Literary Workshops & Conference

Saturday, May 23 @ 10:00 am to 4:00 pm – Place: TBA

Highlights of Workshops, Panel Discussions, Author Readings & Performances Available


Workshop: Afrofuturism and Do-It-Yourself Time Travel | Presenter: Rasheedah Phillips

Explore the concepts of afrofuturism, metaphysics, and African traditions of space and time, using Phillip’s book, “Recurrence Plot (and Other Time Travel Tales)” and Octavia Butler’s novel “Kindred.”



bettyWorkshop: ”A Small Candlelight” – Keeping Hope Alive! | Presenter: Betty Jean Thompson “Nobles”

Identify realistic healing approaches that can help formerly incarcerated individuals, their families and communities manage and/ or minimize the oppressive nature of Incarceration.  Ultimately, the participants in this workshop will use dramatic readings, art, journal writing, poetry and music to promote personal and community responsibility, bonding and sharing.


sandraWorkshop: Word Play| Presenter: Sandra Turner-Barnes

A creative writing workshop for emerging and established poets and authors offering the opportunity to “Play” with words in order to explore and improve individual creativity and ability, and/or to unlock writers’ block. Participants will explore creating new and inspiring work using the human senses: sight, sound, taste, smell, and/or touch, while enjoying the journey.


malcolmWorkshop: Be the Parent of Your Child’s Dreams | Presenter: Malcolm Bonner

With so much media and institutional emphasis on labeling, controlling, and punishing our children, we as a society have lost touch with the most important element; to love our children.  Learn to practice principles of recovery such as honesty, compassion, open mindedness, forgiveness, acceptance, and unconditional love with your own children.



Author Reading: Poetry Reading | Presenter: Neal Hall, M.D.

Dr. Hall‘s writings and readings bear strong witness to his passionate belief in equality and our collective rights to think, live and make harmonious decision based on our common good.





Performance:  Where Art Meets Culture | Presenter: Aziza Kebe

A dramatic poetry reading infusing history, art, and culture to cultivate positive images of African American life.





Workshop: Knowing without Believing is like Chewing without Swallowing | Presenter: Krista Nelson

After a lifetime of journal keeping and years of studying Jack Canfield, Lisa Nichols, Deepak Chopra, and others, Krista Nelson has developed a six-step process of transformation anyone can use, in any place, and at any time to overcome the two common obstacles that prevent most of us from creating the life of our dreams; not knowing and not believing. When we can envision what our dream life looks like and believe that our dream-life is possible, we can create the life of our dreams.



Workshop: Character, Setting and Plot Oh My! Elements Necessary in Writing a Novel | Presenter: Alice Wootson






Author Reading: Brief Evidence of Heaven: Poems from the Life of Anna Murray Douglass | Presenter: Nzadi Keita

Imagine the world of Frederick Douglass’s first wife, Anna Murray Douglass, mother of five and Underground Railroad conductor who was thought to be illiterate.




Performance: Two Weeks/Notes in Philadelphia | Presenter: Camae Dennis

Hear a poetry reading with accompanied soundscapes on current events taking place in Philadelphia and other marginalized communities around the world.




roshAuthor Reading: The First Ten Years | Presenter: Roshaunda Cade

This work highlights the complexities of living the life of a Christian, middle class, black family, but it transcends those boundaries because it also exemplifies our humanity. The stories of Cade’s children ultimately reflect what has been important to her as their mother – that they understand that life is full of racism, prejudice, inequality, joy, laughter, creativity, and that God‘s love manifests in all of it.


courtPerformance: The Struggle for Change | Presenter: Courtney Gambrell

As a response to recent national tragedies, Courtney begun writing compelling poetry about social injustice. Specially, she has concentrated on Ferguson, Missouri, and victims whose perpetrators have been acquitted. Her poetic voice aims to raise awareness to these issues using creativity as a medium.



