Black authors in Minnesota haven’t always had a platform to come together and showcase their work. Well, this is about to change. Authors Jasmine Boudah and De’Vonna Pittman are hosting the first Minnesota Black Authors Expo. The event will be held on Saturday, November 18 at the Northside Economic Opportunity Network (NEON) on West Broadway in North Minneapolis, starting at 11 am.
Initially thinking the planning would take about a year, Pittman, an author of four books, said, “We were just invigorated by the need for this event and we ended up planning and executing this event in less than four months!”
She continued, “We realized that there were other events that were very similar, but none that were being hosted in our community and specifically for Black authors. We wanted to create a space for Black authors where we could present the authors to the community; put them in a place where their work could not only be acknowledged, but accepted and appreciated by their peers and by the community.”
Boudah, who this year released her first book Mothering Through Pain and Suffering in Silence, said that she’d often get funny looks when she told people she self-published her book. “So, I decided that there needs to be more spaces where Black authors have a platform to talk about their work.
“But also have a space where people can come and see these authors are local, they’re self-published to [traditionally] published, and [people can also] come to support the authors and to support the community,” added Boudah.
The morning of the expo starting at 9 am, Pittman and Boudah will also co-host a writers’ boot camp along with Anesha Sharp. “Ms. De’Vonna, brought the workshop so that we can provide a space. Because, once you tell someone that you are a writer or an author, the first thing they want to know [is], how [can they] go about writing a book. It is actually easier than a lot of people perceive it to be,” Boudah added.
At the boot camp, Sharp is going to walk participants through things like: how to write a book; how to get over the fear of writing a book and the basics of getting started. At the time of this interview, there were 20 authors registered to show their work at the event.
Hoping to help the community get the most out of the day, the expo will be free and open to the public; there is a small fee for the writers’ boot camp.
Attendees at the expo will have the opportunity to purchase books, and hear authors talk about their books for roughly 10 minutes at various times throughout the day.
Pittman and Boudah have also been able to fund 10 scholarships to those needing financial help. The women don’t plan on stopping here — they are also planning on making this an annual event to celebrate Black authors in Minnesota.
If you are interested in registering to attend the event you can do so on Eventbrite. If you are looking to obtain a scholarship or find out more information, go to Facebook/The Minnesota Black Authors Expo.
Brandi Phillips welcomes comments at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Brandi Phillips is a contributing writer at the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder.