated by Wendy Robinson, Nicholas Nichols, and Tai Allen.
Featured Poet Charan P. Morris, Spotlight Poet William Lohier, and Emerging Poets Phillip J. Ammonds, Shavonne Bell, Angela Brown, and DeBorah (Momma D) Gray.
- Film Screening, 6:30 PM–9:00 PM:
Lorraine Hansberry: Sighted Eyes/Feeling Heart
Presented by African Voices/Reel Sisters
From PBS: In the new feature-length documentary Sighted Eyes/Feeling Heart, award-winning filmmaker Tracy Heather Strain examines Hansberry’s life and work using a remarkable collection of archival footage, home movies, rare photos and unpublished documents. Granted access to materials from the Lorraine Hansberry Literary Trust, and including interviews with her family, friends and colleagues, Strain explores the full scope of the author’s history for the very first time. Narrated by award-winning actress LaTanya Richardson Jackson, and featuring the voice of Tony Award-winning actress Anika Noni Rose as Hansberry, Sighted Eyes/Feeling Heart is filled with insightful on-camera interviews with those who knew her best, and rare archival material, creating a nuanced portrait of an activist and artist whose words and ideas are as relevant today as they were when she first wrote them.