NBWC 2020 Conference Overview

15th National Black Writers Conference

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

Wednesday, November 11 – Saturday, November 14, 2020

Each day unless otherwise indicated: 11:00 AM – 6:00 PM

Originally scheduled for March 2020 on the campus of Medgar Evers College (MEC) in Brooklyn, New York, this new presentation of NBWC2020 will be virtual. The Center for Black Literature (CBL) supports the public health protocols that have emerged because of COVID-19, including social distancing. With that in mind, we have decided to present NBWC202 as a series of online webinars.

[See program for ALL conference locations. Program is subject to change w/o notice.]

(Updated as of July 15, 2020)

The 15th National Black Writers Conference (NBWC): “Activism, Identity and Race: Playwrights and Screenwriters at the Crossroads,” November 11- November 14, 2020, will continue conversations generated at the 2019 National Black Writers Conference Biennial Symposium. Black playwrights, screenwriters, and filmmakers will examine contemporary trends in theater and film and the ways race, politics, and popular culture shape the plays and films produced.

Roundtable Discussions, Author Readings, Films, Workshops, and More

Invited Speakers and Panelists Include: Sandra Adell, Keith Josef Adkins, Dasan Ahanu, Ngozi Anyanwu, Radha Blank, Lisa Cortés, Kia Corthron, Imani Perry, Dominique Morisseau, Tracie Morris, Stanley Nelson, NSangou Njikam, Carl Hancock Rux, Donja R. Love, Amina Henry, Shay Youngblood, Antoinette Nwandu, Aurin Squire, Richard Wesley, Elizabeth Van Dyke, and many others.

Click the links to learn more about the following

  • Vending Applications
  • Early Registration is Open!Get Early-Bird rates while you can. REGISTRATION IS OPEN TO ALL. MEC, CUNY Students attend for FREE!
  • Call for papers- Applications – now collecting submissions!
    Deadline for submission of abstracts is Monday, January 13, 2020 EXTENDED TO FRIDAY JAN. 24, 2020. Notification of acceptance will be sent to presenters by February 14, 2020.


Full Conference Description

The Center for Black Literature presents the 15th National Black Writers Conference: “Activism, Identity, and Race: Playwrights, Screenwriters, and Scriptwriters at the Crossroads,” a public gathering of writers, scholars, literary professionals, performers, students and the general public. Over the last decade, we have seen an increase in writing 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.

Their work provides a different lens or a counternarrative that allows the public to deepen its knowledge, understanding, and perception of Black literature and to re-examine its assumptions, beliefs, and values about the experiences faced by Blacks throughout the diaspora. These writers interrogate their interior lives and collective experiences and document their stories in a country where racism, sexual violence, gender discrimination, alienation, miseducation, immigration, and cultural conflicts are very present. Their writing provides a Black gaze and represents stories that have not been told and voices that have been silenced or marginalized. The issues on which they focus portray the core of the human experience.

Through panels, roundtable discussions, film screenings, dramatic readings, writing workshops, and a town hall meeting, the general public, writers, scholars, and performance artists will consider the following:

  • How do racial politics, societal injustices, and socioeconomic challenges influence character, plot, and viewpoint in works by playwright, screenwriters, and scriptwriters?
  • In what ways are Black playwrights, screenwriters, and scriptwriters providing the Black gaze in the work they create?
  • How do gender and identity politics impact the plays supported and produced on stage, the films produced in the theater, and the scripts created for television?
  • Do we need more complex and nuanced stories in theater, film, and television?
  • How has hip-hop culture influenced and shaped the plays, films, and television scripts created by Black playwrights, screenwriters, and scriptwriters?
  • What are the trends in experimental theater and independent films by Black playwrights and screenwriters?
  • What is the role of the media, critics, and reviewers in shaping the writing of playwrights and screenwriters and in bringing the dramatic play to the stage and the screenplay to the screen?
  • What are the current and future trends in plays, screenplays, and scripts written by Black writers?


More questions? Visit our (FAQ) Frequently Asked Questions 

Center for Black Literature at Medgar Evers College, CUNY:

E-mail: writers@mec.cuny.edu

Phone: 718-804-8883