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Writing Across Borders
Empire State College
New York, NY
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The National Writers Union, The Harry Van Arsdale Jr. Center for Labor Studies and La Casa Azul Bookstore Invite you to

An International Writers Conference
Saturday, June 1, 2013, 8:00 am - 6:00 pm
Empire State College
325 Hudson Street (entrance on Van Dam Street)
New York, NY

Opening Plenary Speakers:
Ninotchka Rosca              
Esther Armah                    
Sergio Troncoso  

At a time of unprecedented migration, when families are divided and communities shattered, writers can provide a vital historical record, a public voice of protest at social injustice and a healing balm.

Writers are able to bridge the gaps among communities through depicting the experiences of diverse people that often prove to be more similar than different, while, at the same time, attempting to fight widespread injustices of forced deportation and economic migration.

Writers now have the additional tools of Internet publishing and social media, which provide a window on the world, enabling the virtual crossing of borders and, perhaps, the redefining of  personal loyalties and the exploration of such issues as nationalism, internationalism and tribal or ethnic loyalties.

The conference will explore all of these issues, as well as engage the writing community in a discussion of our role and responsibilities at this moment of economic upheaval and unprecedented movement across borders.

8:00-9:00 am
Registration, Continental Breakfast, Visit Literature Tables

Breaking out of an ethnic readership to a mainstream audience - IS there a mainstream anymore, or is that a myth upheld by agents and publishers? If publishers still pitch their books to a mainstream audience, how difficult is it for writers who tell the story of ethnic minorities to overcome this in order to reach a wider (majority) audience? Or is it necessary to cross over to be a successful author?

How can writers introduce readers to the lives of migrants from other regions/ethnicities in order to break down borders and overcome stereotypes?How can writers help build international solidarity and reduce prejudice and discrimination against immigrants?Does introducing readers to the lives and experiences of migrants overcome stereotypes? Do these stories engender compassion and understanding for migrants in our community? Or is this a myth?

11:00-11:30 Book signing by panelists


2a. Migration and Immigration: Memoir and Historical Fiction about leaving home, establishing new communities, adapting to new cultures while holding on to your own.

Dahlma Llanos Figueroa, moderator.
Danielle Georges                    
Tiziana Rinaldi                        
Elsie Augustave

2b. New Writers Workshop: new writers will bring the first 10 pages of their work, a 100-150 word back-of-the-book summary, an estimate of the target audience, and a marketing plan. Veteran writers/agents will listen to the pitch and first couple of pages and provide feedback, encouragement, and guidance.

Ceclia McCall, moderator.

Lunch; visit literature tables.

3.a Race & Gender: The legacy of slavery and the oppression of women.  Stories of escape from abuse and the struggle for equal rights around the world.

Herb Boyd, moderator.
Marivir Montebon    
Patrick Delices    
Marva Allen                

3b. Self-publish & Reprint Your Book: Te pros and cons and nuts and bolts of self-publishing, including how to maintain ownership and prevent piracy of your work.

Tim Sheard, moderator.

Cocktail Party & Book Table Visit.


Marva Allen, Hue-Man, CEO

Marva Allen was past president and a co-owner of USI, a multi-million dollar technology firm in Southfield, MI, that was thrice nominated for the Ernst & Young Entrepreneurship Award.  Allen is the recipient of numerous business awards, including The IBM & Kodak Excellence Award, MMBDC Diamond Award, Crain's Business 40 Under 40 Award for significantly achieving in business before her 40th birthday. Allen, a nominee as one of the Top 100 Most Influential Women in Michigan joined Hue-Man, as a majority partner and CEO in 2004.  Under her stewardship, the bookstore gained worldwide brand recognition.

Allen is the author of two successfully self published books, Protegee (1993) which sold well over 10 thousand copies in a time when Self publishing had never been heard of and Camouflage (2000) the sequel, which also enjoyed  similar success. Her new novel If I Should Die Tonightis in the works.

A past national speaker and lecturer on entrepreneurship and a tour speaker for African-American Women on tour, Allen's footprint spans several disciplines. Allen holds a BSN from SGI in England, a B.S in Biology from the University of Michigan and an M.S in Health & Business Administration.  She was a past member of the U of M CSP Board, Eastern Michigan Hospitality Board, the IBM Great Lakes Region Board, the General Motors Diversity Board, a member of the Board of Trustees for St. Hope Leadership Academy founded by NBA player Kevin Johnson and LitWorld, an organization concerned with literacy around the world.  A trustee of the Neighborhood Charter School of Harlem, Ms. Allen is committed to providing options for underserved communities.  Ms. Allen also serves as Director for the Melvin Van Peebles Foundation, which has as its main objective a focus on STEM. A recipient of the 2008 New York Urban League Frederick Douglass Award, Allen has received many proclamations and citations for the community of Harlem. Allen has been the go to person for books of color for NPR, NBC and has been featured in the New York Times, NYSE Diversity Magazine (she rang the closing bell for Wall Street) Time Out, Sister to Sister, Black Enterprise, PGW Magazine, Amsterdam News. She also appeared on Good Morning America as spokesperson for her previous technology company.  

Allen has been instrumental in the success of many authors' books creating one of a kind events which have enjoy enormous success and spearheading the First Literary Festival in Anguilla. She is the go to person for many high profile authors in need of help marketing their books.  A partner in the imprint Open Lens, which published the acclaimed Makeda from Randall Robinson, and the upcoming The Roving Tree from Haitan author Elsie Agustave, Allen understands both sides of the publishing industry.  

