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Producers of the National Black Writers Conference

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


Writers on Writing Radio Interviews


brenda greene

Writers on Writing, hosted by Dr. Brenda Greene, features writers from the African Diaspora discussing their work and their lives. The show is broadcast in the studios of Medgar Evers College, CUNY, and airs over WNYE 91.5 F.M. Sunday evenings, 7 p.m.–7:30 p.m. We have archived previous programs for your listening pleasure.







Tune in this Week to “Writers on Writing”
Host, Dr. Brenda Greene, Executive Director, Center for Black Literature
Chair, English Department at Medgar Evers College
Sunday, May 18, 2014
7:00 .p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
WNYE, 91.5 FM

Tune into “Writers on Writing,” Sunday, May 18, 2014 from 7:00 p. m. to 7:30 p.m. Dr. Brenda Greene talks with Professor Tonya Cherie Hegamin about her recent novel, Willow, published by Candlewick Press. Set in mid-19th century America, on the borders of the Mason-Dixon Line, Willow chronicles the life of a young enslaved woman faced with the paradox of the challenges and dangers of living on the border of “freedom” and being literate in a society that forbids “slaves” from reading and writing. Greene and Hegamin discuss the themes of the novel, the value of historical fiction, and Hegamin’s writing process.

About the Author
Tonya Cherie Hegamin (Assistant Professor and Coordinator of Creative Writing) is the noted author of the YA novel M+O 4EVR, listed as one of CosmoGirl.com’s “Best Summer Reads” 2008. Her picture book Most Loved in All the World was winner of the 2010 New York Public Library’s Ezra Jack Keats Award and listed as USA Today pick for best books of Black History Month 2009. She is coauthor (with Marilyn Nelson) of the YA poetic novella Pemba’s Song, listed as a “best book for reluctant readers.” Hegamin received her BA in writing from the University of Pittsburgh and her MFA in creative writing from The New School University in New York. Her website is www.tonyacheriehegamin.com.

mecLogoThe Center for Black Literature, “Celebrating 10 Years of Honoring the Literature of People of the African Diaspora.” For more information about CBL and the Center’s events and programs, please visit us online at: www.centerforblackliterature.org. Search “Center for Black Literature” on Facebook.com. Phone: 718-804-8883; E-mail: writers@mec.cuny.edu. Medgar Evers College, CUNY, 1650 Bedford Ave., Brooklyn, NY 11225.


Interview: 2/22/10

Tom Burrell Brainwashed: Challenging the Myth of Black Inferiority

In Brainwashed, Tom Burrell, former CEO of an advertising firm targeted towards the black market, provides an historical overview and contemporary rendering of the ways in which the media- through propaganda and promoting of stereotypes – has continued to perpetuate the myth of the black man, woman and child as inferior, dysfunctional, sexualized and dysfunctional. He calls upon Blacks to break the pattern of the myth, first by acknowledging the destructive ways in which it has harmed Blacks and second by participating in the www.resolution project.com.

Listen to the interview.


Interview: 2/14/10

Charles Ellison, Tantrum

Tantrum may be described as a hip hop novel on politics. Ellison’s writing is sharp, satirical and probing and presents an astute analysis of politics. The protagonists form a multitude of voices and streams of consciousness and tackle mayoral politics, ethnic and racial tensions, city council politics. The councilman is unable to manage his personal affairs and is torn between mayoral politics and the needs of ethnic groups.

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Interview: 1/24/10

Carlotta Walls Lanier, A Mighty Long Way: My Journey to Justice at Little Rock Central High School

Carlotta Walls LaNier's memoir is her long-awaited story on what it was like to be one of the Little Rock Nine from Little Rock, Arkansas. LaNier shares her excitement at the prospect of attending a high school that had the resources that would successfully prepare her for college. The challenges faced by her and her peers, however, took an unexpected turn in a South that was far from ready for integration.

