Dr. Greg Carr, Howard University and Dr. Michael Simanga, author.

15th National Black Writers Conference

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

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

Medgar Evers College, CUNY
1650 Bedford Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11225



(last updated Feb. 14, 2020)


This is your opportunity to become a panelist!

EXTENDED Deadline for submission of abstracts is:

Friday, January 24, 2020.

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.” This is a public gathering of writers, scholars, literary professionals, theater and film luminaries, students, and the general public. The dates are March 26 – March 29, 2020.

This year, as in previous years, CBL invites writing professionals, cultural critics, scholars, and college students to submit proposals that examine the following:

  • 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.
  • The ways in which the transformation of the text from a novel to a play or screenplay impacts the play or screenplay. References 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 are strongly encouraged.

CBL understands that over the last decade, in particular, we have seen an increase in the writing of works by Black playwrights, screenwriters, and scriptwriters. These writers, at a crossroads, 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 plays, films, and television shows produced. The conference features roundtable conversations, panel discussions, a town hall, film screenings, author readings, writing workshops, and more.


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. Do not send manuscripts.

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”.

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

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!

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.
  • Selected panelists will be contacted by a NBWC Committee representative via e-mail and/or telephone.

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.