billWorkshop: Write Here! Write Now! | Presenter: Bill Holmes

Write Here! Write Now! is a motivational workshop to empower individuals interested in pursuing their artistic endeavors through the power of writing. This workshop is open to all artists and writers of any genre. Participants will engage in exercises that will challenge their creativity. Upon the workshop‘s conclusion, participants will feel encouraged to develop their passion to write; discover the relationship between spirituality and creativity; and hold themselves accountable to stay committed to pursuing their passion.


nailaPanel Discussion: Listen To the Music | Presenter: Naila Mattison

We hear music all around us, walking down the street, playing in our cars, listening to our streaming devices, but do we ever think about what we’re taking in. Do we actually pay attention to the words, atop the drum machines, or are we just absorbing imagery that could be having a harmful impact on how we live our lives.



rorieAuthor Reading: Flashbang: Sci-Fi Stories That Will Blow Your Mind! | Presenter: Rorie Still

“Flashbang: Sci-Fi Stories That Will Blow Your Mind!” is a compilation of six science-fiction short stories.  The theme that ties all these stories together is that each of the characters is searching for something. Be it a sense of peace, confidence, or freedom, each of these people, varying colors of the human and not so human rainbow, needs something desperately.



Author Reading: 7:17 | Presenter: Rayna Gray

Three years ago, Gray wrote a memoir titled “7:17″. From the day she was born, she has gone through many trials and tribulations that have led her to tell this story. “7:17″ is a small literary work that is packed with power, hope and perseverance. Gray prays that “7:17″ will affect the lives of everyone that reads it.



satyaAuthor Reading: Finding Your Voice & Creating with Confidence | Presenter: Satya Nelms

“Hello Morning” follows its main character, Shae, through a very critical period in her life. From the outside Shae’s life looks perfect. Great job, great boyfriend, great apartment… but looks can be deceiving. She has spent all her life trying to make other people happy, surviving on the approval of others. But now, Shae has reached her breaking point. She must make a decision: continue life as she has always known it, or break free from her pattern and take a chance at true happiness.


elaine_t._jonesAuthor Reading: Aunt Donsy’s Trunk | Presenter: Elaine Jones

Aunt Donsy’s Trunk is a book that was always in Jones’ head. As the family matriarch, she felt compelled to make sure the record was clear and understandable about the foundation and development of her family. Jones hopes the story of her family will help the reader: have a better understanding of the trials and tribulations their ancestors suffered in yesteryear, respect the opportunities offered to them today and tomorrow, and learn from the life experiences of others.


duewaWorkshop: Historical Reverence, Urban Realism & Magical Folklore: The Legacy of African American Children‘s Literature | Presenter: DuEwa Frazier

The legacy of African American children‘s literature holds within it, a collection of voices from past to present who have made substantial contributions to black literature. Award winning authors such as Virginia Hamilton, Walter Dean Myers, recent National Book Award winner Jacqueline Woodson, and more have stood as representations of excellence, giving black and brown children literary jewels with the inclusion of realistic and urban fiction, folklore, culture studies and poetic language.

tinaAuthor Reading: Tina Brown | Presenter: Tina Brown

Take part in an author reading surrounding the past of Brown and life challenges others have shared with her.




loriWorkshop: Black Hair Stories: Writing All the Way to the Roots | Presenter: Lori Tharps

A creative writing workshop where participants mine their own hair experiences to write either fiction or nonfiction “hair stories” of their own. A way to explore culture, kinks, and community, hair stories are often the easiest way to get at some of our deepest issues and fondest memories.



akilPanel Discussion: Removal from Obscurity: Frances Ellen Watkins Harper and Frederick Douglass | Presenter: Akil Parker

An interactive workshop that engages the audience with the writings of the great Frances Ellen Watkins Harper and Frederick Douglass and motivates the study of them on a more regular basis. An emphasis will be placed on identifying parallels in the African-American experience of the 19th and 21st centuries in order to establish relevancy for the youth of today.


christineAuthor Reading: The Truth About Awiti | Presenter: Christine Platt Patrick

