Celebrating Work from the Boston Writers of Color Group

At GrubStreet’s annual fundraising gala and literary showcase Lit Up we are raising funds to honor and amplify the work of Black writers and writers of color in the Boston area. We’ve decided to put together a list to help celebrate the breadth of published books, essays, poetry, plays, zines, and more by writers in the Boston Writers of Color group. Read more about the impact and goals of this year’s Lit Up event. 

Please note: If you’re a member of the Boston Writers of Color group and want your good news added to this list, please email [email protected]

Lisa Braxton is the recipient of a 2020 Outstanding Literary Award from the National Association of Black Journalists for her debut novel, The Talking Drum, published in May 2020 by Inanna Publications. B. Marie Barros, a former educator with Boston Public Schools and Sharon Public Schools, has written two children's books on the Tulsa Race Massacre, Tulsa and Tulsa: A True Tragedy, along with her first book Love and Lies. Leslie Ann Murray, curator of Brown Girl Book Lover, a book review blog where she celebrates diverse writers and their books, was published in the September/October 2020 Edition of Poets & Writers.

Ife Oshun, the author of the YA modern fantasy series The Angelica Brown Series incorporates fantasy elements into her work with some combination of the following: humor, social issues, family themes, metaphysical concepts, and pop culture. Hassan Ghanny is the executive producer of COLOR THEORY, a multimedia performance space centered on color optics and racial justice. 

Memoir Incubator Alum E. Dolores Johnson is the author of Say I'm Dead, A Family Memoir of Race, Secrets and Love, which received a starred review from the American Library Association's Book List and was given the 2020 Outstanding Literary Award by the National Association of Black Journalists. Mee-ok’s short story “Nowhere” is the winner of the 2019 Construction Literary Magazine Contest for Nonfiction. Sheila Wise Rowe’s latest book Healing Racial Trauma: The Road to Resilience was published by IVP. Former GrubStreet Intern Saipriya Valoth’s poem "Indian-American" was featured in Visible Poetry Project's online series, both in its original written form and a short film interpretation that was produced in collaboration with NYC-based filmmakers. 

Bettye Kearse’s essays "Slavery on Wall Street" and "America's Hidden Stories: The Other Madisons" appeared in May 2020 issues of Image Makeers and Influencers Magazine. Vick Breedy was inspired by her self-care group to write her novel Selfish Women's Group. Richard Brea, a Hispanic writer living in Lynn, Massachusetts, is presently employed at Boston Medical Center as a Peer Specialist where he uses his lived experience with mental illness to facilitate support groups and help his peers throughout their recovery.

Maya Shanbhag Lang is the author of The Sixteenth of June: A Novel, long listed for the Center for Fiction First Novel Prize and Finalist for the Audie Awards Best Audio Book. Tanushree Baidya’s stories and essays have appeared in WBUR Cognoscenti, Kweli, Creative Nonfiction, Grubwrites and other places. Tiffany Amoakohene is a Boston-based writer, a risk-taking, lifelong learning storyteller, and regular contributor to Medium. Arielle Gray is currently the Arts Engagement Producer for The ARTery, WBUR’s arts and culture team. Heather Watkins is the author of the blog “Slow Walkers See More,” which serves as her “personal mantra and an expression of my own experiences and viewpoints.”

Instructor Grace Talusan’s short story “The Book of Life and Death” is Boston Book Festival's One City One Story and her memoir The Body Papers won in Nonfiction for the Massachusetts Book Awards. Theresa Okokon’s essays (and bathroom selfies!) have appeared in midnight & indigo, Cognoscenti, Boston.com, and Hippocampus Magazine. Shirley Jones-Luke is an educator from Boston, Massachusetts, and is looking to publish her poetry manuscript. Nakia Hill was named one of seven 2018 Boston Artists-in-Residence by Mayor Marty Walsh and her anthology I Still Did It was published in 2019, featuring resilience stories written by girls and women of color in Boston.

Candace McDuffie’s new book 50 Rappers Who Changed the World will be published in October 2020. Tatiana Johnson-Boria is a finalist for the 2020 Solstice Literary Poetry Prize. Dariel Suarez is the Cuban-born author of the upcoming novel The Playwright's House and the story collection A Kind of Solitude, winner of the 2017 Spokane Prize for Short Fiction and the 2019 International Latino Book Award for Best Collection of Short Stories. Jacquinn Sinclair, a contributing performing arts writer for WBUR The ARTery, has had her work featured in various publications including Boston Art Review, The Philadelphia Tribune and Boston.com. Jonathan Rowe’s writing has been published in Black Fox Literary Magazine, Sojourners, The Ekphrastic Review, Arkansas Review, and elsewhere.

An excerpt of Tanya Pérez-Brennan’s novel-in-progress, The Land of Demons and Dreams, was published in Aster(ix) Journal in November 2015. City of Boston’s Poet Laureate Porsha Olayiwola, an Individual World Poetry Slam Champion and the artistic director at MassLEAP, is the author of i shimmer sometimes, too. Instructor Quentin Lucas teaches writing, is a candidate for an MFA in Creative Writing at Emerson College and currently available for public speaking engagements. Eddie Maisonet’s most recent project, “Narratives of Home,” is based on interviews of those disproportionately affected by Boston’s gentrification-fueled housing crisis. Instructor Jennifer De Leon is the editor of Wise Latinas: Writers on Higher Education, and Don’t Ask Me Where I’m From is her debut novel.

Latoya Watts is currently embarking on her second book while working full time as a Literacy Specialist at a high school in Providence, Rhode Island where she resides.

Muse Director and BWOC Manager Sonya Larson has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts 2020, the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, the Vermont Studio Center, Ragdale, the University of Wisconsin-Madison, the St. Botolph Club Foundation, and more. Desmond Hall is a Jamaican born author whose debut YA novel, Your Corner Dark, a fast-paced thriller is due out in January 2021. 

Jonathan Escoffery is the winner of The Paris Review’s 2020 Plimpton Prize for Fiction for his short story “Under the Ackee Tree.” Deborah L Plummer, PhD, has been named by Becker’s Hospital Review as one of the Top 15 Chief Diversity Officers to Know, and her book Some of My Friends Are... The Daunting Challenges and Untapped Potential of Cross-Racial Friendships examines how many factors influence the nature and intensity of cross-racial friendships. Youth & Community Programs Coordinator Dharani Persaud has publications in Hobart, Kajal Magazine, 2040 Review, Brown Girl Magazine, and others. Instructor Marjan Kamali is the best-selling author of the novels The Stationery Shop and Together Tea. Kenny Sui-Fung Yim has performed live with Personal Storytelling for Social Change (PS4SC) in Chinatown. Heidi Lewis-Ivey is the visionary author of an upcoming anthology meant to amplify the voices of women of color.

Y-Bình Nguyễn (she/they) is currently the Literary Curator & Program Director at El Taller, an independent bookstore & café in Lawrence, MA, and the co-founder of the budding community project Exposed Brick Literary Magazine. Nancy Johnson, an Emmy-nominated, award-winning television journalist at CBS and ABC affiliates in markets nationwide, will have her novel The Kindest Lie published in February 2021. Tanuja Desai Hidier is the award-winning author of the first ever South Asian American coming of age/YA novel, Born Confused, named an American Library Association Best Book for Young Adults. Heloiza Barbosa was a tenured professor of Education in Brazil for almost a decade and today, Heloiza writes short-fiction and produces audio-documentary. Instructor Rani Neutill has been nominated for two Pushcarts for her work in Redivider and Longreads.

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