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Interview: 11/16/09

Gerald Norde, Peculiar Affinity: The World the Slave Owners and Their Female Slaves Made

A graduate with a Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of Delaware and Author of the book Peculiar Affinity: The World the Slave Owners and Their Female Slaves Made, Gerald Norde talks about the relationship between black women and white men during slavery and the appearance of children appearing as commodities because of sexual relations.

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Interview: 11/16/09

Gregory Walker, Shades of Memnon

Chicago based Journalist, Poet, and Author Gregory Walker speaks with Writers on Writers about his book Shades of Memnon, a book that exposes the history of King Memnon, a great king that fought in the Trojan War by using “epicology” which is the scientific examination of all things EPIC, such as ancient legends, ancient history and epics.

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Interview: 10/18/09

Cheo Tyehimba, Like Loving Backwards: Stories

In this book of short stories, Like Loving Backwards, takes the reader into the interior lives of young black men and illustrates their complexity, sensitivity, and vulnerability. Cheo Tyehimba incorporates elements of spectacular fiction as well as rituals, traditions, and African culture into the backdrop of his stories. He tackles difficult themes such as the conflicts between the heart's desire and the logic of the mind, the grieving process, and the challenges in learning life's lessons.

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Interview: 10/11/09

Cornel West, Living and Loving Out Loud

Cornel West’s memoir, Living and Loving Out Loud, provides readers with intimate details of his life. West describes himself as a bluesman living the life of the mind and a storyteller who draws upon the history of popular culture and those tragic comedies and struggles in life. He also posits that he is a Christian jazzman in the world of ideas, a man who improvises and draws from a range of scholarly works and traditions in Western literature and philosophy, as he attempts to help the reader to understand how he came to be.

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Interview: 3/1/09

Pamela Newkirk, Letters from Black America

An Award wining Journalist, and Professor of journalism at New York University, Pamela Newkirk discusses her book Letters from Black America, a collection of heartfelt letters from various authors, educators, entertainers, politicians, and military officers. Newkirk talks about how she wanted to recapture the essence and intimacy of writing letters while celebrating the legacy of blacks that fill a large literary void in history.

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Interview: 2/1/09

Lawrence Hill, Somebody Knows My Name

Canadian novelist Lawrence Hill discusses his latest book Someone Knows my Name, which is inspired by a fascinating, although little known historical document called the Book of Negroes. The Novel is about the tumultuous life of an African woman named Aminata Diallo, born in Bayo, West Africa, in 1745 and chronicles her struggle towards freedom.

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Interview: 11/23/08

Tonya Cherie Hegamin

Author, graduate of Cave Canem, social worker, and caterer, Tonya Cherie Hegamin shares the motive behind her books M + O 4Evr and Pemba's Song, both of which deal with young women making a journey into adulthood and how they overcome struggles.

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Interview: 11/16/08

Marian Wright Edelman

A graduate of Spelman College and Yale Law School and founder and president of the Children's Defense Fund, activist Marian Wright Edelman talks about her book The Sea Is So Wide and My Boat Is So Small: Charting a Course for the Next Generation, which consist of a series of letters to parents, leaders, children, and neighbors. Edelman speaks candidly about the importance of providing positive alternatives for children through school, at home, and in our communities as a means to counter negative messages and images in the media.

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Interview: 10/14/2008
Haki R. Madhubuti
,Yellow Black: The First Twenty-One Years of a Poet’s Life
Poet, publisher, editor and educator Haki R. Madhubuti describes his rites of passage and his growth into manhood in this memoir. Using prose and essay, we get Madhubuti’s inner reflections on his life and on those who have motivated him as a writer, husband, and institution builder. The interview focuses on those turning points in his life that helped to shape him; and how art, music, and literature saved his life. Madhubuti has written more than 24 books of essays and poetry.
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Interview: 6/22/08

Terri Williams, Black Pain: It just Looks Like We're Not Hurting

Social Worker, public relations expert, inspirational speaker, and author Terri Williams joins Writers on Writing to discuss her latest book, Black Pain: It Just Looks Like We're Not Hurting, which speaks to the emotional turmoil and struggles black people are facing within, and how we can take steps toward healing.