It is undisputed many tropical storms and hurricanes start off the coast of West Africa. There is a commonly held belief these natural disasters are not natural at all. Rather, these massive storms and the damage and fatalities they cause are intentional – retaliation by restless spirits impacted by the transatlantic slave trade. Awiti is one of these spirits. But there is more to Awiti than creating hurricanes.  The Truth About Awiti is a historical fantasy novel that will leave its readers questioning the impact of the transatlantic slave trade on the physical and spiritual realms.


randyAuthor Reading: The Bodyguards – A Response From The Black Church to Brutality | Presenter: Randy Miller

The Bodyguards captures the fear and trepidation felt by many African American parents upon hearing the events surrounding the deaths of Trayvon Martin, Jordan Davis and others like them in this story of Black fathers who did what they thought was best.



hunterAuthor Reading: How a Poor Black Boy from Philadelphia Rose to Become a Two Time Negro League Baseball All-Star | Presenter: Al Hunter Jr.

“Thou Shalt Not Steal” is the lively, award-winning autobiography of Bill “Ready” Cash, who played for the Negro Leagues’ Philadelphia Stars from 1943-1950. Raised in the Eastwick section of Philadelphia, Bill was a two-time Negro League All-Star and considered one of the league’s best defensive catchers.


janellePerformance: A Smile’s Revelation | Presenter: Janelle Harvey

‘A Smile’s Revelation’ is a piece acknowledging the beauty of women that is often misperceived as a result of obscurity. It summarizes character challenges women experience based on society’s perception of happiness and beauty that is refuted in unseen ways. This piece brings awareness to the significance of expectations and its perils when they are incorrect as well as an awareness for the need to influence the pursuit of expanding one’s mind beyond traditional teachings.


kimWorkshop: The Secrets of Our History | Presenter: Kimberly Mayes

Pathways to Healing is a God-breathed and life-altering devotional based on the amazing life of the author, Kimberly R. Mayes. It is through the lenses of God each survivor taking the Pathways to Healing journey can see herself as God sees her. Pathways to Healing dives into the feelings, emotions and minds of a survivor of sexual abuse to bring the true essence of who she is to the surface, while drowning the history of her past. It is through God‘s grace, love, and healing each woman who journey‘s through this devotional is a better woman.


paulPerformance: U Suite U | Presenter: Paul Giess

“U Suite U” is a jazz suite inspired by songs sung to open and close services at Giess’ family’s Unitarian Universalist church. The structure of the U.U. Services as well as a variety of experiences in Giess’ life including relationships, births, deaths and spiritual beliefs played a role in the composition of the suite. ”U Suite U” seeks to transcend the physical world through art.



jasminePerformance: Rise | Presenter: Babel

Babel is Temple University’s only poetry collective! They are a group of young poets who seek to uplift, inspire, and inform through the art of spoken word. Babel will feature three poets to perform pieces inspired by the late Dr. Maya Angelou that explore race, womanhood, and self love.



 In Her Words: Celebrating the Transformative Lives of African-American Women | Presenter: Khadijah Ali-Coleman

In Her Words takes us as far back as the 1920‘s, a time when crimes like lynching were legal and the 1940‘s and 50‘s of McCarthyism dictated that you could be accused of treason for any arbitrary thing. Now, imagine creating– amid that environment of oppression– art that transcended race, bled through inequality and uplifted a nation. Enjoy this theatrical musical that explores the intersection of race, gender and social activism through the lives of six legendary African-American creatives.

mikeFilm: Black Film Now | Presenter: Michael Dennis

“Black Film Now” is a 25 minute film that explores the current state of Black Film and features interviews with Spike Lee, Ava DuVernay, Harry Belafonte, Will Packer and more.  Participants will examine the content of the film and place current trends within a historical perspective while attempting to answer the questions, “Where are we now and what needs to happen in order for it to grow?”


chrisAuthor Reading: Remember Legend | Presenter: Christopher Reel

“Remember Legend” is a short story about a writer and his family dealing with early on set Alzheimer.





