15th NBWC Program Schedule March 2020

The Center for Black Literature at Medgar Evers College, CUNY

presents the

15th National Black Writers Conference

– PROGRAM SCHEDULE

The Center for Black Literature at Medgar Evers College, CUNY (CBL) presents the 15th National Black Writers Conference, “Activism, Identity, and Race: Playwrights and Screenwriters at the Crossroads.” It is a public gathering of writers, scholars, literary professionals, theater and film luminaries, students, and the public. The dates are March 26 – March 29, 2020, and the conference will be held on the campus of Medgar Evers College in Brooklyn, N.Y.

Over the last decade, we have seen an increase in the writing and works by Black playwrights, screenwriters, and scriptwriters. These writers, at a crossroad, are focused on breaking new ground; creating bold new work in theater, film, and television; and expanding the narrative of the Black experience in America and throughout the African Diaspora. During this year’s four-day conference, panelists and special guests will examine the ways race, identity, politics, and popular culture shape the production of plays, films, and television shows. The conference features roundtable conversations, panel discussions, a town hall, film screenings, author readings, writing workshops, and more.

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PRE-CONFERENCE PROGRAM

(As of Wednesday, January 29, 2020 *)

WEDNESDAY, MARCH 11, 2020 

(New Date!)

John Oliver Killens Reading Series Program

6:30 PM – 8:30 PM

Edison O. Jackson Auditorium at Medgar Evers College (pending) **

Black Divas on Stage: Challenges of Women Playwrights with invited speakers Elizabeth Van DykeLizan MitchellEbony Jo-Ann, and Trazana Beverly. | Curated and Moderated by MARCIA PENDELTON of Walk Tall Girl Productions.


TUESDAY, MARCH 24, 2020

NBWC Poetry Slam

Time: TBA

Welcome Center at Medgar Evers College **

Curated by GREEN EARTH POETS CAFÉ


WEDNESDAY, MARCH 25, 2020

Youth Day Literary Program

 9:00 AM – 12:00 PM

Founders Auditorium at Medgar Evers College **

Elementary school literary program coordinated by WADE and CHERYL HUDSON of Just Us Books.

12:30 PM – 3:00 PM

Founders Auditorium at Medgar Evers College **

High school literary program coordinated by KEL SPENCER, Program Director, R.O.L.L., Center for Black Literature at Medgar Evers College.

1:00 PM– 3:00 PM

Founders Auditorium at Medgar Evers College **

Creative writing workshops with LIZA JESSIE PETERSON and NSANGOU NJIKAM

6:00 PM – 9:00 PM

Founders Auditorim at Medgar Evers College **

Film Screening and Talkback

The Hate U Give (RT 2 hours 13 minutes) is a 2018 American drama film directed George Tillman Jr. with a screenplay by Audrey Wells. It is based on the 2017 young adult novel (of the same name) by Angie Thomas. | Curated by MILES MCAFEE, Communications Specialist, School of Professional and Community Development, Medgar Evers College, CUNY.

Click image (left) or HERE to watch the official film trailer.


MAIN CONFERENCE PROGRAM

(As of Wednesday, January 21, 2020 *)

THURSDAY, MARCH 26, 2020

Presentation of Conference Papers

10:00 AM – 3:00 PM

Edison O. Jackson Auditorium at Medgar Evers College **

Scholars and writers discuss works of honorees and featured speakers who have had their work developed into dramatic plays, screenplays, and documentaries.

