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Celebrating 10 Years of Honoring Literature by People of the African Diaspora

Killens Review of Arts & Letters

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Call for Papers:

The Fall 2014 issue of the Killens Review of Arts & Letters seeks submissions, fiction, essays, poetry, and artwork that reflect the impact of activism in contemporary literary works and art.

Works are to be submitted by July 14, 2014. 


Killens Review of Arts & Letters, Fall 2014

“Bring It Forward: Activism in Literature Today”

In the 1950s and 1960s, the late John Oliver Killens was considered a premiere writer-activist. While many of his books, such as “Youngblood,” reflect honest and realistic portrayals of African-American experiences there was also the vibrant tone of activism in his telling of the story. Literature and art and politics may have their own distinctive ideals; however, when combined with an activist spirit at its heart the resulting work is powerful and memorable.

This year marks the 60th anniversary of the Brown v. Board of Education decision, and this summer marks the 50th anniversary of both the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Mississippi Summer Project, known as Freedom Summer, in which civil rights organizations including the Congress on Racial Equality (CORE) and Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) organized a voter registration drive aimed at increasing voter registration in Mississippi. More than 1,000 people exhibited their activists’ spirit and voices to oppose social and racial injustice in the South.

Thinking back on these historic events in which activism was galvanized, it calls for reflection upon the ways activism has impacted art and literature—then and now.

Submission of Material

The Killens Review of Arts & Letters is published once or twice a year by the Center for Black Literature at Medgar Evers College, CUNY. The Killens Review seeks book reviews, essays, short stories, creative nonfiction, art, poetry, and interviews related to the various cultural, sociopolitical, and historical experiences of writers and artists from the African diaspora. The aim is to provide well-known and lesser-known authors as well as educators and students opportunities to create and expand the canon of literature produced by people of color.

While the Killens Review of Arts & Letters welcomes unsolicited material, we prefer to publish original material, i.e. first-ever publication. Unless otherwise selected by the editors, we cannot run a piece that has previously appeared elsewhere in print or on the Web. Please submit to only one category at a time: essay, fiction, interview, poetry, prose, and art. We aim to respond to your submission within two months.

Essay, Fiction, and Prose

Please do not submit book manuscripts.

Poetry: Please send up to three poems.

Art and Photography: We welcome all types of image submissions. Please include a short note about the context of the images and title and/or caption information. Please include no more than six hi-res jpegs (at 300 dpi).

Electronic and Postal Submissions

Kindly e-mail material to writers@mec.cuny.edu with “Killens Review” in the subject heading.

Please include a brief introduction of yourself and of the work being submitted.,

On the first page of your submission be sure to include:

Please make sure the pages are numbered.

Or mail material to

Center for Black Literature
1650 Bedford Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11225

RE: Killens Review

Material will only be returned if the sender includes a self-addressed, stamped envelope (SASE).

The  Killens Review of Arts & Letters  is published by The Center for Black Literature (CBL) at Medgar Evers College, of the City University of New York, 1650 Bedford Ave., Brooklyn, NY 11225; telephone: 718-804-8883

Material in this publication may not be reproduced in whole or in part without permission. Opinions expressed by contributors do not necessarily reflect the views of the CBL. The Killens Review of Arts & Letters cannot be held responsible for unsolicited manuscripts, photographs, or artwork.


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The late John Oliver Killens, novelist, essayist, screenwriter, activist, educator, and founder of the National Black Writers Conference at Medgar Evers College, shared these inspiring words with an audience after a public reading for the publication of his landmark book Youngblood. In this spirit, The Center for Black Literature at Medgar Evers College publishes the Killens Review of Arts & Letters, a biannual literary journal aimed to provide established writers and artists, as well as emerging authors, poets, visual artists, and educators and students opportunities to create and expand the canon of literature produced by writers of color. With its inaugural issue, presented at the Tenth National Black Writers Conference, the Killens Review of Arts & Letters began with the commitment to support the mission and work of the John Oliver Killens Chair. The Killens Review of Arts & Letters includes essays, creative nonfiction, short stories, art, poetry, and interviews with authors and artists. Each publication will offer writers and artists, and scholars and students the chance to share their work. The journal will also feature the works of those writers of the African diaspora who may have been left out of the Western literary canon. It is important that we continue to provide and remind the general public, students, faculty, and those in the literary and publishing communities about the significance of the broad range of works produced by Black writers.

Current Issue

Fall / Winter 2013
Impact Beyond Boundaries

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Table of Contents

Feature: What Do You Do to Help Change the
World? by Louis Reyes Rivera

Essay: On the Passing of a Major Revolutionary Poet,
Louis Reyes Rivera by Tony Medina

Tribute: To Louis Reyes Rivera by Tony Mitchelson and Angela Kinamore

Feature: Black Writers Reflect on Ecoliterature by Brenda M. Greene, Ph.D. (Read)

Essay: Rescue Missions and Environmental Justice in Toni Cade Bambara’s The Salt Eaters by Barbara J. Webb

Portfolio: Artist Elvira Clayton

Interview: Stephanie Powell Watts by Clarence V. Reynolds (Read)

Fiction: Family Museum of the Ancient Postcards by Stephanie Powell Watts

Feature: Excerpt from Gypsy & The Bully Door by Nina Angela Mercer

Poetry: by Dana Crum and Keisha-Gaye Anderson

Fiction: 1980 When We Were Kinds in JA by Sean Anderson

To purchase the current issue of the Killens Review of Arts & Letters, go to http://killensreview.eventbrite.com/


Back Issues

Fall / Winter 2012
Reconstructing the Master Narrative

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Table of Contents


Essay: Henry Dumas and John Oliver Killens: Activism Across Generations by Jeffrey Leak (Read)

Fiction: Arc of Bones by Henry Dumas

Portfolio: Artist David Graves

Feature: Selected Proceedings from the 2010 National Black Writers Conference by Brenda M. Greene, Ph.D. (Read)

Feature: Black Writers Reconstructing the Master Narrative (Read)

Feature: The Impact of Hip-Hop and Popular Culture in
the Literature of Black Writers

Poetry: By Tracey K. Smith

Portfolio: Jean-Michel Basquiat: A Dedication to His Growth as an Artist by Javaka Steptoe

Tribute: To Lynnette Velasco

Fiction: My Own Flesh and Blood by Ngwah-Mbo Nana Nkweti


Fall / Winter 2010
The Power of Voice

Table of Contents

Essay: Amiri Baraka and Poetic Obscurity by Geoffrey Jacques

Interview: A Conversation with Ntozake Shange by Brenda M. Greene, Ph.D. (Read)

Excerpt: Some Sing, Some Cry by Notzake Shange and Ifa Bayeza

Poetry: A Rich Voice in Verse: Poems by Carolyn M. Rodgers; Movement by Keisha-Gaye Anderson

Portfolio: Photographer Jules Allen

Fiction: Ms. Cuffee by Sean Anderson

Spring / Summer 2010

The World of Book Publishing

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Table of Contents

Feature: Let’s Do Lunch by Herb Boyd (Read)

Feature: A Select List of Literary Agents

Feature: Ebb and Flow in Black Publishing by David Hatchett

Excerpt: John Oliver Killens: A Life of Black Literary Activism by Keith Gilyard

Essay:Toni Morrison: Recreating the Master Narrative by Brenda M. Greene, Ph.D. (Read)

Excerpt: Glorious by Bernice L. McFadden

Essay: Why African-American Children’s Literature? by Lynnette Velasco (Read)

Feature: Blogging: The Democratization of News by Candice Newberry