Durham, North Carolina, serves as the nurturing ground for the birth of the Griot and Grey Owl Black Southern Writers Conference, a vital response to the pervasive need within the literary world. This gathering emerged from the shadows where Black stories often linger, relegated to the periphery, leaving the voices of diasporic writers without adequate access or opportunity. Griot and Grey Owl stands as a beacon in answer to this call, striving to bring these voices to the forefront.
Scheduled for November 10th-12th, 2023, this 3-day conference is purpose-built for Black Southern writers, a convergence of minds teeming with world-class workshops, enlightening panels, and immersive historical tours, all curated to explore facets of culture, career, and community.
At the heart of this gathering lies a deep commitment to nurturing and empowering these voices. Writers will convene in Durham to connect with renowned Southern workshop facilitators stationed in historical locations, engage in panels hosted by esteemed Southern authors, and venture on field trips rooted in the vibrant heritage of Black Wall Street.
The pandemic wreaked havoc on numerous writing communities, leaving many isolated. A poll conducted among over 1,000 Black Southern writers revealed a staggering 90% felt a lack of true community, rendering their writing journey a solitary pursuit. Griot and Grey Owl aims to counter this narrative by fostering an environment where solitude is replaced by unity, where shared creativity becomes the cornerstone of growth.
“We write alone, but we grow together” embodies the essence of this conference. Inviting 100 Black writers to downtown Durham, Griot and Grey Owl aspires to imbue artistic growth while immersing participants in the rich tapestry of the Bull City. Cultural tours, immersive workshops, engaging panel discussions, and electrifying performances serve as pillars to fortify a community and establish enduring connections among writers.
The mission of Griot and Grey Owl resonates with the pulsating heartbeat of unity, skill-sharing, breaking down barriers, providing access, and fostering camaraderie among Southern writers. By creating a space that transcends mere instruction and workshops, this conference endeavors to instill a sense of belonging and support, laying the foundation for a community that will endure long past the conference’s conclusion.
In an era where isolation threatened to dampen the creative spirits of Black Southern writers, Griot and Grey Owl emerges as a vital force, providing not just a platform but a nurturing ecosystem where voices can thrive, where pens can dance freely, and where community and creativity intertwine to echo the rich heritage and potential of the South.
Griot and Grey Owl stands as a testament to the belief that writing is inseparable from community, and through this conference, a tapestry of diverse voices interweaves to form a robust network, celebrating the unity in diversity that is the soul of the Southern writing tradition.