Talkshops- for NBWC 2018 Registrants ONLY.

14th National Black Writers Conference

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

Thursday, March 22, 2018 – Sunday, March 25, 2018

Talkshop listing:

Talkshops and One-on-One sessions are for registered conference attendees ONLY. One day registration is available here. Present tickets at the registration table.

If you register for two (2) Talkshops use the code “Like2talkshop” for a 15% discount.

Limited capacity for each.

Full descriptions for talkshops below ticket listing.



Day 1: Thursday, March 22 – No Talkshops or One-on-One’s this day.

Day 2: Friday, March 23

Writing Talkshops:

10:00 AM – 11:45 AM: Fiction with Victor LaValle- Room TBA

You want to write a novel, but as you’ve learned easier said than done. While inspiration and enthusiasm are great they don’t help you figure out how to organize all those pages you’ve written. We’ll discuss basic questions about how novels are structured, how to map out the motivations of your characters, how to identify (or create) a good antagonist, how to create a dramatically interesting narrative for the reader to follow and more. This is going to be a talk about the mechanics of a novel, nuts-and-bolts stuff.

10:00 AM – 11:45 AM: Poetry with Keisha-Gaye Anderson – Room TBA

This talkshop will explore how memory—actual, imagined and re-imagined—is used in African American poetics to witness, communicate and construct collective realities, while also serving as a call to activism and social change. Through close examination of language, structure, form and other devices used within selected poems from the African American literary tradition, workshop participants will become familiar with approaches to this craft that focus on powerfully commemorating, documenting, and witnessing subjective and collective struggle endemic to the black experience. Participants will employ this understanding in creating their own poems for sharing with other workshop participants.


Day 3: Saturday, March 24

10:00 AM – 11:45 AM:

Book Proposals: Regina Brooks – Room TBD

If you have an idea for a book or have already written one but now you have to find an agent or editor, you’ll need a book proposal. This workshop is designed to walk you step by step through the book proposal development process. It is designed to help you understand each section of the proposal and why it’s meaningful to the publishers and the people that will ultimately bring your book to life.


10:00 AM – 11:45 AM: Fiction with Donna Hill – Room TBD

Get started by working with established, published author Donna Hill and learn tools to hone the craft of creative writing. Are you interested in starting or finishing your novel? How about completing that short story you have been stuck on? Beginners are welcome. Limited capacity.



1:00 PM – 3:00 PM: One-on-One Sessions with Agents and Editors – slots listed separately.


Day 4: Sunday, March 25

10:00 AM – 11:45 AM: Book Proposals with Regina Brooks – Room TBD
10:00 AM – 11:45 AM: Fiction with Nicole Dennis-Benn- Room TBD

Writing the Lovable & Unlovable Character (A One Day Bootcamp)

In fiction, we know that characters are the heart of any story. One can love them or one can hate them—both emotions coming from the same place: Interest. What makes a story a story is dynamic characters behaving badly or making unpopular decisions. The true question is how to get the reader to care about the choices these people make and be willing to follow them on a journey. This session is geared toward character development. The goal is to give participants the tools to craft complex, rounded characters. Come prepared to read and write!

10:00 AM – 11:45 AM: Publishing with Troy Johnson & Paul Coates- Room TBD

Paul Coates, founder of Black Classic Press and BCP Digital Printing; and Troy Johnson, founder of The African American Literature Book Club ( will show writers how to independently publish their best possible book.  The topic covered will include editing, design, printing, distribution, promotion, and more.


1:00 PM – 3:00 PM: One-on-One Sessions with Agents and Editors – slots listed separately.