John Oliver Killens Reading Series

The John Oliver Killens Reading Series is a testament to the legacy of the late John Oliver Killens to provide authors, poets, and scholars, and writers of the African Diaspora with opportunities to showcase their work and engage the audience in stimulating conversations.

The series also offers a platform for well-regarded authors, as well as newly discovered writers, to discuss their work and the craft of writing, to read from recently published work, and to discuss issues related to writing and publishing with the college community and the general public.


Sample of Previous Events


COVID-19 Writers Project
The COVID-19 Writers Project captured the viewpoint of the coronavirus pandemic from inside the virus’s hotspot—New York City—while examining the extent to which health outcomes are impacted by socioeconomics, education, and race.

The program was presented by the Center in collaboration with Scriibe and BK Reader. C. Zawadi Morris, founder of BK Reader is the project manager and executive producer of the project.

Willie Perdomo and Friends
The Center, in partnership with Brooklyn Public Library and the English Department at Medgar Evers College, celebrated 2019 National Poetry Month with Willie Perdomo. Perdomo is the author of The Crazy Bunch and The Essential Hits of Shorty Bon Bon, which was a National Book Critics Circle 2014 Finalist for Poetry.

Poets Nicole Sealey and Rico Frederick joined Perdomo for an evening of readings and a discussion. The program also featured writer Sean Anderson and Medgar Evers College English majors Cherish Pierre-Louis and Brianna-Christine Alicea.


An Evening with Nicole Sealey and Cheryl Boyce-Taylor
This event was  held at the Dweck Cultural Center at Brooklyn Public Library. Boyce-Taylor opened the program with the reading of her poem “Devouring the Light, 1968: After Martin Luther King Jr.” in honor of the 50th anniversary of King’s death. She then read a selection of poems from her previous collections and her recent book, Arrival.

Sealey read several of her favorite poems, which included “Hysterical Strengths” from her collection Ordinary Beast. Following the poetry readings, Clarence V. Reynolds, director at the Center, joined the poets on stage for a conversation about their journeys as poets, influences on their writing, and their views on the ways poetry can effect social change.

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

Office: (718) 804-8883

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