Author Archives: Troy

About Troy

Troy D. Johnson is the President, founder and webmaster of, LLC (The African American Literature Book Club). Launched in March of 1998, has grown to become the largest and most frequently visited website dedicated to books and films by and about people of African descent.

The 2016 Black Pack Party & BookExpo America

10th Anniversary Black Pack Party


We are hosting the 10th Anniversary Black Pack Party on the evening of Wednesday, May 11th. It is shaping up to be a wonderful celebration and we are looking forward to seeing you there!

Venue: Norman’s Bistro
Address: 1001 E 43rd St, Chicago, IL 60653
Phone: (773) 966-5821

Date: May 11, 2016
Time: 6:00 p.m. to 9 p.m.

More Info:
Hash Tag: #blackpackparty

The 2016 Black Pack Party co-sponsors are,, The African American Children’s Book Project, Linda Duggins, Mosaic, Say It Loud! Readers & Writers, and Written Magazine.

BookExpo America (BEA)

bea-2016BEA is the leading book and author event for the North American publishing industry. It’s the best place to discover new titles and authors, conduct business and network, and learn the latest trends. BEA is the largest gathering of booksellers, librarians, retailers, publishers, rights, licensing, and book industry professionals in North America.

Panels of Note:

378 Excellent Books, 77 Important Events

Top 100+ Recommended Children’s Books


Children book authors, industry professionals, and avid readers contributed their favorite children’s books to this list. We know children and young readers will enjoy most, if not all, of these books, as they have already brought joy to countless children.

news-zetta-elliott-small“Who Will Write a Story for the Children of Eric Garner?” by Zetta Elliott

This question came to mind last February when I was invited to prepare a ten-minute talk for the PBS program Blackademics TV. Today, as I rage over the non-indictment of yet another murderous white police officer, I might ask, “Who will write a story for the sister of Tamir Rice?”

Elliott’s poetry has been published in several anthologies, and her plays have been staged in New York, Chicago, and Cleveland. Her essays have appeared in The Huffington Post, School Library Journal, and Publishers Weekly. She is the author of twenty books for young readers, including the award-winning picture book Bird. Elliott is an advocate for greater diversity and equity in publishing.

100 Essential Black Books


All of these titles are compiled in the book Sacred Fire: The QBR 100 Essential Black Books, which was published by QBR: The Black Book Review magazine in 1999. The editors of QBR tapped a panel of leading scholars, historians, authors, and booksellers to reach a consensus on works having the most significant impact across the decades—the books that matter most. The resulting list of 100 books is an impressive collection of poetry, short fiction, novels, drama, autobiography, and history.

Our Favorite 100 Books of the 20th Century


15 Years ago, we completed the voting for our own list of Our Favorite 100 African American Novels of the 20th Century. A total of 3,861 votes were cast. This list was created as a direct result of our outrage at the lack of our presence of Black writers on the Modern Library’s Best Books of the Century list.

25 Recommended New Books by African Writers


Aaron Bady, who compiled this list, is a post-doctoral fellow at the University of Texas, teaching African literature. Aaron’s list should serve as a great introduction to contemporary African writers. Some of the writers, like Nigerian writer Chris Abani, have already earned a great deal of acclaim in the United States, while others remain relatively obscure here. In any event, I’m confident you’ll discover a book you will really enjoy.

53 Excellent Reads Coming Out Soon


To find the best in soon to bet released books, check out our list. You find a curated list of books that will be published in the next few months. Diane McKinney-Whetstone, Eric Jerome Dickey, Elizabeth Nunez, Helen Oyeyemi, and Kwame Alexander are just a few of the brilliant writers with books coming out soon.

If you are looking for a new book, that you can read today, use our list of books published in the last two months. As with our soon to be released list of books, this is a handpicked list of books, across genres, which have been recommended by industry professionals, book clubs, booksellers and avid readers.

77 Book Events – Fairs, Festivals, and Conferences


This list should have the majority of major book festivals and fairs coming up the rest of this year in the United States and Caribbean. The list includes The Kingston Book Festival, which is one of the largest book festivals in the English speaking Caribbean. It comprises 30 events over 8 days with a combined audience of more than 6,000. I’ve been invited to attend this year, and I hope to see some of you there.

