Celebrating BWOC Successes
Since June 2020, we’ve kept a running list of the breadth of published books, essays, poetry, plays, zines, and more by writers in the Boston Writers of Color group. Congratulations to all for the many successes below and be sure to check back as we’ll be updating this list monthly with more good news.
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’s novel The Talking Drum is a finalist for the 2020 Foreward Indies Book of the Year Awards. Pınar Yaşar is a finalist for Poetry Online’s 2021 Launch Prize. Jacquinn Sinclair has two poems featured in the anthology Heels into the Soil. The anthology was produced by Nakia Hill and features members of The International Women’s Writing Guild’s 2021 Mentorship Program.
Poets Krysten Hill, Durane West, Boston Poet Laureate Porsha Olayiwola, and Laniesha Brown were named “Poet of the Day” by Boston’s Office of Arts and Culture for National Poetry Month. Dariel Suarez’s forthcoming debut novel, The Playwright’s House, and Jennifer De Leon’s new essay collection, White Space, were both featured in WBUR’s “10 Books By New England Authors To Read While Waiting To Get Your Vaccine” reading list.
Jonathan Escoffery received a two-book deal for his works If I Survive You and Play Stone Kill Bird with MCD/FSG for Fall 2022. Manisha Sharma’s poem “I Had a Boy” was published by Literary Mama. Janaea Eads recently signed with Paige Terlip at Andrea Brown Lit. Cynthia’s Yee’s piece “Duck” was released on Instagram and Facebook by the Asian Community Development Corporation. Tamiko Beyer recently published her poetry collection Last Days in April.
Preety Sidhu's interview "A Potion Made of Potion Gold to Achieve the Indian American Dream" (focused on author Sanjena Sathian and her debut novel, Gold Diggers) was published on Electric Literature. Megan Pinto, Andrea Giugni, and Angela Siew won first place in the poetry category for Martha's Vineyard Institute of Creative Writing's Voices of Color Fellowship. Rolando López won first place in the prose category. Athena Dixon won second place in the prose category. David W. Janey's essay "Black Parents Give Their Kids 'The Talk.' What If White Parents Did?" was published in WBUR's Cognoscenti.
“House Parties” by Jacqueline Reason won first prize in GrubStreet’s Black Joy Contest. “Breakdance” by Yawa Degboe won second prize.“Black Joi” by Kandice A. Sumner won third prize.Honorable mentions include “Christmas Carnival Calypso Conniptions” by T.S.E Allen, "Taking Up Space” by Dr. Brandi Monique Derr, and “Sundays with Dad” by Keena Keel.
Leslie-Ann Murray’s article “5 Black science fiction and fantasy books to read,” was published on Boston.com. Ellie Hinton’s collection of poems Pelu Ife was published in February. Tochukwu Okafor was accepted to the prestigious 2021 Kenyon Review Writers Workshop. Linda Chavers’s essay “The place I became a Black woman scholar. And a Black woman with an invisible illness” was published in The Boston Globe.
Margo Gabriel’s essay “I Became an Expat in the Middle of the Pandemic—It Was a Lot Easier Than I Thought” was published in Fodor’s Travel. Theresa Okokon’s piece “A message to Chris Harrison from a Black woman who just wants to watch The Bachelor in peace” was published in The Independent. Tanya Pérez-Brennan was selected as a 2021 PEN/Bellwether Prize for Socially Engaged Fiction finalist for her novel, The Land of Demons and Dreams.
Lina Rincón’s poems “Public Health Matters,” “Middle Name,” and “Caravan,” were published in the Tales From Six Feet Apart issue of iō Literary Journal and Puerto Del Sol. Cynthia Yee was featured in the final installment of Exploring Tiger Style, a podcast by the Huntington Theater Company.
Mee-ok’s piece Letter to the Future was published in Pangyrus. Nancy Johnson’s debut novel, The Kindest Lie, launched in early February. Juanita Cox’s poem “Touch: Director’s Cut” was published in Poetica #2: The Inner Circle Writers Group Poetry Anthology.