Dr. Edith Rock Elders Writing Workshop Presentation

3:30 PM – 5:00 PM

Edison O. Jackson Auditorium (EOJ) at Medgar Evers College **

Members of the Dr. Edith Rock Elders Writing Workshop will present readings on the theme called “Home Remedies” and will travel the African diaspora with sharp, funny memories of poultices, powders, and potions created to maintain wellness in our diverse Black communities. They see this as resistance to gentrification (now kale is cool), big pharma, and, of course, to the racism that physically manifests in the form of disease when we aren’t vigilant about strengthening our physical selves. Curated by EISA ULEN RICHARDSON, Workshop Instructor, Center for Black Literature. Pictured: Members of the Dr. Edith Rock Elders Writing Workshop present at a previous NBWC event at MEC

NBWC Poetry Café

6:30 PM – 8:30 PM

Dweck Cultural Center at Central Brooklyn Public Library **

Curated by WENDY ROBINSON and TAI ALLEN


FRIDAY, MARCH 27, 2020

Fiction, Poetry, Screenwriting, and Playwriting Workshops

11:00 AM – 12:30 PM

Medgar Evers College

Rooms and Workshop Leaders: TBA

Confirmed Workshop Leader: LIZA JESSIE PETERSON (playwriting)

 

TOWN HALL

The Role of the Media, Critics, and Reviewers on Black Plays and Film

11:00 AM – 12:30 PM

Edison O. Jackson Auditorium at Medgar Evers College **

Presented as a Community Conversation, the town hall will examine the role of the media, critics, and reviewers in (1) shaping the writing of playwrights and screenwriters and (2) in bringing the dramatic play to the stage and the screenplay to the screen.

The conversation will include emerging and seasoned panelists whose work is impacted by professional critics and the media-at-large. Also, audience members will be encouraged to provide their views on the subject and suggest ways for moving forward. Confirmed Speakers: Lisa CortésVincent CunninghamDavid GreavesPamela Newkirk, and Marcia Pendelton. | Confirmed Moderator: BRIDGETT M. DAVIS | Sponsored by Our Time Press

ROUNDTABLE

The Impact of Hip-Hop and Popular Culture on Black Playwriting and Screenwriting

1:00 PM – 2:30 PM

Edison O. Jackson Auditorium at Medgar Evers College **

Panelists will examine how hip-hop and popular culture has influenced and shaped the plays, films, and television scripts created by Black playwrights, screenwriters, and scriptwriters. They will also look at trends in experimental theater and independent films by Black playwrights and screenwriters. Confirmed Speakers: Dasan AhanuRadha Blank (pictured), Shaun NeblettNSangou Njikam, and Carl Hancock Rux. | Confirmed Moderator: SADE LYTHCOTT

ROUNDTABLE

Telling Our Stories: Transcending Barriers and Boundaries on Stage and Screen

3:00 PM – 4:30 PM

Edison O. Jackson Auditorium at Medgar Evers College **

Artists and writers interrogate their interior lives and collective experiences to document their stories in a country where racism, sexual violence, gender discrimination, alienation, miseducation, immigration, and cultural conflicts are very present. The speakers here will explore these issues in theater, film, and television. Confirmed Speakers: Donja R. Love, Amina HenryNina Angela Mercer, andH. “Herukhuti” Sharif Williams. | Confirmed Moderator: DARREL HOLNES

Dramatic Presentations

5:00 PM – 6:00 PM

Edison O. Jackson Auditorium at Medgar Evers College **

  • 5:00 PM –  5:30 PM: ALEXIS ALLEYNE-CAPUTO, interdisciplinary artist, writer, and filmmaker.
  • 5:30 PM – 6:00 PM: TRACIE MORRIS, poet, educator, and performance artist.

Conference Opening Ceremony

Friday, March 27, 2020 | 7:00 PM – 9:00 PM

Founders Auditorium at Medgar Evers College **

The official opening of the 15th National Black Writers Conference will feature a robust conversation with Ngozi AnyanwuStanley NelsonWoodie King Jr. (pictured), and Voza Rivers. | Confirmed Moderator: NINA ANGELA MERCER. Hosted by LURIE  DANIEL-FAVORS


SATURDAY, MARCH 28, 2020

Fiction, Poetry, Screenwriting, Playwriting Workshops

11:00 AM – 12:30 PM

Medgar Evers College

Rooms and workshop leaders TBA

Short Film Screenings and Talkback

11:00 AM – 12:30 PM

Edison O. Jackson Auditorium at Medgar Evers College **

Curated by IMAGENATION

 

