Program Schedule- NBWC 2019 Biennial Symposium- “Playwrights & Screenwriters At the Crossroads”

 2019 National Black Writers Conference

Biennial Symposium & Tribute to

Ntozake Shange

“Playwrights and Screenwriters

at the Crossroads”


As of March 18, 2019;  Program Schedule subject to change.

Saturday, March 23, 2019

11:00 AM –7:00 PM

Edison O. Jackson Auditorium

1638 Bedford Avenue

Brooklyn, NY 11225

Eventbrite - National Black Writers Conference Biennial Symposium 2019 & Tribute to Ntozake Shange: “Playwrights and Screenwriters at the Crossroads”

Tickets are on sale until filled to capacity.

Bios of Symposium Participants




9:30 AM — Check-in and Registration

11: 00 AM — Welcome, Kel Spencer, Master of Ceremonies

11:15 AM – 11:30 AM — Greetings and Opening Remarks

Dr. Brenda M. Greene, Executive Director, The Center for Black Literature; Director, National Black Writers Conference

Dr. Augustine Okereke, Provost, Medgar Evers College

Student Reading: Kimberly Powell, Medgar Evers College English Major

11:30 AM – 12:15 PM — Keynote Speaker Ifa Bayeza, playwright, producer, and novelist. Keynote address on the legacy of Ntozake Shange.

12:30 PM – 1:30 PM —Town Hall Forum “The Evolution of Blacks in Film and Theater”

Presented in partnership with AKILA WORKSONGS, the Town Hall will focus on the impact of theater and film on Back culture; how the portrayal of Black Americans in film and theater has changed over the years; and the commercialization of Black film and plays.

Speakers: Lisa Cortés, producer and director; Kamilah Forbes, executive director, Apollo Theater; and Attika J. Torrence, filmmaker and director.

Moderated by April R. Silver, founder and president, AKILA WORKSONGS.

1:30 PM – 2:30 PM  — BREAK

2:30 PM – 3:45 PM — Roundtable Discussion “Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Contemporary Plays by Black Writers: From the Page to the Stage and Screen”

Memorable novels, short stories, and biographies have been a source of inspiration for many works adapted for theatrical presentation. The writers on this panel will discuss the processes involved in getting the published written word from one medium to the other. What elements of the printed narrative must the playwright and screenwriter consider when transporting the work from being a solitary reading experience to one presented for a larger audience? What techniques must the playwright rely upon to maintain the creative structure of the printed story? What are some of the challenges playwrights and screenwriters face in order to maintain the original context of the novel or short story?

Speakers: Ladee Hubbard, fiction writer and scholar; Gloria J. Browne-Marshall; playwright and professor of constitutional law; and Jamal Joseph, playwright, poet, director and producer.

Moderated by Dr. Brenda M. Greene.

4:00 PM – 5:15 PM — Roundtable Discussion “The Impact of Race, Politics, and Popular Culture on Contemporary Black Playwrights and Screenwriters”

A recent New York Times article “Magical Racial Justice” talks about the ways social issues are addressed in contemporary films. This panel will discuss ways in which racial politics, social injustices, and socioeconomic challenges influence character, plot, and viewpoint in works playwrights and screenwriters create to produce authentic stories about overcoming family struggles, raising awareness of racial injustices, self-identity, values, and Black pride as they portray the varied Black experiences in America.

Speakers: Keith Josef Adkins, playwright, producer and artistic director of The New Black Fest; Amina Henry, poet, performer and playwright; and Aurin Squire, playwright, performer and multimedia artist.

Moderated by Tai Allen, poet and producer.

5:30 PM – 6:30 PM — Dramatic Presentations

Host Marlon Rice, novelist and journalist

Readings by Tracie Morris, poet, performance artist and playwright, and Shaun Neblett, playwright and founder of Changing Perceptions Theater.


7:00 PM — Reception, Skylight Café (AB1 Building 1638 Bedford Ave., Brooklyn, NY 11225) Performances Curated by Greene Earth Poets.

Master of Ceremonies, Wallace Ford



Major Sponsorship provided by ConEdison,  New York City Council members Laurie Cumbo & Inez Barron, & The City University of New York

Additional Partnership & Support provided by:



Green Earth Poets

Medgar Evers College, CUNY


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