Lisa Lee’s book I Send You 7 Songs: A Collection of Love Poems With a Little Surprise debuted at the end of January. Amanda Shea’s poetry film “BODY” is now available to view on YouTube. She was also featured in the article “Artist Amanda Shea Explores Blackness And Womanhood In New Poetry Video Series,” which was published in WBUR’s The ARTery. Arielle Gray’s pieces “Tanerélle Was Bullied for Her ‘Saggy Breasts.’ Now She’s a Playboy Playmate,” “10 Nostalgic Sitcoms That Celebrate Black Joy,” and “DaniLeigh’s Apology for the ‘Yellow Bone’ Controversy Only Makes It Worse” were published in Glamour Magazine.
Anri Wheeler’s op-ed "Spare Me Your Outrage, Your Shock. This Is America" was published in WBUR’s Cognoscenti. Mee-ok was selected as a finalist for the Scotti Merrill Award in Poetry from the Key West Literary Seminar’s Emerging Writer Awards. Additionally, she was the runner-up for the Prairie Schooner Summer Creative Nonfiction Contest.
Lisa Braxton’s The Talking Drum, E. Dolores Johnson’s Say I’m Dead, and Desmond Hall’s Your Corner Dark were all included in The ARTery’s list of “Books To Add To Your Reading List in 2021.” The article was written by Arielle Gray and published by WBUR. Hassan Ghanny’s piece "In 2020, 'Artivism' Reigned Supreme In Boston" — featuring co-organizer of the “Activating ARTivism” series Amanda Shea — was published in WBUR’s The ARTery. Jacquinn Sinclair’s review "Netflix Soars To The Top With August Wilson's 'Ma Rainey's Black Bottom" was published in WBUR’s The ARTery.
Margo Gabriel’s interview "Hernâni Miguel Creates a Place for Culture, Music and Food at Lisbon’s Tabernáculo" was published in Cuisine Noir Magazine. Jonathan Escoffery’s short story “Odd Jobs” was published in The L.A. Issue of Zyzzyva. Additionally, his story “If He Suspected He’d Get Someone Killed This Morning, Delano Would Never Leave His Couch” was published in Issue 72 of American Short Fiction. Lastly, his story “Under the Ackee Tree,” which was previously published in The Paris Review, was featured in The Best American Magazine Writing 2020 anthology.
Shirley Jones Luke’s essay “(Still) Separate and Unequal in Boston Schools” was published in MayDay Magazine. An excerpt of Rani Neutill’s debut memoir, "do you love me?," was published in the Winter 2020 Issue of Solstice Literary Magazine. Lisa Braxton’s poem "Welcome Home" was published in Penumbra Online.
Lisa Braxton’s novel The Talking Drum received the 2020 Best Indie Book Award from Shelf Unbound Magazine. Frugal Bookstore’s owners Leonard and Clarrissa Egerton were interviewed on The Drew Barrymore Show and are featured in Drew's Little Yellow Book of Small Businesses Gift Guide. Bettye Kearse’s memoir The Other Madisons: The Lost History of a President's Black Family was featured in Smithsonian Magazine’s “The Ten Best History Books of 2020” list.
Angie Chatman’s essay "Ode to Pound Cake", published in Pangyrus, is nominated for the Pushcart Prize. Additionally, her essay “American, Not Blonde” was published in The Rumpus. Theresa Okokon’s essay “Me Llamo Theresa,” published in Hippocampus Magazine, is nominated for the Pushcart Prize. Shirley Jones Luke’s poem “Drumming Season,” published in Wordpeace Journal, is nominated for the Pushcart Prize.
Linda Chavers’ piece "How Black women are undermined at work — and what to do about it" was published in The Boston Globe Magazine. Amanda Shea’s poetry film “RESILIENCE” is now available to view on YouTube. She is also the newest board member at MassPoetry. Jacquinn Sinclair’s review "New Repertory Theatre's 'Showstopper' Series Lives Up To Its Name With Two New Online Plays" was published in WBUR’s The ARTery.
