When Toni Morrison writes from Lorain, when Gwendolyn Brooks writes from Chicago, when Paule Marshall writes from Brooklyn, their words are shaped by a physical place. But gender and race create their own geography. According to bell hooks, “No black woman writer in this culture can write ‘too much.’ Indeed, no woman writer can write ‘too much’. . . . No woman has ever written enough.”
Join us for a conversation with Ali Black, Charlotte Morgan, Michelle Smith, and Dr. Mary E. Weems as they talk about their experience as Black Women Writers in Cleveland and read from their work. Refreshments served, courtesy of the Friends of South Euclid-Lyndhurst Branch.
Ali Black is a writer, educator, consultant, and youth advocate. She directs Sisterhood, a literacy based after-school and summer program for girls at West Side Community House. Black has taught and performed at Playhouse Square, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the Juvenile Detention Center, and various schools throughout Cuyahoga County and elsewhere. She is the co-founder of acerbic, which is a multi-disciplinary arts collective dedicated to providing a safe and resourceful home to artists of color. Black is the poetry editor at Gordon Square Review, and her work has appeared in A Race Anthology: Dispatches and Artifacts From a Segregated City, December Magazine and the Academy of American Poets.
Charlotte Morgan holds a Masters in English (Creative Writing) from Cleveland State University where she has taught Composition and Intro to Fiction. Charlotte’s passion is helping people find their creative cultural voices. In 2018, she worked on Cleveland Stories, an anthology published by Literary Cleveland. She found new writers and contributed a piece to the collection. Presently she is polishing "Glenville: My Side of Paradise,” a memoir on race and place.
Michelle R. Smith is an admitted Netflix addict that between watching stand up specials, dark comedies, and music documentaries manages to write poems, tell stories, teach college kids, and be a loving mother and wife. She is the author of the poetry collection Ariel in Black, and she is currently working on a new collection entitled Real Jazz Wives of 20th Century America. Her current creative idols are Ali Wong, Jodie Comer, Nina Simone, and Colson Whitehead.
Dr. Mary E. Weems is an accomplished author, poet, playwright, and social/cultural foundations scholar. She is also the current Writer in Residence at Cuyahoga County Public Library. Her work is inspired by the human condition and by what is happening to Black people in America around issues of race, gender and class. To date, Weems has authored thirteen books and her plays and/or excerpts have been published or produced for nearly two decades. Her play MEAT was selected for a staged reading at the National Black Theatre Festival in 2011. In 2015, Weems was awarded a Cleveland Arts Prize. Career highlights include receiving a Wick Chapbook award and a Chilcote Award, and being nominated for a Pushcart prize and two Ohioana Book Awards.
Co-sponsored by Writers House at Case Western Reserve University.