CLOSED – Call for Papers: "Gathering at the Waters"

Call for Papers

2018 National Black Writers Conference 

“Gathering at the Waters: Healing, Legacy, and Activism in Black Literature”


The theme of the 14th National Black Writers Conference, “Gathering at the Waters: Healing, Legacy, and Activism in Black Literature,” acknowledges our concern about the recent, and still continuing, issues of social inequality and injustices that challenge us and builds on the legacy of healing through activism. This timely theme centers on the ways in which Black writers use their writing to explore and convey messages that heal and restore our individual selves and collective community. The Conference will also examine the instrumental role that Black writers have played in building our cultural history; the imprint that this has left in Black literature; and how the literature of Black writers has impacted present-day and future generations.

The 14th National Black Writers Conference (NBWC) will be held at Medgar Evers College, from Thursday, March 22, to Sunday, March 25, 2018.  Dr. Myrlie Evers-Williams will serve as the Honorary Chair. Award-winning writers Colson Whitehead, Kwame Dawes, David Levering Lewis, Susan L. Taylor, speculative fiction writers Steven Barnes and Tananarive Due, and cultural historian Eugene B. Redmond are 2018 National Black Writers Conference Honorees.

For the 2018 NBWC, the Center for Black Literature invites writers, independent researchers, interested faculty and students to submit proposals on the works of the Honorees that examine the following:

  • In what ways is the honoree’s beliefs and personal messages of political and social change expressed in his/her life and published works?
  • How does the writer expand conversations of race, resistance, social equality, and/or activism in his/her works?
  • Explore the ways in which aspects of the African-American experience is reflected in the writer’s fiction, poetry or prose.
  • In what ways is this year’s Conference theme, “Gathering at the Waters,” reflected in the honoree’s works?

Deadline for submission of abstracts has been extended to Monday, January 29, 2018.


Submission Instructions:

Please submit electronically an abstract/proposal of 300–500 words, a list of related references for the presentation and the thesis or question you plan to explore. Please include the following:

  1. Your name and contact information on the title page.
  2. Title of proposed talk
  3. Institutional affiliation
  4. Short academic bio of no more than 50 words


Please submit to:, with your name and “Call for Papers 2018 NBWC Gathering at the Waters” in the subject line.  Notification of acceptance will be sent to presenters by February 10, 2018