The reining queen of American literature, Toni Morrison, is coming to the borough of writers in yet another Brooklyn celebration of the arts and letters.
Morrison, who was awarded the 1993 Nobel Prize for literature and the 1988 Pulitzer Prize for her novel, “Beloved,” headlines Medgar Evers College’s 10th Annual Black Writers Conference.
While Morrison is the big draw, the four-day literary conference, which begins on March 25, features something for everybody from literature and writing workshops for elementary-, middle- and high-school students and elders to forums on with an A-list of journalists, agents and writers.
“Often book festivals and conferences tend to be an inside crowd, but here you can get real people and not just fellow writers that tend to be a little more cynical and sometimes jealous,” said Brooklyn-based poet and novelist Staceyann Chin. “This conference gets real people from the neighborhood,”
Chin also credits Professor Brenda Greene, who is executive director of Medgar Evers College’s Center for Black Literature and the conference organizer, for putting together a stellar list of both local authors along with writers, agents and publishers that reflect the contemporary black diaspora worldwide, while remaining relevant to the historical perspective of black writers.
Forum subjects reflect these themes such as the March 26 discussion, “Politics and Satire in the Literature of Black Writers”and the March 27 discussion, “The Impact of Hip Hop and Popular Culture in the Literature of Black Writers.”
Budding authors and scribes will also find the conference an excellent networking and insightful event at such discussions as the March 26, “Impact of the Internet: Blogging, Publishing and Writing” or the March 28 session, “Editors, Agents, Writers and Publishers on the Literature of Black Writers.”
“This is not just people selling their books,” said Greene. “It’s a conversation on what’s being published and what’s being read. It’s for people who love to read, and to open their minds up on different kinds of literature.”
Greene says the conference is targeted toward the general public, where fans of black literature can meet with their favorite authors.
While the bulk of conference events are being held at Medgar Evers College in Crown Heights, other events are being held throughout the borough, such as a poetry reading with Chin and Willie Perdomo at the Brooklyn Public Library’s central branch in Grand Army Plaza.
Music lovers won’t be disappointed either as the conference will also present Gil Scott-Heron, Talib Kweli and Gary Bartz at Littlefield in Gowanus on March 26.
The 10th Annual Black Writers Conference will be mostly held at Medgar Evers College [1650 Bedford Ave. at Crown Street in Crown Heights, (718) 270-4900]. Other events include Stacyann Chin and Willie Perdomo at the Brooklyn Public Library’s Central Branch [Flatbush Avenue at Eastern Parkway in Grand Army Plaza, (718) 230-2100] on March 25 at 4 pm; and Gil Scott-Heron at Littlefield [622 Degraw St. between Fourth and Fifth avenues in Park Slope, (718) 855-3388] on March 26 at 8:30 pm. Toni Morrison will be honored at the awards and VIP reception at the ARTCURIAN Gallery [22 Chapel St. between Flatbush Avenue Extension and Jay Street in Downtown, (347) 240-5388] on March 27. For a complete lineup of the discussions and workshops visit www.nationalblackwritersconference.org.