Workshop: Black Lives Matter: A Model For Culturally Relevant Education | Presenter: Kelli Seaton

This workshop is intended to share a model of culturally responsive education that speaks to the highest outcomes for students and facilitates an opportunity for individuals to reflect on their direct or indirect role in supporting what is best for black children. We must acknowledge the potential disparity between student and teacher in the average classroom, face this country‘s real and difficult history, apply that history to the current reality and view education as a means of achieving social justice.


kimPanel Discussion: The Art of Ending War | Presenter: Kimberly B. Bonner

Historically, music has been used to organize people around political resistance to violence of the nation-state. In this reading, the idea of war is challenged to a point of extinction. What is the art that shapes the end of war? This historical examination is predicated upon the original themes of early hip-hop as the site of investigation. Ultimately, Bonner presents this claim: Ending war is an art-centric mission. When people hear music they are inspired.


rachPanel Discussion: Baby Skeletons | Presenter: Rachel Slaughter

As Eastern University Academy Charter High School seniors, the students participated in a year long writing project where they each wrote a 50 page memoir. They engaged in introspective writing where they explored many sensitive issues of their past including death, regret, hair issues, inner-city living, abuse, and other poignant issues.  Students will read excerpts of their work to stimulate discussions among the audience.


jamiePerformance: Can’t Keep Running Away | Presenter: Jamie Eaddy

A series of poems that examine issues like racism, domestic violence, sexual abuse and other social justice issues.




avrilPerformance: Massive Cover-Up | Presenter: Avril Somerville

“Massive Cover-Up” is a poem that probes deeply into the metaphysical spaces between life and death, inspired by the untimely death, a.k.a. the killing of the young Trayvon Martin in February 2012.
The poem “Massive Cover-Up” can very well apply to scores more Black lives lost to corrupt law enforcement and racial injustice, but it speaks specifically to Trayvon Martin, as Somerville envisioned and grappled with the visual of him outside death’s door.


Keith RogersWorkshop: Wisdom of the Cypher: Hip Hop, Spirituality & Improvisation | Presenter: Toni Blackman

In Hip Hop culture the Cypher represents 360 degrees, giving and exchanging of energy, information and ideas. Whenever you see a gathering of artists in a circle or semi-circle formation, whether it‘s rapping, dancing, or sharing of the spoken word, you‘re witnessing the Cypher. The Cypher is the circle, as stated by ethnomusicologist Dr. Kyra Gaunt, a universal formation that symbolizes everything and nothing at the same time.


Performance: “Things Not Seen” | Presenter: Nikki Younnikg

“Things Not Seen” is a multi-media staged reading presentation that incorporates various visual and audio elements to give the audience a first hand look at this feature film project in development.
Part character study, part conspiracy suspense, “Things Not Seen” explores various sociopolitical issues within the context of one woman‘s discovery of a dangerous secret that causes her to question everything she thought she knew.



Performance: Homeless not Hopeless Poets for Change | Presenter: KT Terry the Poetic Queen

Homeless not Hopeless Poets for Change is a community service organization that uses the arts to change the world.  They are a group of professional artists doing powerful spoken word and vocals.




patPerformance: Poetry Pulls Pain | Presenter: Patricia McLean

Enjoy a poetry reading of McLean’s own works.




marjPerformance: Spoken Word Poetry | Presenter: Marjorie Barnes

A poetry performance that focuses on Barnes’ personal experience as a Black woman and native of Newark, NJ.




lynnPanel Discussion: When Life & Creativity Collide; The Continuation of Creativity | Presenter: Lynn Blackston

This presentation will focus on survival techniques needed to be a creative and performance artist. Lynn Blackston will present a lecture that will focuses on how to continue to be creative in spite of obstacles, difficulties and circumstances that life presents.



aaronWorkshop: Why You’re Not Writing and How to Start | Presenter: Aaron Victor Vaughn

