S215. “my particular truth as I have seen it”: Black Women Writers Taking Back Their Narratives

Room 1, Tampa Convention Center, First Floor
Saturday, March 10, 2018
1:30 pm to 2:45 pm


Two separate but related phenomena—the presumed suicides of women like Sheila Abdus-Salaam, and the appropriation of black women’s art (including the unauthorized use of Gelila Mesfin’s digital portrait of Michelle Obama)—illustrate how, in nearly every aspect of their lives, black women are erased by others. In response, multi-genre writers discuss the nuances of creating art in a culture that misattributes their work while they are living, and reframes their narratives when they are dead.



Destiny Birdsong is a poet, essayist, and editor whose work has appeared in African American Review, Indiana Review, The Cambridge Companion to Transnational American Literature, and elsewhere. A Cave Canem and Callaloo fellow, she has received scholarships from BinderCon and The Ragdale Foundation.

Kateema Lee’s poetry has been published in print and in online literary journals. She is an associate editor for the Potomac Review and a Cave Canem Graduate Fellow. When she is not writing, she teaches English composition, literature, and women’s studies at Montgomery College in Maryland.

Nicole Higgins is a doctoral student in English at Duke University. A Cave Canem and Callaloo fellow, she holds an MFA from the University of Georgia. Her poems have appeared in Storyscape, Bear Review, Sink, Vinyl, Passages North, and elsewhere.

Maya Marshall, an MFA candidate at the University of South Carolina, is a Cave Canem fellow and an alumna of the Squaw Valley Community of Writers. Currently, she is a poetry editor at Muzzle magazine and an editor of Yemassee. Her chapbook, Secondhand, is forthcoming.

April Gibson is a poet and essayist whose work has appeared in print and online literary journals. She is a fellow of The Watering Hole, a Callaloo fellow, and a VONA/Voices alum. She teaches English at the University of St. Thomas in Minnesota.


March 4–7, 2020
San Antonio, TX

Henry B. González Convention Center