Esther Armah

Armah was born in London, England to Kwesi Armah, a Ghanaian politician and ambassador to the United Kingdom, and his wife, Esther Yaa Ageymang Armah. She was raised in both England and her homeland. She was in Ghana during the 1966 Ghana military coup while her father was on a diplomatic mission to Vietnam. She and the rest of her family were attacked by soldiers soon after the coup began, and her mother was nearly murdered.[2] They spent two years under house arrest before being allowed to return to England.

In London, Armah hosted the current affairs radio program Talking Africa before becoming a researcher and reporter for BBC Radio and BBC World Service. She was a contributor to Crossing Continents and Law in Action. She was also a presenter for the BBC television series Black Britain and Panorama.[4] At Panorama, she produced a program investigating the death of Damilola Taylor.

In New York City, she hosts WBAI's morning drive time program, Wakeup Call Mondays through Thursdays.Previously she hosted that station's program Connections. She is also an occasional guest on the MSNBC weekend shows Up with Chris Hayes and Melissa Harris-Perry.

Armah has written an autobiography, Can I Be Me?, as well as three plays: Forgive Me?, Entitled! and Saviour?. She has also written pieces for The Guardian and for Essence magazine. Armah's works and radio programs explore issues of social justice, race and gender, especially regarding the African diaspora in England and the United States.

Herb Boyd

Herb Boyd (born November 1, 1938) is an American journalist, educator, author, and activist. His articles appear regularly in the New York Amsterdam News. He teaches black studies at the City College of New York and the College of New Rochelle.

Boyd was born in Birmingham, Alabama, and grew up in Detroit, Michigan.[1][3] Boyd met Malcolm X in 1958 and credits him as an inspiration: "[He] set me on the path to become the writer-activist I am, to try to live up to the very ennobling things that he represented."

Boyd attended Wayne State University. During the late 1960s, Boyd helped establish the first black studies classes there. He went on to teach at the university for 12 years.

Beside the Amsterdam News, Boyd's work has been published in The Black Scholar, The City Sun, Down Beat, Emerge, and Essence.nHe has been recognized with awards from the National Association of Black Journalists and the New York Association of Black Journalists.

Brotherman, which Boyd co-edited with Robert L. Allen, was given the 1995 American Book Award. His biography Baldwin's Harlem was nominated for an NAACP Image Award in 2009. Boyd was managing editor of The Black World Today, a now-defunct online news service.

Selected works
African History for Beginners
Autobiography of a People: Three Centuries of African-American History Told by Those Who Lived It (editor)
Baldwin's Harlem: A Biography of James Baldwin
Brotherman: The Odyssey of Black Men in America (co-editor with Robert L. Allen)
By Any Means Necessary: Malcolm X: Real, Not Reinvented (co-editor with Ron Daniels, Maulana Karenga, and Haki R. Madhubuti)
We Shall Overcome: The History of the Civil Rights Movement as It Happened

Patrick Delices

Professor Patrick Delices is a seasoned professional with considerable experience as a community activist, college professor, and media / communication specialist, where he has served as the managing multi-media editor for Columbia University's Communiqué and as a digital, production, and editorial assistant for the Journal of International Affairs.

Professor Delices also published "The Digital Economy" in the Journal of International Affairs, and worked as a research fellow for the late Dr. Manning Marable at the Center For Contemporary Black History, Institute for the Research of African-American Studies and the School of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University.  Currently, he is assisting Herb Boyd, award winning journalist and historian, regarding his upcoming book on Malcolm X's journey to Africa.

Professor Delices's work can be reviewed at the Haitian Times, the New York Amsterdam, Communiqué, and the Journal of International Affairs.

Professor Delices has earned an Ed.M in Higher Education Administration from Teachers College, Columbia University; an MBA in Quantitative Finance, Global Business, and Business Law from the Stern School of Business at New York University; and an MPA in International Economics Policy and Management from the School of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University.  Professor Delices also holds a certificate in Performance Measurement and Management from Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.  

Dahlma Llanos Figueroa

Dahlma was born in Puerto Rico and raised in New York City. She is a product of the Puerto Rican communities on the island and in the South Bronx. She attended the NYC public school system and got her academic degrees from SUNY-Buffalo and Queens College. As a child she was sent to live with her grandparents in Puerto Rico where she was introduced to the culture of rural Puerto Rico, including the storytelling that came naturally to the women, especially the older women, in her family. Much of her work is based on her experiences during this time. Dahlma taught creative writing, language and literature in the New York City School system before becoming a young adult librarian. She has also taught creative writing to teenagers, adults and senior citizens throughout NYC while honing her own skills as a fiction writer and memoirist. Since her retirement, she has dedicated herself to her writing. Dahlma lives in the Bronx with her husband, Jonathan Lessuck

Timothy Sheard

Timothy Sheard is a veteran critical care and infectious disease nurse, the author of six highly acclaimed crime novels, owner of Hard Ball Press  dedicated to publishing working class authors  and an organizer with the New York Chapter of the National Writers Union. He lives with his wife Mary in Brooklyn.
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Empire State College (View)
325 Hudson Street (entrance on Van Dam Street)
New York, NY 10013
United States

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Education > Classes
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