July 14, 2024



Ink Unleashed: Navigating Narratives and Nurturing Dialogue at the 17th National Black Writers Conference

2 min read

The literary world is set to witness a vibrant convergence of creativity, knowledge, and activism as more than 50 award-winning and best-selling writers gather for the 17th National Black Writers Conference (NBWC) in a four-day public event. This year’s theme, “All That We Carry,” inspired by Tiya Miles’ National Book Award-winning work, “All That She Carried: The Journey of Ashley’s Sack, A Black Family Keepsake,” promises a deep exploration of the relevance of Black literature and the pressing issues facing the community.

The conference, open to all, is a platform for roundtable discussions and events that delve into crucial topics such as the impact of environmental and systemic racism, dangers of book bans, DEI (Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion) blowback, and the healing power of literature. Participants will have the opportunity to engage with and learn from distinguished writers and scholars across various genres and generations, including NAACP Image Award and Hurston/Wright Legacy Award recipients, Nobel Prize winners, Pulitzer Prize winners, MacArthur “Genius” Fellows, and New York Times best-sellers.

The opening day sets the tone with an impactful keynote session, “All That We Carry, Where Do We Go From Here?” featuring Farah Jasmine Griffin in conversation with Michael Eric Dyson. The subsequent days are filled with a diverse array of events, including youth programs, scholarly presentations, poetry slams, film presentations, and insightful discussions on the intersections of technology, social media, and racial justice.

A significant highlight is the Summit Keynote, a conversation with the 2024 NBWC honorees: Paul Coates, Percival Everett, Peniel E. Joseph, and Bernice McFadden. This esteemed panel, moderated by Gloria J. Browne-Marshall, promises a deep dive into their contributions to the literary landscape.

The conference doesn’t just stop at discussions; it actively involves participants through engaging events like the NBWC2024 Poetry Café, where poets from Medgar Evers respond to poetry from Cave Canem poets in a captivating “call and response” format. Additionally, attendees can benefit from informative talkshops led by industry experts, covering topics such as publishing, book proposals, poetry, fiction, and memoir writing.

The NBWC2024 concludes with the Awards Ceremony on March 23, where luminaries like Paul Coates, Percival Everett, Peniel E. Joseph, and Bernice McFadden will be honored. Jacqueline Woodson will host the ceremony, featuring opening remarks from Medgar Evers College President Patricia Ramsey and closing remarks from Brenda M. Greene, the founder of the Center for Black Literature.

This public event promises not only a celebration of Black literature but also a critical examination of the world we live in today. With a diverse range of voices and perspectives, the 17th National Black Writers Conference stands as a testament to the power of storytelling and its ability to inspire change and understanding.

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