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Interview: 5/18/08

Talibah Washington

Author of the self-published title Streets in Poem Form: A Compilation of My Thoughts, Tylibah Washington discusses the process of writing her book of poetry, which addresses issues from race to politics; moreover, the importance of raising the consciousness of black youth.

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Interview: 5/4/08

Valerie Kinloch

Valerie Kinloch is a professor of Adolescent Literacy and English Education in the College of Education at the Ohio State University, coauthor of Still Seeking an Attitude: Critical Reflections on the Work of June Jordan, and author of the book June Jordan: Her Life and Letters (Women Writers of Color). Kinloch shares with Writers on Writing her motivation behind writing about activist and poet June Jordan. She says it is her mission to make people familiar with Jordan's legacy and her voice.

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Interview: 2/10/2008
Jerry Ward, The Katrina Papers: A Journal of Drama and Recovery
Jerry Ward, a distinguished professor of English and African American World Studies at Dillard University, is recognized as one of the leading experts on novelist Richard Wright. He is a poet, critic and scholar. In this interview, he discusses the impact of Katrina on his life and what Katrina reveals about society, race, and class. His memoir, a work in progress, focuses on his survival after Katrina and on the ways in which this impacted his writing process.
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Interview: 9/7/2007
Amiri Baraka, Tales of the Out & the Gone
Amiri Baraka is the author of more than 40 books of essays, poems, drama, and music history and criticism; he is also a poet icon and political activist who has recited poetry and lectured on cultural and political issues extensively in the U.S., the Caribbean, Africa, and Europe.
In Tales of the Out & the Gone, a collection of short stories on political wars, revolutionary struggle, issues of class and race, Baraka examines, critiques, and poses dilemmas for addressing ongoing challenges in our society. The interview offers his reflections on these issues.
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Interview: 9/3/2007
Marita Golden, After 
Marita Golden, a writer of more than 12 works of fiction and nonfiction, addresses the political, psychological, and sociological aftermath of a black police officer’s accidental shooting of a young black man in her most recent novel, After. The novel challenges one-dimensional portraits of African-American life and zeroes in on questions of race, police brutality, and father/son relationships. This interview focuses on the process for writing the novel, the controversial issues raised by the story, and the way the novel has been received by readers.
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Interview: 8/26/2007
Kwame Dawes
, She’s Gone
Poet, actor, editor, critic, musician, and professor Kwame Dawes has written a novel that crosses geographical and cultural boundaries. Dawes brings together Jamaican, African, southern and urban culture to craft a story that focuses on the inner personal and social conflicts faced by the Jamaican reggae singer and lyricist Kofi, as he attempts to define himself as an artist. The interview focuses on the questions that Dawes raises in the book as well as his motivation for writing this debut novel.
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Interview: 7/26/2007
Nalo Hopkinson
, The New Moon’s Arms
This fourth novel in the speculative fiction genre by Jamaican-born writer Nalo Hopkinson focuses on the choices faced by Calamity, an older woman living in the Caribbean. Hopkinson describes her writing process, the elements of myth and fantasy that were used to recount the story of Calamity, and the emerging themes in the novel. She also reads an excerpt from The New Moon’s Arms.
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Interview: 7/22/2005
Christopher John Farley, Kingston by Starlight
Journalist Christopher John Farley, who writes for the Wall Street Journal and is former senior writer and pop music critic for Time magazine, discusses his book Kingston by Starlight, a poetic novel that traces the life of Ann Bonny, a young, Irish-born female who passes as a male pirate involved in a 1720s tale of pirates in Jamaica.
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Medgar Evers College
School of Professional and Community Development
1150 Carroll Street, Brooklyn, New York | 11225