Call for Papers NBWC 2016- The Deadline is January 15, 2016!


13th National Black Writers Conference

“Writing Race, Embracing Difference”

March 31, 2016 – April 3, 2016

Conference Location:

Medgar Evers College of The City University of New York

Sponsored by the Center for Black Literature at Medgar Evers College

In her classic essay Playing in the Dark: Whiteness and the Literary Imagination, Toni Morrison writes that although the habit of ignoring race may be desirable and generous, “A criticism that needs to insist that literature is not only ‘universal’ but also ‘race-free’ risks lobotomizing that literature and diminishes both the art and the artist.”

This desire to ignore race is turned upside down in the critique of Rita Dove’s editing of The Penguin Anthology of 20th-Century American Poetry. Helen Vendler, a Harvard professor and literary critic, lambasted former U.S. Poet Laureate Rita Dove for her inclusion of “some 175” poets and for her choice of poems: “mostly short” and “of rather restricted vocabulary” in the anthology and states that “Multicultural inclusiveness prevails….”

The 13th National Black Writers Conference (NBWC) “Writing Race, Embracing Difference” places the issues of race and difference at the forefront of the literature produced by Black writers and provides for writers, scholars, literary agents, editors, publishers, students, academics, and the general public to examine these themes through panel discussions and roundtables.

We invite interested faculty, independent researchers, and students to submit proposals for papers focused on the conference theme and panels or in the literature and work of our conference honorees: Rita Dove, Edwidge Danticat, Michael Eric Dyson, Charles Johnson, and Woodie King Jr.

The year 2016 marks the centennial of the birth of author and educator John Oliver Killens, founder of the National Black Writers Conference. Since 1986, the National Black Writers Conference has been held at Medgar Evers College to bring together writers, critics, booksellers, book reviewers, and the general public to establish a dialogue on the social responsibility of the Black writer and the emerging themes, trends, and issues in Black literature. As we celebrate his birth in 2016, we welcome proposals on the literature and works of John Oliver Killens.


The Presentation of Papers will be held during the Conference on Thursday, March 31, 2016.

Conference Theme: “Writing Race, Embracing Difference” in the Literature of Black Writers

Conference Panels:

  • Afrofuturism: Reimagining the Past, Present, and Future
  • Decoded: Hip-Hop and Youth Culture
  • The Politics of Race and Psychology in the Literature of Black Writers
  • The Impact of War, Disaster, and Global Crises in the Literature of Black Writers
  • Creating Dangerously: Courage and Resistance in the Literature of Black Writers


A one- or two-page proposal with references should be submitted by January 15, 2016. Please include name and contact information on the title page.

Please submit to:,

cc:  with “2016 NBWC Call for Papers” in the subject line.


Register Now!

Have additional questions about the conference? Find the answer on our FAQ’s page.