DC Black Pride and Fire & Ink Presents!
Hyatt Regency Hotel, room Congressional A, 400 New Jersey Ave. N.W., Washington, DC 20001. Saturday, May 26, 2012, 11am-12:30pm.
“Why Do You Write/Read and How Do You Succeed?” Panelists Rashid Darden, LaToya Hankins, J. Renee LaCour, Spectra Speaks, Red Summer, T’Ego and Dwayne Vernon
Join this panel of poetry, fiction and nonfiction writers as they discuss what motivates them to produce work, and how the books they read and the lives they live inform their writing in terms of subject matter, style, form, target audience and other literary choices. These authors will also tackle the complex question of what “success” means to them as individuals, artists and educators in today’s literary and media marketplace and how they are striving to achieve that success. Hosted by Fire & Ink!
Rashid Darden is a novelist, nonprofit professional and educator. Born and raised in Washington, D.C., Darden is a member of Alpha Phi Omega and Alpha Phi Alpha and is executive director of Gamma Xi Phi arts fraternity. His first novel, Lazarus (2005), published to great acclaim, is the story of Adrian Collins, a gay college sophomore who pledges a predominantly black fraternity; the tale is now a trilogy, with Covenant (2011) and the newly released Epiphany (2012), as well as related poetry in The Life and Death of Savion Cortez (2011). He is currently working on two nonfiction books and a novella of urban fantasy. www.oldgoldsoul.com
A native of North Carolina, La Toya Hankins is a woman of many talents. Armed with a degree in journalism, Hankins earned awards as a print journalist for seven years before working in the banking industry; she is currently employed by the state of North Carolina. Hankins is a member of Zeta Phi Beta, and serves as co-chair of Shades of Pride, organizer of Triangle Black Pride in North Carolina. Her first novel, SBF Seeking…, was published in January 2012; Hankins is working on her second novel, K-Rho: The Sweet Taste of Sisterhood. Her motto, borrowed from Zora Neale Hurston, is “I do not weep at the world; I am too busy sharpening my oyster knife.” http://latoyahankins.com
A passion for visual arts and storytelling gave J. Rene LaCour (aka Jamie Balthazar) her start in the field of writing and producing in the television industry. During the past 20 years, she has demonstrated those talents while working at cable networks, BET and BBC America. Currently, she is co-owner, director and executive producer of Ruby Red, Inc., a media production company based in Beverly Hills, CA. LaCour?s first novel, The Unsimple Truth (2012), takes a bold look at relationships, sexual fluidity and intimacy in a world where the truth is often hard to find. “The Unsimple Truth is an adventure that stays with you after putting the book down and is guaranteed not to disappoint,” says USA Today. Currently she spends her time between Los Angeles and her hometown, New Orleans, where she finds inspiration in its incomparable music, food and people. www.theunsimpletruth.com
Spectra Speaks is an award-winning Nigerian writer, women’s rights activist, and the voice behind the African feminist media blog, Spectra Speaks, which publishes global news and opinions about all things gender, pop culture, media, and the Diaspora. She is also the founding executive editor of Queer Women of Color and Friends (QWOC+ Media (www.qwoc.org), a grassroots organization and media collective that amplifies the voices of lesbian, bisexual, transgender and/or queer women of color, native, immigrant and diaspora voices. Spectra’s writing has been published in a variety of print and online media outlets, including Color Magazine, Racialicious, Gender Across Borders, Role Reboot, and Bitch and Curve magazines. She is currently working on an anthology of LGBT African women’s stories, and will be traveling through southern Africa for six months collecting untold stories.” www.spectraspeaks.com
Red Summer is an activist, poet, performance artist, filmmaker, writer and publisher who has made a career of speaking up and speaking out. A native of Chicago, where she honed her talent with POW WOW and Young Chicago Authors, she currently lives in Atlanta, where she oversees Two Fingers Press and is executive director of Verbal Remedies, an organization that empowers and mentors young people through creative programming and self-esteem workshops. She uses the stage to give voice to those who have been silenced; she uses the power of her pen to articulate, captivate, educate, motivate and activate. Her poetry includes Shades of Red, a spoken word CD; and the books First Person and the hot-off-the-press Raw Sugar. http://theredsummerexperience.com
The writer T’Ego was a young princess when she began her writing career. She spent endless summer days typing out dramatic epics resembling the adulthood she wanted to pursue. Her early writing has been included in anthologies and journals in the United States and France. She has explored the mid-Atlantic states and the southwestern coast of the U.S., and the continent of Asia, seeking new inspirations and life experiences. Currently T’Ego resides in the DC Metro area where she enjoys shouting at people on karaoke stages around town and chasing her pitbull, Ava, through fields of dandelions. Closet Space, an art novel of a woman’s coming out journey, is her first published book.?http://www.lulu.com/shop/tego/closet-space/paperback/product-20034517.html
Dwayne Vernon is a man of multiple talents. Originally from Portsmouth, VA, Vernon completed six years of active duty service with the U.S. Navy, then worked many years at Xerox before landing at his current job with the federal government in Washington, D.C. He mentors young children through the Big Brother/Big Sister program; has read weekly to third and fourth graders as part of the Everybody Wins Project; is a male model and trains male and female models; and writes poetry and fiction. His urban fiction novels are My Man, My Boyz (2007); Deception, Lies and Truth (2009); Roman (2011); and the newly released Vengeance (2012). www.dwaynevernon.com
Moderator Steven G. Fullwood is an archivist at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in New York City, where he runs the Black Gay & Lesbian Archive (BGLA); founder of Vintage Entity Press; and co-president of Fire & Ink, Incorporated, an advocacy organization for LGBT writers of African descent. www.fireandink.org
To learn more about the authors, go to Fire & Ink’s website.