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The National Black Writers Conference Returns, In-Person to Brooklyn, March 31 - April 1, 2023

The biennial symposium will return to Medgar Evers College to celebrate "Black Speculative Fiction"
(l to r.) authors Donna Hill, Mudiwa Pettus, Tracey Squires, Cathie Wright, Courtney Lee Mitchell

The Center for Black Literature at Medgar Evers College of the City University of New York (CBL) announces the return of the National Black Writers Conference to t Medgar Evers College, beginning March 31 to Saturday, April 1, 2023.

The theme for this biennial symposium is Diasporic Visions: Celebrating Black Speculative Fiction

Speculative fiction is often used as an umbrella description for narratives that do not fully belong in a particular science fiction or fantasy genre. It originated when poets and writers began to compose their own reimaginings and what-if stories about the world.

“I chose this genre for this year’s symposium because speculative fiction is exploding– not only in literature, but in film, comics and music,” said Dr. Brenda Greene, founder of the Center for Black Literature and executive director of the National Black Writers Conference.

“Speculative fiction is the intersection of music, literature, technology, art and popular culture. Together, it gives Blacks in the diaspora a more imaginative, expansive and creative way to talk about their experiences. It’s a way to imaginee what the world could be; it’s an example of cautionary tale, critical commentary of what’s going on.


Authors, writers, scholars and fellow enthusiasts are invited to this year’s conference for an intimate and in-depth discussion that will focus on the acceleration of this genre within the canon of Black literature and the role it will ultimately play in how Black authors tell future stories.

Octavia Butler, Samuel R. Delany and, more recently, Tomi Adeyemi are some of the more well-known Black authors of speculative fiction. But the genre has been around for nearly a century amongst Black scribes, including W.E.B. Dubois’s book, Comic. And dozens more authors have emerged since.

It’s the most natural genre for black people to be writing in because of all the worlds it has taken, said Dr. Greene: “I think where we’re going can be frightening at times, and speculative fiction provides a way to look at it more deeply from a literary perspective as opposed to just reading the news.”

“It’s also a way to engage young people, because we can no longer rely on traditional texts only. We have to begin looking at other forms. And so, by combining together graphic novel, music and technology it covers all of that. It's very exciting.” 

Award-winning authors Sheree Renée Thomas and Jewell Parker Rhodes will receive the Octavia E. Butler Award. Other event highlights include special programming for primary, middle school, and high school students (both are pre-symposium events); scholarly presentations (a virtual event); online and on-location Black booksellers; and much more.

The National Black Writers Conference Biennial Symposium (NBWC2023) is open to the public and registration is required via

For more information and a full event lineup, visit

Registration and general inquiries can be directed to