PANEL DISCUSSION

Defying Stereotypes: Writing Plays, Films, and Scripts from the Black Gaze

1:00 PM –  2:30 PM

Edison O. Jackson Auditorium at Medgar Evers College **

Panelists will explore the manner in which Black playwrights, screenwriters, and scriptwriters provide the Black gaze in the works they create. They will also examine the importance of writing stories and plays that depict the full spectrum of the Black community and experiences; the importance of resisting stereotypes and creating complex characters to reveal our interior lives; and how gender and identity politics impact the works that are created for the stage, film, and television. Confirmed Panelists: Sandra ShannonShay YoungbloodEisa Davis, and B. Nandi Jacob. | Confirmed Moderator: WALLACE L. FORD II

ROUNDTABLE

The Playwright and Screenwriter as Activist

2:45 PM – 4:00 PM

Edison O. Jackson Auditorium at Medgar Evers College **

Addressing racial and other social justice issues in plays and films, the panelists of this roundtable discussion will examine how today’s climate influences character, plot, and viewpoint in the works they create. | Confirmed Speakers: Keith Josef AdkinsNgozi AnyanwuKia Corthron, and Antoinette Nwandu. Confirmed Moderator: Adesola Osakalumi

ROUNDTABLE

Black Theater and Film: Looking Back, Moving Forward

“Celebrating 50 Years of Advancing Knowledge, Social Justice, and Excellence” at Medgar Evers College, CUNY

4:15 PM – 5:30 PM

Edison O. Jackson Auditorium at Medgar Evers College **

This panel is in “Celebrating 50 Years of Advancing Knowledge, Social Justice, and Excellence” at Medgar Evers College. Panelists take a look at current and future trends in plays, screenplays, and scripts written by Black writers and address the question: Do we need more complex and nuanced stories in theater, television, and film? They also discuss the importance of diversifying the film and theater industry and ways to inspire the next generation of writers and filmmakers. Confirmed Speakers: Carl ClayAurin Squire (pictured), Elizabeth Van Dyke, and Richard Wesley. | Confirmed Moderator: SANDRA ADELL

NBWC Awards and Tribute Program

7:30 PM – 9:00 PM

Founders Auditorium at Medgar Evers College **

  • A Tribute to Toni Morrison by Sandra Guzman, journalist, documentary filmmaker, and author.
  • Presentations by 15th NBWC Honorees Carl ClayDominique MorisseauStanley NelsonVoza Rivers, and Richard Wesley.
  • Hosted by Antoinette Roberson

SUNDAY, MARCH 29, 2020

Screenwriting, Playwriting, Fiction, and Poetry Workshops

11:00 AM – 12:30 PM

Medgar Evers College

Rooms and Workshop Leaders: TBA

 

NBWC Film Festival

12:00 PM – 4:30 PM

Venue: TBA

Curated and coordinated by AFRICAN VOICES/REEL SISTERS OF THE DIASPORA FILM FESTIVAL

 

CLOSING PROGRAM

For the Culture

5:00 PM – 7:00 PM

Venue: TBA

A stellar roster of hip-hop, spoken word, and performance artists will examine films and plays from sociocultural, political, and global perspectives. Also, they’ll discuss the intersections of activism, identity, race, and art in theater and film. Confirmed Speakers: Talib Kweli and jessica Care moore. | Confirmed Moderator: APRIL R. SILVER

 

This information updates every Wednesday.

For bios, business opportunities, and more, please call (718) 804-8883.

Request for interviews and media inquiries are directed to April R. Silver

or Lea Byrd at AKILA WORKSONGS: pr@akilaworksongs.com or (718) 756-8501

Program topics, participants, dates, and times are subject to change.

 

** VENUE LEGEND

  • Founders Auditorium at Medgar Evers College is located at 1650 Bedford Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11225.
  • Dweck Auditorium at Center Brooklyn Library is located at 10 Grand Army Plaza, Brooklyn, NY 11238.
  • Edison O. Jackson Auditorium (EOJ) at Medgar Evers College is located at 1638 Bedford Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11225 (across the street from the main building).