Call for Papers

15th National Black Writers Conference

“Activism, Identity, and Race: Playwrights and Screenwriters at the Crossroads”

Conference Dates: March 26 – March 29, 2020; 11:00 AM – 6:00 PM

Medgar Evers College
1638 Bedford Ave.
Brooklyn, NY 11225

In effort to ensure that the National Black Writers Conference is inclusive, the Center for Black Literature invites all to submit proposals on aspects of the Conference theme.

Selected proposals will be presented in panels and / or round table discussions at the conference. The format(s) will be determined by the by the final selections. Dates and times of the presentations are to be determined, but are generally presented on the first day of the conference (Thursday), unless otherwise specified. Good luck!



Over the last several decades, there has been an increase in the number of contemporary Black playwrights and screenwriters whose plays and films and television works have appeared in local theaters and on Broadway as well as developed into independent and nationally syndicated films. Drawing from novels, short stories, memoirs, and biography and/or original scripts, Black playwrights and screenwriters are interrogating their interior lives, their legacies, and their collective experiences. They are documenting their stories in a country in which issues such as politics, social justice, racism, sexual violence, gender discrimination, criminal justice, alienation, miseducation, immigration and cultural conflicts are very present.  The playwright and screenwriter provide another perspective for examining the complexity of the human experience.



For the 15th National Black Writers Conference, the Center for Black Literature invites writers, independent researchers, interested faculty, and students to submit proposals on aspects of the Conference theme, by examining the following:

  • Explore the ways in which the subjects of racial identity, sexuality, and social commentary as well as historical representations of Black experiences or culture are expressed or expanded in the original works created by contemporary Black playwrights and screenwriters for today’s audiences.
  • With reference to selected works of notable writers such as Chimamanda Ngozie Adichie (Half a Yellow Sun) James Baldwin (If Beale Street Could Talk), Toni Morrison (Beloved), Ntozake Shange (for colored girls who have considered suicide/when the rainbow is enuf), Alice Walker (The Color Purple), or those of other writers of fiction and creative nonfiction, discuss the ways in which the transformation of the text from a novel to a play or screenplay impacts the dramatic play or screenplay.


Submission Instructions

Deadline for submission of abstracts is Monday, January 13, 2020.

Notification of acceptance will be sent to presenters by February 14, 2020.

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. [Phone, e-mail]
  2. Title of proposed talk.
  3. Institutional affiliation [if applicable].
  4. Short academic bio of no more than 50 words.

Please submit to:, with the subject heading reading as such: “First Name Last Name: Call for Papers 2020 NBWC Playwrights and Screenwriters at the Crossroads”.

Selection process

  • Each paper is peer reviewed.
  • Selections are grouped together by theme for panels to be presented at the 15th National Black Writers Conference.

If you have any questions in regard to the Call for Papers, contact the Center for Black Literature at Medgar Evers College, CUNY, at Phone: 718-804-8883 or  e-mail:

Additional questions can be answered in our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s)

Find the Center for Black Literature on Social Media: Facebook: Center for Black Literature; Twitter: @Center4BlackLit; and Instagram: @Center4BlackLit.