2021 Spring BWP Panels & Events

Panels in the Spring 2021 cycle of the Black Writers Program aim to provide information for attendees about the submission and/or application processes that take place behind the scenes when creating art. What steps are involved when applying for a television writing fellowship? How does one write an amazing artistic statement for individual grants and other applications? What are literary journals looking for? We hope you’ll find answers to those questions and more at the upcoming BWP panels.

Additionally, our keynote event this year features Kaitlyn Greenidge, author of We Love You, Charlie Freeman and Libertie in conversation with best-selling author Ibi Zoboi. Make sure to RSVP for what will be a fantastic conversation!

BREAKING IN: Navigating the Process of Applying for TV Writing Fellowships with Ian Olympio, Amy-Jo Perry & Christina Walker

Application season for TV writing fellowships (roughly Feb/March through June/July) is underway! But what makes a good application? Fellowship recipients and staff writers Christina Walker (The Flash, Disney/ABC Writing Program), Amy-Jo Perry (Saved by the Bell [2020]), Disney/ABC Writing Program), and Ian Olympio (P-VALLEY, Made In New York Writers Room Fellowship, Screenwriter’s Colony Episodic Drama Colony) talk through their experiences applying for TV fellowships, discuss pilot writing—a main component of applications—and share helpful tips for aspiring television writers.

*Thursday, April 15 | 5:30 – 7 PM (PST) | 8:30 – 10 PM (EST)

FINDING A HOME FOR YOUR WORK: Submitting to Literary Journals with Sasha Bonét, Chelsea Lemon Fetzer, Tonya R. Moore, & Laura Pegram

Which submission team are you on: A) Team “Apply Everywhere & Post Your Rejections!” on social media; B) Team Hoard Your Work (and hope it’s discovered and celebrated 100 years from now); or C) Team “I’ll just keep writing and worry about all of that later…”? There’s no shame in sitting at any of these tables, wherever you fit, but if you want to demystify the process of getting published in literary magazines and journals, this panel is the one for you.

Industry experts Sasha Bonét (Apogee), Chelsea Lemon Fetzer (Head Editor, Little Patuxent Review), Tonya R. Moore (Acquiring Poetry Editor, FIYAH Literary Magazine), and Laura Pegram (Editor-in-Chief, Kweli), will discuss the considerations they make when looking at writing submissions, determining what to accept (or not), and how to get your work into the best shape possible before it finds the right home.

*Thursday, May 6 | 7 – 8:30 PM (EST)

UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL: Getting Your Personal Essay Into the World with Hanif Abdurraqib, Sesali Bowen, & David Dennis

Publishing a personal essay is a multi-pronged feat. There’s the time it takes for an idea to coalesce in your mind, the process of getting it down on the page, the craft of revising your essay until it is both specifically felt and universally understood, and finally, sharing it with an audience. What’s more, personal essays these days can fall into a number of categories: the “think piece,” the “quick hit,” the feature-length examination, or even the reported essay. In this panel, writing wunderkinds Hanif Abdurraqib (A Little Devil In America), Sesali Bowen (Bad Fat Black Girl: Notes From a Trap Feminist), and David Dennis Jr. (The Movement Made Us) share their paths to honing their voices, finding the right outlets, and getting published.

*Saturday, May 22 | 2 – 3:30 PM (EST)


Inspired by the life of one of the first Black female doctors in the United States, Kaitlyn Greenidge’s novel Libertie is a detailed coming-of-age story that pushes its characters—and readers—to examine what freedom, creative expression, and self-determination really mean for the people of the Black diaspora. A starred review in Booklist notes: “Few novels have as strong a sense of place as this fascinating blend of magical realism and African American historical fiction… Greenidge succeeds beautifully at presenting the complexities of an intense mother-daughter bond [and] creates a richly layered tapestry of Black communal life, notably Black female life, and the inevitable contradictions and compromises of ‘freedom.'"

Ibi Zoboi, the New York Times-bestselling author of American Street, Pride, co-author of Punching the Air, and more, joins Greenidge in this virtual book talk. A brief Q&A will follow.

*Tuesday, May 25 | 6 – 7 PM (EST)

LOST FOR WORDS: How to Write an Effective Artistic Statement with Angel Nafis, t’ai freedom ford, & Phaedra Scott

At some point in their career, every artist will find themselves staring at a blank document, searching for the right words to create a great artistic statement. What should you write? What part of your artistic journey encapsulates your work best? In this panel discussion, t’ai freedom ford (& more black, how to get over), Angel Nafis (Black Girl Mansion), and Phaedra Scott (Plantation Black, Diaspora!) will share their expertise and experiences writing artistic statements in poetry and playwriting, enabling you to find the keys that unlock your perfect statement.

*Thursday, June 3 | 7 – 8:30 PM (EST)


NY Writers Coalition’s Black Writers Program presents a special Juneteenth “write-in" celebration! Black writers of all genres and levels of experience are invited to join us to write and share work in response to optional prompts. It’ll be an inspiring afternoon!

The event will be hosted by NYWC’s Program Director Timothy DuWhite, alongside NYWC Black Writers Program staff and leaders. Space is UNLIMITED—so we look forward to experiencing the collective power of our voices. You need not have participated in any prior NYWC workshops to register. See the details below and RSVP at the Zoom registration link below.

*Saturday June 19 | 1 – 2:30 PM (ET)