Call for Papers- NBWC 2020: Selected Panelists Announced!

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 March 11, 2020)



Presentation of Conference Papers

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. Curated by MUDIWA PETTUS (Assistant Professor of English, Medgar Evers College).

10:00 AM – 11:20 PM 

Panel 1

“Re-Casting Our Experience: The Dismantling of African-American Works of Fiction within the Film Industry as seen in the works of Ntozake Shange’s for colored girls who have considered suicide when the rainbows enuf and Alice Walker’s The Color Purple” Chy’Na “Empress Beatrice” Nellon (Philander Smith College)

“From Magic to Cinematic: The Importance of Abstraction in Ntozake Shange’s for colored girls who have considered suicide/ when the rainbow is enuf” Britt Threatt (Brown University)

“Pink and Black: Romanticizing the Urban Diurnal” Christina Knowles (Hunter College, CUNY)

Moderator/Respondent: Iyun Osagie (Oregon State University)


11:30 AM – 12:50 PM

Panel 2

“The Wake Work of ‘Cartography”  Nicole Walker (Lehman College, CUNY)

Allia Abdullah-Matta

“‘wild until we are free:’ community, culture, and the self, in The ChiAllia Abdullah-Matta (La Guardia Community, CUNY)

“From Researcher to Content Creator: One Scholar’s Journey” Donnetrice Allison (Stockton University)

“Where We Stand : Afrika, the Black Aesthetic in Theatre, and Audience” Ms. Akulah Agbami (Director of BLACK* artists on the move; Artistic Director of Sheba Soul Ensemble)

Moderator: Nsubuga Bright Titus (Institute of Culture and Social Anthropology, Vienna University)


1:00 PM to 2:20 PM

Panel 3

Arlene Ducao

“Mad Science: A Brief Survey of Medical Bias In Superhero Origin Stories” Research Affiliate, MIT; CEO, Multimer) & Alexander Wright III (Supervisor of Outpatient Medical Programs at The Kennedy Krueger Institute) & Arlene Ducao (Adjunct Associate Professor, NYU School of Engineering)

“From Short Story to Screen: James’ Coming of Age and Transformation from Boy to Man (and Not Bum) in Ernest J. Gaines’ “The Sky is Gray” Dr. Pearlie Peters (Rider University)

Kristin Hunt

“Give us real black film! Save the alternative endings and assumptions for ya mama.” Kristin Hunt (Poet and Screenwriter)

Moderator/Respondent: Dr. Carlyle Thompson (Medgar Evers College, CUNY)




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.