National Book Club Conference in ATL
The mission of the National Book Club Conference is to create the world's largest book-club meeting once a year, to promote the value of reading and formulating book clubs among adults and in the nation's public school systems for the purposes of advancing literacy, broadening minds and knowledge through reading and dialogue.
The first weekend in Atlanta is just around the corner...and for those of you that love to read that means one thing ....
The National Book Club Conference is COMING!!!!! It will be held August 1-3 in the ATL. For those that have never been, I would highly recommend that you try to go. I attended a few years ago and had a blast. (See repost below).
The NBCC is like a convergence of writing all stars. Where else could you go and meet more than 600 people from across the country who truly have a passion for reading, not to mention visit one-on-one with best-selling authors like Terry McMillan, Iyanla Vanzant, Carl Weber, Donna Hill, Walter Mosley, C. California Cooper, Eric Jerome Dickey, Velvet, Mary B. Morrison, Vickie Stringer and many more? Plus, there will be many relevant discussion including sessions on Black Pain, What Makes Black Book Clubs Go and How To Maximize Your Book Club Experience (a panel discussion featuring one of the baddest book club founders EVA -- Tanisha Webb of KC Girlfriends Book Club)!!!!
And perhaps the highlight of the event is the World’s Largest Book Club Meeting which this year will feature a discussion of Walter Mosley’s newest novel, “The Tempest Tales.”
For those of you that do attend, enjoy and please come back to share your experience!
This past weekend I attended the National Book Club Conference in ATL with the KC Girlfriends Book Club and over 600 other booklovers. All I can say is it was one of the most powerful experiences I've been a part of since becoming a published author. I could go on and on about the NBCC, but since they say a picture is worth a 1,000 words -- I'll let my pictures speak for themselves. If you really love books and if you get the chance to attend the conference, this was my first time and I wholeheartedly suggest you go -- it's an experience you won't forget!
Me and California author, Lexi Davis the creator of 'Pretty Evil'.
Me and readers from across the country.
International best-selling author, Terri McMillan.
OKAY...I LIED, I HAVE TO SAY A LITTLE SUMTHIN-SUMTHIN MORE ABOUT THE CONFERENCE. Authors to me are like rock stars and I was thrilled to meet some of my favorite literary "rock stars" including Terry McMillan, Pearl Cleage, Walter Mosley, Eric Jerome Dickey, Donna Hill, Kimberla Lawson Roby, Mary Monroe, E. Lynn Harris, Diane McKinney-Whetstone, Lexi Davis, Electa Rome Parks and Karen E. Quinones Miller.
Perhaps the most powerful moment for me occured while I was talking to a reader from Atlanta. She'd been up all night with a friend whose son had been thrown in jail. His offense? DWB -- driving while black. Anyway, as she was telling me all that had happened the night before, I marveled at the fact that she was up bright and early and at the conference.
Her response to me is one that's stayed with me ever since the conference and it will likely stay with me forever. She said, "You don't understand, I had to be here! You don't understand how much I appreciate what you and other writers do. Reading saved my life when my mom died when I was just 14 years old. Reading saved my life when my dad died years later. And reading saved my life when I went through my divorce. Reading is my escape and I don't know what I'd do without it."
WOW! Talk about the power of writing and words! If ever a writer doubted how important what they did was -- after talking to that reader -- there would be no doubt. To know that you can touch another human being in that way is a powerful feeling. Over the years, reading has allowed me to escape to other worlds and it's nice to be a part of the chain that now allows me through my writing, to help others escape. As a writer, that's a responsibility I don't take lightly.
Other 'take my breath away' moments included:
~^^~Watching Pearl Cleage recite her 'We Speak Your Name' poem created for Oprah's Legends Ball last year.
~^^~Listening as Tavis Smiley read from his memoirs and moved some of the crowd to tears while the legendary Cornell West looked on. The memoir is entitled: What I Know for Sure: My Story of Growing Up in America. It's truly inspirational.
~^^~Meeting the mom of author Martha Southgate (The Fall of Rome/Third Girl From the Left). Martha's momma, Joan, at the age of 73 walked 519 miles along the route of the Underground Railroad in Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York and Canada. Of course, Joan wrote an inspiring book about her experience which I bought, called 'In Their Path'. See: http://www.intheirpath.org
~^^~Meeting Carol Mackey, editor-in-chief of Black Expressions Book Club. (Carol brought my first book to life, Bulletproof Soul, in hardcover form -- a dream I've had since childhood).
~^^~Having authors like Lexi Davis and Electa Rome (both sweethearts) as well as radio personality Wendy Williams say they'd heard of my books Trippin' and Bulletproof Soul.
~^^~Talking to NYT author Eric Jerome Dickey who recognized little ole me from MySpace.com (I was shocked he really was on there and that his site wasn't handled by his "people").
~^^~Seeing Terry McMillan honor another up and coming bright author, Kalisha Buckhanon, author of 'Upstate' with the National Book Club Conference’s Terry McMillan Young Author Award.
~^^~Watching Terry McMillan put her money were her mouth is by offering to purchase health care and open checking accounts and secure credit cards for two young men brought to the conference by author, pr guru and Stay Strong Foundation co-founder, Terri Williams. The foundation is dedicated to inspiring and supporting youth. The young men Terry offered to help are former gang members-turned college students and they were a part of the NBCC's 'Young Black Men-Lives Worth Saving' panel discussion.
Thanks to all the readers out there who make it possible for me to do what I do and who encourage me and motivate me often without even knowing it, every step of the way along my journey! Blessings to you all...