Join Us in Celebrating Our Young Scholars: Tuesday, June 6, 2023

Re-Envisioning Our Lives through Literature (ROLL) is an in-school youth literary program. It is uniquely designed to provide young scholars with opportunities to read books written by authors of African descent. The Center for Black Literature's culturally responsive teaching approach engages students, provides social-emotional competence, and advances students' growth in the Core Curriculum standards for reading, language, writing, and oratory skills.

Each June, students participate in a culminating event that showcases the work that they have generated from their participation in ROLL. Faculty, school administrators, peers, and family members all attend. You are welcome!

Watch "Writers On Writing" on YouTube!

Interviews Conducted by Dr. Brenda M. Greene

Abi Ishola-Ayodeji

Dr. Brenda Greene interviews Abi Ishola-Ayodeji, debut author of Patience is a Subtle Thief, (HarperVia, 2022) and an Emmy award-winning producer, brand builder and storyteller. Greene and Ishola-Ayodeji discuss the context for the themes in the novel. The title of the novel, a double entendre, refers to the heroine’s first name and state of mind. Set in the era of the 1993 Presidential election to secure democratic rule in Nigeria after years of a dictatorship, Ishola-Ayodeji explores how the political affects the personal as well as the themes: coming of age, the value of mother love, patriarchy, and gender dynamics. This debut novel is in the tradition of Chimamanda Ngozie Adichie, a critically acclaimed Nigerian writer who has highlighted issues affecting women and brought a new generation of readers to contemporary African literature. Ishola-Ayodeji has moved from nonfiction writing to fiction in her writing career. She discusses what that process has been for her and why she was motivated to write this novel. A first-generation Nigerian American who grew up in Florida, but spent time in secondary school in Lagos, Abi Ishola-Ayodeji has written and produced for various platforms including, PBS,, CUNY TV and more.

L. Penelope

Dr. Brenda Greene and award-winning author of fantasy and paranormal romance, L. Penelope, discuss her motivation for writing Black speculative fiction and the genesis and structure of her chronicle stories. The fiction of L. Penelope centers around Black women and focuses on themes related to history, politics, and romance. Black speculative fiction has exploded in print, film, television, and the media, and Greene and Penelope discuss its current state and future. Greene and Penelope also discuss her writing process and her podcast My Imaginary Friends, a weekly journal of her publishing life. Penelope’s debut novel, Song of Blood & Stone, was chosen as one of TIME Magazine’s 100 Best Fantasy Books of All Time. The novel also won the inaugural award for Best Self-Published Fiction from the Black Caucus of the American Library Association. Penelope is also an award-winning independent filmmaker and co-founder of a literary magazine.

About the Center for Black Literature at Medgar Evers College, CUNY

For 20 years, the programs of the Center for Black Literature (CBL) have had a dynamic impact in the literary field. The highly anticipated author readings and book signings, journals, symposia, conferences, panel discussions, and writing workshops—and the Center’s intellectual and accessible approach to programming—form an integrative approach to programming that sets CBL apart from others. CBL’s events are known for the way they ensure that Black literary scholarship and conversations are valued and sustained.

Contact Us

Center for Black Literature
at Medgar Evers College, CUNY (CBL)
1534 Bedford Avenue, 2nd Floor
Brooklyn, New York 11216

Main Phone: (718) 804-8883
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Donate to CBL Today!

To carry out our literary programs and special events, we depend on financial support from the public. Donations are welcome year-round. Click HERE to make a donation today. Thank you in advance!
The Center for Black Literature at Medgar Evers College is supported in part by an American Rescue Plan Act grant from the National Endowment for the Arts to support general operating expenses in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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