A Great Deals to Promote Your Book on


Book Clubs Lead The Way


“Thank you for providing an awesome service to fellow readers across the world. I have had the love of reading since I was about 11 years old. I can remember receiving a box of books from my mom’s friend as if it were yesterday, this one box would set me onto the path that I am on today. I have quite an obsession with books and all things books and have often had a hard time finding others who are like minded when it came to books and what I was reading. Your website will provide not only a place of information but it will also connect readers with others who share the same level of passion for books as they do.” —Yvonne Bailey, Book Pearls Book Club

Pictured from left to right are Candice Henderson, Kathiria Robinson, Yvonne Bailey and Raynetta Bailey. They are holding up the book Cinder: Book One of the Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer.

aalbc-youtube-subscriptio-button_1_Please take a few seconds to subscribe to’s YouTube channel. If you have a Gmail account, this will take about 2 seconds of your time. I need an additional 184 subscribers to enable paid content on our YouTube channel. Thanks!

Dear Reader,

news-troy-vidCheck out a video where I talk about some of the enhancements to the website that are under way.

Some may consider today the final day of Black History Month, but I’ve decided to celebrate Black History Month all year long! Look out for the daily Black History Month updates on our discussion forums and social media, as we celebrate “366 Days of Black History.”

A big THANK YOU goes to all the readers who started their third year supporting with a paid subscription to the eNewsletter!

Please link to from your website and share any content you find valuable on social media platforms, via word of mouth, or in any fashion that makes sense to you.

Troy, if you have not purchased your subscription to our eNewsletter. Simply click the “Subscribe” button above. Your support is what will help grow.

As always, thanks for reading!

Peace & Love,
Troy Johnson,
Founder & Webmaster,


2016 National Black Writers Conference

Update: March 25, 2016
The Conference’s Complete and final Schedule of Events is Now Available.

Greetings Colleagues,

national-black-writers-conference-2016We are excited about the upcoming 13th National Black Writers Conference. Thank you for your support of the National Black Writers Conference and the Center for Black Literature at Medgar Evers College. You have witnessed the growth of the National Black Writers Conference and the Center for Black Literature over the years, and we truly appreciate your support as you are aware they both add value to Medgar Evers College, the Brooklyn community, and the general public. Both the Center for Black Literature and the National Black Writers Conference are known nationally and internationally.

Our 13th National Black Writers Conference will be held at Medgar Evers College, from Thursday, March 31 to Sunday, April 3, 2016. Poet laureate Rita Dove is the Honorary Chair for the Conference and we are also honoring Edwidge Danticat, Charles Johnson, Michael Eric Dyson, and Woodie King Jr. I hope that you will attend some of the programs and that you will be able to attend our opening and Awards Program.

Please see the attached press release, as I hope you will be able to offer some coverage of the conference, as well.

You are important to ensuring that the public knows about the value and importance of our work. There are other organizations that focus on promoting African American studies, but we are the only Center for Black Literature in the country still focused on doing this work. We value your support in helping us to realize our mission.

Clarence V. Reynolds, Director
Center for Black Literature at Medgar Evers College, CUNY

Highlights from the National Black Writers Conference Include:


Publishing Workshop: Editing, Marketing, Book Production, and More
Join book industry leaders; Earl Cox, President of Earl Cox & Associates; bestselling author and editor, Carol Taylor; and’s Founder, Troy Johnson, in a workshop on the publishing process.  This workshop will introduce participants to the book publishing process by detailing the path that a book should take from writer’s mind to reader’s hands. (Sunday, April 3, 2016, 12:00 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.)


Youth Literacy Program
Award winning children’s book authors, Jerry Craft, Cheryl and Wade Hudson, Denise Patrick and Calvin Ramsey, will meet grade school students and talk about their work. (Thursday, March 31, 2016, 9:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.)


Provocateurs: The Symbiotic Relationship Between Photographers & Writers Photography
This group show features the work of, Laylah Amatullah Barrayn, Rachel Eliza Griffiths and Marcia E. Wilson. The purpose of the exhibit “Provocateurs” is to present the linkage writers of African descent and their photographer counterparts share in rendering the Black experience and historical narratives.  The opening reception will be held Monday, March 28, 2016 from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

To learn about other major events, coming up this year, visit our events page.