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Wednesday, March 23, 2011


Contact: Joy Doss
Phone: 646.489.4432

Contact: Clarence V. Reynolds
Phone: 718-804-8883

NATIONAL- The National Black Writers Conference Biannual Symposium will be held on Saturday, March 26, 2011, 10 A.M. – 5 P.M. at Medgar Evers College, CUNY, in New York City. This year's theme is "Honoring the Work and Life of August Wilson." Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright August Wilson was a major contributor to the canon of American literature. From Jitney, Ma Rainey's Black Bottom and Fences to Joe Turner's Come and Gone and Radio Golf, Wilson's legacy consists of a cycle of 10 powerful plays that depict the African-American experience in the twentieth century, each set in a different decade. His work explores themes such as racism, cultural identity, family relationships, and spirituality. The symposium is dedicated to exploring his work, in particular the impact of the cultural and historical themes of his work on the Black American experience and in literature.

The New York Times stated that Wilson's plays "will stand as a landmark in the history of Black culture, of American literature and of Broadway theater." The day-long symposium will feature dramatic readings by acclaimed actors Jeffrey Wright, star of A Free Man of Color and Top Dog/Under Dog, and Tanya Wright, author and a cast member of HBO's True Blood. Participating speakers and panelists include Woodie King Jr., founder of the New Federal Theatre; playwrights Thomas Bradshaw and Ed Bullins; Professor Dale Byam, director of the film August in April; scholars Kimberly C. Ellis, Donald Gagnon, Paul Carter Harrison, and Esmeralda Simmons.

"August Wilson's rich plays gave life and voice to the struggles of Black people in this country; our celebration of his work and life meets the Center's mission to expand the literary canon and the general public's knowledge of the literature produced by black writers" stated Dr. Brenda Greene, Executive Director of the Center for Black Literature.
The cost for this event is a $10 general donation; $5, senior citizens, students and faculty (with ID). This event is opened to the public. Visit the Web site for more information,

The National Black Writers Conference (NBWC), inspired by the late John Oliver Killens in 1986, brings together writers, critics, booksellers, book reviewers, educators, students, and the general public in order to establish a dialogue on emerging themes, trends, and issues in black literature. The NBWC is produced by The Center for Black Literature at Medgar Evers College, CUNY.
Co -Sponsored by New York Council for the Humanities, Up South, Inc., and the Medgar Evers College, CUNY, Department of English.

The New York Council for the Humanities helps all New Yorkers lead vibrant intellectual lives by strengthening traditions of cultural literacy, critical inquiry, and civic engagement.

Up South, Inc. is the producer of the annual Up South International Book Festival, held in New York City in the fall. Visit or write for more information.

The Department of English offers students an opportunity to concentrate in three broad areas of English Studies: cross-cultural literature, creative writing, or professional writing. Students study literature from their own culture as well as from other cultures of an increasingly globalized world.

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