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The 17th National Black Writers Conference Returns to Medgar Evers March 20 - 23

The 17th annual conference will highlight author Tiya Miles and her book "All That She Carried, The Journey of Ashley's Sack, A Black Family Keepsake."
Author Tiya Miles

The Center for Black Literature announces the return of the 17th annual National Black Writers Conference, taking place March 20 - March 23, 2024, at Medgar Evers College in Crown Heights.

This year’s theme, All That We Carry: Where Do We Go From Here? is based on the National Book Award-winning work, "All That She Carried, The Journey of Ashley’s Sack, A Black Family Keepsake," by Tiya Miles, who is confirmed to participate in the conference.

The roundtable discussions and other events of the four-day public gathering will explore many perspectives in literature, including the value of tradition and history and how to move forward when the world is in disarray. 

"We will focus on the value of history in literature, examine the impact of environmental and systemic racism, assess the impact of social media and reflect on the need for peace and emotional healing," said Dr. Brenda M. Greene, the founder of the Center for Black Literature and executive director of the National Black Writers Conference. 

(Clockwise starting from top L) Honorees Paul Coates, Peniel E. Joseph, Percival Everett and Bernice McFadden. Photos supplied by the Center for Black Literature.

Confirmed speakers include Haitian-American novelist Edwidge Danticat, academic and author Michael Eric Dyson, Pulitzer-prize winning journalist Karen Hunter, Grammy-nominated poet, writer and activist Kevin Powell, author Jacqueline Woodson, academic and author Marc Lamont Hill and other national best-selling authors and award-winning Black writers. 

Wednesday, March 20

Opening Keynote: All That We Carry, Where Do We Go From Here? | 6:00 pm – 8:30 pm
Farah Jasmine Griffin in conversation with Michael Eric Dyson | Emcee: Brenda M. Greene

Thursday, March 21

Re-Envisioning Our Lives through Literature (ROLL) Youth Program

• 10:00 am to 12:00 pm - Jennifer Baker in conversation with Jason Reynolds
• 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm - Renée Watson in conversation with Cheryl Hudson and Wade Hudson

Virtual Scholarly Presentations on Conference Theme | 11:00 am - 3:00 pm
Sponsor: The African American Studies Committee of the College Language Association

Dramatic Reading from the Dr. Edith Rock Writing Workshop for Elders | 3:30 pm - 5:00 pm

Tiya Miles in conversation with Brenda M. Greene| Emcee Novella Ford | 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm

Friday, March 22

Technology, Social Media, and the Fight for Racial Justice | 1:00 pm - 2:30 pm
With confirmed speakers Marc Lamont Hill, Bettina Love, Wesley Lowery and Emily Raboteau. Moderated by Jelani Cobb.

The Healing Power of Literature | 3:00 pm - 4:30 pm
With confirmed speakers Patricia Spears Jones, Kalisha Buchanan, Marita Golden and Kevin Powell. Moderated by Rachel Eliza Griffiths.

Black Writers’ Letters to America | 5:00 pm - 6:30 pm
With confirmed speakers Victoria Christopher Murray, Pamela Newkirk, Thabiti Lewis and Khalil Gibran Muhammad. Moderated by Donna Hill.

Summit Keynote: A Conversation with the 2024 Honorees | 6:30 pm - 9:00 pm
2024 Honorees: Paul Coates • Percival Everett • Peniel Joseph • Bernice McFadden. Moderated by Gloria J. Browne-Marshall with emcee Wallace Ford.

Saturday, March 23

Wild Seeds Alumni Reunion | 10:30 am to 12:30 pm
This special event is reserved for alumni of CBL’s Wild Seeds Retreat for Writers of Color

Talkshops | 11:00 am to 12:30 pm
• Publishing: Leader, Tracy Sherrod, Vice President; Executive Editor at Little, Brown
• Book Proposals and Finding an Agent: Leader, Regina Brooks, Founder and President of Serendipity Literary Agency
• Poetry: Leader, Darrel Alejandro Holnes | Afro-Panamanian American award-winning author of "Stepmotherland" and "Migrant Psalms"
• Fiction: Leader, Kalisha Buchanon | Author of "Upstate and Speaking of Summer"
• Memoir: Leader, Patrick Dougher | Award-winning artist; author of "If By Some"

The Power of Historical Narratives | 1:00 pm to 2:30 pm

With confirmed speakers W.B. Garvey, Maryemma Graham, Ayana Mathis and A.J. Verdelle. Moderated by Diane Richards.

Black Writers Crossing Boundaries and Borders | 3:00 pm to 4:30 pm
With confirmed speakers Edwidge Danticat, Kwame Dawes, Stéphanie Martelly and Patrick Nganang. Moderated by Jasmine Claude Narcisse.

Myth and Reality: The World of Publishing for the Black Writer | 5:00 pm to 6:30 pm
With confirmed speakers Regina Brooks, Karen Hunter, Christopher Jackson, Lisa Lucas and Jamia Wilson. Moderated by Yahdon Israel.

17th Annual National Black Writers Conference Awards Ceremony | 7 pm to 7:45 pm

Paul Coates, Publisher of Black Classic Press
Margaret T. Burroughs Award

Percival Everett, award-winning novelist
John A. Williams Award

Peniel E. Joseph, scholar and award winning author
W.E.B. Du Bois Award

Bernice McFadden, award-winning novelist
Toni Morrison Award

The awards ceremony will be hosted by Jacqueline Woodson, with opening remarks by Patricia Ramsey, President of Medgar Evers College and closing remarks by Brenda M. Greene, Center for Black Literature. 

Established at Medgar Evers College in 1986 by novelist John Oliver Killens, the conference is a public gathering of literature lovers from all walks of life in the United States, as well as from the Caribbean, Africa, Europe, and Australia.

The Conference attracts some of the most celebrated best-selling writers and scholars across several genres and generations, including recipients of the NAACP Image Award and the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award, Nobel Prize winners, Pulitzer Prize winners, MacArthur “Genius” Fellows, New York Times best-sellers; poet laureates; and other distinguished guests.

The conference, to be held at Medgar Evers at 1650 Bedford Avenue, is open to the public and registration is required via Some events will be held at the Edison O. Jackson Auditorium at 1638 Bedford Avenue.