Margo Gabriel's story on her move to Portugal was published in Byline Baddie. Nancy Johnson’s novel The Kindest Lie made The Every Girl’s list of “The 10 Most Anticipated Novels to Read This Winter.” It was also included in Marie Claire’s list of “Highly-Anticipated 2021 Book Releases.” Desmond Hall’s novel Your Corner Dark made Buzzfeed’s “2021 YA Books We're Looking Forward To Getting Our Hands On” list. Arielle Gray’s piece "This Boston Mushroom Hunter Is Reclaiming The Forest And Teaching Food Autonomy" was published in WBUR’s The ARTery. Additionally, her piece “Keke Palmer Responds to Backlash Over Her EBT Card Comments” was published in Glamour Magazine.
Candace McDuffie’s debut book, 50 Rappers Who Changed The World, is out now. Desmond Hall’s debut novel, Your Corner Dark, is now available for pre-order. Tanushree Baidya’s piece "We Married During The Pandemic. Now My Husband Is Getting To Know My Parents In India, Via FaceTime" was published in WBUR’s Cognoscenti.
Leslie-Ann Murray’s article, featuring Grace Talusan, "‘Everyone is grieving on some level’: Author Grace Talusan writes about the life of an essential worker" was published in Boston.com. Joanna Kim’s short fiction piece “So Pretty” was published in Hyphen Magazine. Jacquinn Sinclair’s theatre review "The Aspirations Of Undocumented Immigrants Meet At Company One's 'Downtown Crossing” was published in WBUR’s The ARTery. Mee Ok’s first piece of flash nonfiction "Bespoke" was published in The Cincinnati Review.
Amanda Shea’s poetry films “FACETIME” and “ENTANGLED” are now available to view on YouTube. Arielle Gray’s piece “‘Girlfriends’ Showed Us What a Toxic Friendship Looks Like” was published in Zora. Pınar Yaşar’s poems “After” and “Baba” were published in Tinderbox Poetry Journal. David W. Janey’s poem “precinct #2” was published in the Features Blog of Solstice Literary Magazine.
Ciera Burch recently signed a two-book deal. Her debut YA novel, The Inevitability of Home, is slated for publication in Winter 2023. Co-Founders and Editors Y-Binh Nguyen and Gladys Wangeci Gitau-Damaskos on their launch of Exposed Brick Literary Magazine, “a curation of quality writing and design, archiving the essence of authentic expression, started by young creatives in Lawrence, MA.”
Congratulations to 2020 Lit Up host Bethany Van Delft, Grubby Award Winner Celeste Ng, and all of the Lit Up performers Camarah Oates, Eddie Maisonet, and Kaija Langley for being a part of our annual fundraising Gala! You can view the highlights here.
Heloiza Barbosa launched her new bilingual podcast, Faxina Podcast, and was featured in “In a new podcast, Boston’s Brazilian house cleaners share stories ‘swept under the rug’” in The Boston Globe. Jacquinn Sinclair’s article "11 Places To Help Satisfy A Thirst For Theater This Fall Despite The Pandemic" was published in WBUR’s The Artery. Hassan Ghanny’s article "617Sessions compilation brings out the best of Boston’s indie scene" was published in The Boston Globe.
Arielle Gray’s first piece in print, “How to Disrupt the Whiteness of Boston Philanthropy, One Dollar at a Time,” was published in Boston Magazine. Dariel Suarez’s debut novel, The Playwright's House, is now available for pre-order. Nancy Johnson’s debut novel, The Kindest Lie, is now available for pre-order. Tatiana Johnson-Boria’s poem “my father hums and for the first time this is art” was nominated for 2021 Best of the Net Anthology.
Autumn Allen is the recipient of the 2020-2021 Writer-in-Residence fellowship from Associates of the Boston Public Library. E. Dolores Johnson’s memoir Say I'm Dead: A Family Memoir of Race, Secrets, and Love was awarded the Outstanding Literary Award at the National Association of Black Journalists’ 2020 Convention.
Vick Breedy’s novel Selfish Women's Group is now available for purchase. Linda Chavers’s four-part poem "onethreetwofivefoursixGO!" was published in Spork Press. Leslie-Ann Murray’s essay "Dearest Tayari" was published in Poets & Writers. Elizabeth Anne’s essay “In Support of Cardi B’s WAP” was published on Medium.
