Dipping the bucket: Day One at the NBWC

Today was my first day at the National Black Writers’ Conference.  I started writing this post while listening to Edwidge Danticat give an excellent response during a Q&A.  It’s alwasy inspiring to sit and listen to wonderful writers sharing, laughing with the group, calling out the harder truths.

Differences from last time?  So many women!  In the audience, on the panels, moderating.  Excellent.  And, even better, (so far) no woman-bashing.  And folks from all over the place: England, Ohio, Pennsylania, Georgia, Canada, Germany, Tennesse … this is definitely a more national (and international) conference than it was when I was here the first time.

Panel discussions this year are far-reaching and thought-provoking: “The Impact of Hip-Hop and Popular Culture on the Literature of Black Writers,” “The Black Writer as Literary Activist,” “Shifting Identities: The Black Writer in the African Diaspora,” “Black Writers Reconstructing the Master Narrative,” “The Impact of the Internet: Blogging, Publishing and Writing.”  There are readings, music performances, a school-age program (which was yesterday and included the wonderfully talented Zetta Elliot).  Sonia Sanchez, Colson Whitehead, Amiri Baraka, Gil Scott-Heron, Talib Kweli and (the heart-stoppingly-awesome) Toni Morrison are all going to be here.

It’s only my first day, and I’m already feeling the effects.  Something about these kinds of conversations always makes me happy.  I probably won’t be one of the people who gets up during a Q&A and furthers the dialogue by adding my question — that’s not how I process, I need time to let things sink in — but I’m loving every minute of the listening, looking forward to taking everything home and carefully savoring each bit.


Check out the rest of the slices of life over at Stacey and Ruth’s.


4 thoughts on “Dipping the bucket: Day One at the NBWC

  1. molly

    Thank you for saying the thing about needing time to process. In my case, there is that, but also a basic shyness, which I suspect as being hermitness more than modesty. I usually think I have a pretty good question … two days later. It would be nice to be able to have a second Q & A, when people like us are ready with their questions. I don’t know that I would ever feel like exhibiting my question, though. Sometimes I do feel that way about the questions, as if the person were just wanting to be one of the ones who spoke. To Toni Morrison, for example. I think I would be more inclined to prostrate myself at her feet than ask her a question. Or, say, bow very, very deeply. Not because I am unworthy, but because she is so fantastic.
    I am so glad you have taken this time and have this opportunity.


    1. I have a pretty health amount of shyness, too, Molly. I always worry that anything I think to ask will be too simple, too silly … but, like you, I’m really good with the questions two days after the fact! And yes, I would totally prostrate myself at Ms. Morrison’s feet.


  2. elliottzetta

    just the thought of back to back panels sends me into sensory overload! thanks for the shout out–if you’re not completely exhausted by Sunday and want to meet for tea before or after, let me know!


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