There are creative people who want to write, know they can write, but don‘t. There is not just one underlying reason for all of them, but in this workshop, participants will address several common obstacles, such as feeling too overwhelmed to begin a writing project, loss of clarity, loss of confidence and lack of a healthy support system.



pheralynWorkshop: Emotional Healing through Writing | Presenter: Pheralyn Dove

This transformational workshop created by Pheralyn Dove will lead participants through a series of guided writing exercises and managed moments of sharing, that will allow them to identify and release emotional blockages, anger and pain.



jodyPanel Discussion: My Sister’s Keeper | Presenter: Jody Austin

My Sister’s Keeper is an all women poetry panel designed to discuss topics relating to women, womanhood, young women, race, self-esteem and the many issues affecting us as it relates to women of color in our communities.



teresaPerformance: The Illinois Five | Presenter: Teresa Miller

Enjoy a performance of scenes from Miller’s play, “The Illinois Five”.




andreaPerformance: The Black Body Curve | Presenter: Andrea Walls

Celebrate the World Premiere of an original poetry collection and interactive free-access website called, “The Black Body Curve.”  This work represents a comprehensive response to the May 13th, 1985 bombing of 6221 Osage Ave, the so-called MOVE Bombing. The original poetry collection/web experience is set to debut through West Philadelphia Grassroots Press: Thread Makes Blanket with the support of a Leeway Foundation Arts & Change Grant.


sarPanel Discussion: Creating Resistance, Countering Dominate Narratives, and Demanding Change: Women of Color in Dance | Presenter: Saroya Corbett

Continuing in the tradition of the Urban Bush Women Annual Convening and other movement-based organizing spaces, cultural leaders in dance and Movement invite conference attendees to gather, witness, share, and collectively build and brainstorm empowerment strategies rooted in the history of Black women who have gathered and implemented strategies over multiple years in the performance field as researchers, scholars, educators, and practitioners.

Performance: Family Poetry Collective Poe – Trees Anthology Volume I Presenter: Carolyn Keys

A poetry reading addressing, poetic kings of the pen, sexual assault, and God’s ability to protect for a beautiful purpose.


Panel Discussion: QUARANTINE: A Poetic Conversation About Segregation, Sexuality, & Spirituality in the Black Community | Presenter: Dennis Maurice Dumpson

Quarantine will use the thoughts and expressions from Dumpson’s poetry, monologues, and short stories related to the black experience to open conversations about the diseased views that keep us isolated from each each other.





Performance: Black is Beautiful | Presenter: Evelyn Phoenix

A collection of songs and poems that crossing the genres of Hip Hop, Spoken Word and Soul music. Black is Beautiful is a work that resonates with people from all walks of life encouraging them to find joy regardless of circumstances.




Author Reading: Leonard Anderson Jr. and Kids | Presenter: Leonard Anderson Jr.

Bring the kids for story time with author Leonard Anderson Jr.




princeAuthor Reading: I’mAGine: Danny Yukon & The Secrets of the Amazing Lamp | Presenter: Prince Daniels Jr.

Danny Yukon and the Secrets of the Amazing Lamp is the story of a young boy who overcomes the loss of his father —a U.S. soldier serving in Afghanistan. As a result of the tragedy, Danny becomes mute. At night, his dreams are haunted by a ferocious tiger. It is not until his uncle gives Danny an amazing lamp—and teaches him how to meditate— that he learns the key to his powers lies within.


lauraWorkshop: IMpossible | Presenter: Laura McGill

The IMpossible message aims to break barriers and help one to overcome obstacles by cultivating a powerful state of mind so that nothing appears to be impossible. IMpossible will motivate, empower and inspire youth to use the power of written and vocal self affirmation to push past fears, doubts and move forward in their goals, visions, dreams and aspirations.



Panel Discussion: Cultivating Leadership through Language | Presenter: Mighty Writers’ Teen Scholars

Mighty Writers’ Teen Scholars Present their ideas on developing Black Voices, through the written and spoken word, as tools for dismantling historic systems of oppression.