Mitchka Herard’s debut children’s book, TJ’s Island Adventures, is now available for pre-order. Candace McDuffie’s debut book, 50 Rappers Who Changed The World, is now available for pre-order. Hassan Ghanny’s article "Six Boston hip-hop artists in this moment: on music, activism, and maintaining momentum", also featuring Amanda Shea, was published in The Boston Globe.
Latoya Watts recently celebrated selling over 100 copies for her debut novel, Life in Words. You can order it now. Jacquinn Sinclair’s piece on Obehi Janice’s play turned TV adaptation, “Ole White Sugah Daddy,”, was published in WBUR’s The Artery. Sonya Larson’s short story Code W was published in the Summer 2020 issue of Ploughshares.
Mee-Ok appears in the ayahuasca episode of the upcoming Netflix documentary series (UN)Well, premiering on August 12th. She also writes about her experience on GrubWrites. Sebastián Molano’s first online piece, “Home”, was published in Medium. Jenn De Leon's debut YA novel, Don't Ask Me Where I'm From, is available for pre-order, and will release on August 18th.
Jacquinn Sinclair’s review on E. Dolores Johnson’s memoir Say I’m Dead: A Family Memoir of Race, Secrets, and Love was published in WBUR’s The Artery. Quentin Lucas’s piece "Dear Ancestors: How connecting with our dead teaches Black people how to live" was published in RaceBaitr. Sheila Wise Rowe celebrated her second printing with InterVarsity Press, for her book Healing Racial Trauma: The Road to Resilience.
Jonathan Rowe’s poem “What the Water Consumes” was published in The Arkansas Review. Tanya Perez-Brennan’s book review on Karla Cornejo Villavicencio’s The Undocumented Americans was published in StartUpCuba TV. Mee-Ok’s poems “hook” and “no vacancies” were published in The American Journal of Poetry. Her poem “dark web” was published in Passengers Journal. Porsha Olayiwola’s spoken word piece “Netflix Called To Ask What Pride Looks Like For a Black Queer Woman” was featured in Netflix Pride.
Thaddeus Miles’s essay “Open Letter To My Brothers” was published in Black Joy Blog. Heather Watkins’s essay “Walking Dad Home” was published in Medium. Tatiana Johnson-Boria’s poems “Even When the Death is Brutal, a Sloth Will Smile As it Dies” “My Brother Outruns a Dog on W. Concord St.” and “Heredity” were all published in Pank Magazine.
Dolores Johnson’s memoir Say I’m Dead: A Family Memoir of Race, Secrets, and Love is now available. Lisa Braxton’s debut novel The Talking Drum is out now. Maya Shanbhag Lang’s debut memoir What We Carry is now available. Beyazmin Jimenez’s op-ed “A historic moment, if we have the will to make it so” was published in The Boston Globe.
Richard Brea is featured in “Will 2020 crises permanently derail community college students’ education” in The Boston Globe. Linda Chavers’ essay “What too many white people still don’t understand about racism” was published in The Boston Globe. Tanushree Baidya’s essay “Pastries in the Backcountry” was published on Pangyrus. Dzidzor’s debut album, Bush Woman, is available on all music platforms.
Tiffany Amoakohene’s essay “The Fire and Rage of Black America Lives Within Me” was published in Gen Magazine/Medium. Arielle Gray’s piece “Boston Prides Itself On Its Progressive Image. Let Me Tell You What I Know” was published in WBUR. Avani Patel published the essay “Fighting for Black while Being Brown.” Heather Watkins shared her essay “To Be Disabled, Black and Proud” to the Facebook group. Published in 2018 on Slow Walkers See More, it’s still relevant to today.
Grace Talusan’s review on Wayétu Moore’s new memoir The Dragons, The Giant, The Women was published in The New York Times. Theresa Okokon's essay “‘I Do It To Survive’: Being Black in America Means Adapting To Constant Risk” was published in WBUR. Shirley Jones-Luke recently published poems on All Poetry. Mee-Ok published an essay in the Los Angeles Times entitled “I’m a South Korean adoptee in America. And I feel more invisible than ever.”