June 13, 2024



Black Literary Excellence: Upcoming Black Writer Festivals PT1

4 min read

As summer approaches, new and veteran authors, avid readers, and con goers eagerly anticipate the vibrant gatherings celebrating Black literature and culture. This year, three major festivals in the midwest kick off the season with a bang: the Hustle and Grind Book Fair in Detroit, the Great Midwest Book Festival, and the Center for Black Literature & Culture’s 7th Annual Book Fest and Juneteenth Celebration in Indianapolis. Each of these events not only highlights the richness of Black literature but also provides unique opportunities for networking, learning, and community engagement.

Detroit will once again host the annual Hustle and Grind Book Fair on June 8th. This event, which has become a cornerstone in the city’s literary calendar, promises an exciting day filled with activities for book lovers of all ages. Ms. Michel Moore, a celebrated Essence Best Selling author who has also graced the cover of Intellectual Ink Magazine never disappoints. Known for her powerful storytelling and impactful narratives, Moore’s presence and dedication to the culture and the overall convention experience is sure to inspire and captivate attendees.

The Hustle and Grind Book Fair goes beyond the traditional book fair format by offering a Pitch Tent, a unique opportunity for aspiring writers to network with professionals from the movie industry. This initiative aims to bridge the gap between literary and cinematic storytelling, providing writers a platform to pitch their stories directly to industry insiders. Such a feature is invaluable for authors looking to expand their horizons and see their stories adapted for the screen.

Adding to the fair’s innovative approach is the mobile library, which brings the joy of reading to attendees right where they are. This initiative underscores the fair’s commitment to making literature accessible and promoting a culture of reading within the community. By combining traditional literary celebrations with modern, interactive experiences, the Hustle and Grind Book Fair sets a dynamic tone for the summer’s literary festivities.

H&G Urban Literary Convention (hustleandgrindulc.com)

The Center for Black Literature & Culture (CBLC) at the Indianapolis Public Library is set to host its 7th Annual Book Fest and Juneteenth Celebration on June 15th. This event, held at the Central Library, is a cornerstone in celebrating African American authors and the broader Black literary tradition. The festival is designed to uplift the community, educate attendees about Black literature, and celebrate Juneteenth.

This year’s theme, “African Americans & the Arts,” will be explored through various presentations and activities, with a special focus on different representations of art within the Black community. The CBLC’s Poet Laureate, Januarie York, will perform a poetry reading, adding a lyrical dimension to the day’s events.

One of the most anticipated aspects of the festival is the keynote speech by JaQuavis Coleman, a New York Times bestselling author renowned for his contributions to the urban fiction genre. Coleman will discuss his latest book, “Cartel Queen 2: Mother of Murder,” followed by a Q&A session and book signing. His work, known for its gritty realism and compelling narratives, offers a window into the complexities of urban life, making his participation a significant highlight of the festival.

The CBLC’s celebration also includes a dedicated space for children and families, featuring games, face painting, canvas painting, and a photo 360 booth. These activities are designed to engage younger audiences and foster a love for reading and creativity from an early age. By offering a family-friendly environment, the CBLC ensures that the celebration of Black literature is inclusive and accessible to all members of the community.

The 2023 CBLC Book Fest and Juneteenth Celebration (indypl.org)

On June 22nd, the literary spotlight will shift to the Great Midwest Book Festival. Great Midwest Book Fest is an annual book event hosted by UrbanReviewsOnline.com in Milwaukee, WI. This event promises a star-studded lineup of authors, headlined by Kimberla Lawson Roby, Naleighna Kai, and Vivian King. Each of these authors brings a wealth of experience and a unique voice to the festival, ensuring a diverse and enriching experience for attendees.

Kimberla Lawson Roby, a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, is renowned for her prolific career, having published 29 books. Her works, which include both fiction and non-fiction, often explore themes of faith, spirituality, and personal growth. Her latest faith-based nonfiction title, “The Woman God Created You to Be,” alongside her novels like “Sister Friends Forever” and “Sin of a Woman,” reflect her deep engagement with issues of personal and communal significance. Roby’s presence at the festival not only celebrates her literary achievements but also provides aspiring writers with insights into her journey and creative process.

Naleighna Kai, writing under a pen name, is another standout at the festival. With nearly 25 years in the publishing and marketing industry, Kai has established herself as a formidable force in the literary world. She is a contributor to a New York Times bestseller and has authored several controversial and thought-provoking novels. Recognized as one of AALBC’s 100 Top Authors, Kai’s expertise as a developmental editor and literary event planner adds an invaluable dimension to the festival, offering guidance and inspiration to new and seasoned writers alike.

Vivian King, an award-winning author and communications consultant, rounds out the festival’s notable authors. Her inspirational story, detailed in her Amazon bestseller “When the Words Suddenly Stopped,” chronicles her recovery from a massive stroke and her journey to finding her voice again. King’s experience as a speaker and connector will undoubtedly resonate with festival-goers, providing a testament to the power of resilience and the healing potential of storytelling.

Urban Reviews – Your Source for the Best in AA Fiction! (urbanreviewsonline.com)

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