Voice to Voice: The Girls Write Now 2015 Anthology

Voice to Voice: The Girls Write Now 2015 Anthology

Voice to Voice: The Girls Write Now 2015 AnthologyPaperback: 299 pages
Publisher: Girls Write Now (2015) (May 19, 2015)
Dimensions: 3.5 x 2.4 x 0.4 inches

From one of the nation’s top after school programs, an acclaimed collection of poetry and prose showcasing the voices of young women and their mentors in a powerful exploration of the theme of “Voice to Voice”. Distinguished twice by the White House as one of the top after-school arts and cultural organizations in the nation, and recently honored by Newsweek in their article on “After school programs that make a difference,” Girls Write Now works to empower underserved teen girls in New York City by pairing them with professional writing mentors. With a foreword by author and journalist, Mariane Pearl, Voice to Voice: The Girls Write Now 2015 Anthology showcases the best writing from the mentees and mentors in the program, exploring the theme of “Voice to Voice,” both in our lives and in our writing, through poetry, prose, and essays. Our annual anthology has received the Outstanding Book of the Year Award and Independent Voice Award by the Independent Publisher Book Awards and has earned honors from the International Book Awards, The New York Book Festival, the National Indie Excellence Awards and the Next Generation Indie Book Awards. The anthology has also received Honorable Mention from the San Francisco Book Festival and the Paris Book Festival. Learn more at www.girlswritenow.org “I wish for every reader who opens this book the same feeling I had when I first met Girls Write Now: inspiration” – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, New York Times bestselling author of Americanah

Girls Write Now mentors underserved young women to find their voices through the power of writing and community.

girls write now

Founded in 1998, Girls Write Now (GWN) is New York’s first and only writing and mentoring organization for girls, and one of the nation’s top after school programs as distinguished twice by the White House and the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities. GWN has been featured by The New York Times, NBC Nightly News, and the Wall Street Journal. In 2014, GWN was recognized by the Nonprofit Excellence Awards as one of New York’s top ten nonprofits, by the New York City Council as one of the city’s top six girl-funded initiatives, and by NBCUniversal Foundation’s 21st Century Solutions for social innovation. Our teens have performed their original work at Lincoln Center and the United Nations, published in Newsweek, ELLE India and our award-wining anthology, and earned hundreds of prestigious Scholastic Art & Writing Awards

New Self-Publishing Literary Award to Promote Diverse Books in Libraries

BCALA; SELF-e partner for new self-publishing literary award to promote diverse books in libraries

BCALA_LogoThe Black Caucus of the ALA (BCALA) and BiblioBoard announce the creation of an annual self-publishing award. Following the model of the current BCALA Literary Awards, the new award will honor the best self-published ebooks in fiction and poetry by an African American author in the U.S.

Authors who enter the contest will have the opportunity to opt into the SELF-e program and their own Indie State module, providing them with an invaluable resource for promotion and exposure of their work.  SELF-e is a partnership between BiblioBoard and the Library Journal and is aimed at finding the best self-published books and making those books seamlessly available to library patrons.

Winning authors will receive:

  • $500 Cash Prize
  • Formal recognition at the Black Caucus of ALA Literary Awards
  • BCALA Literary Award Seal to use in marketing

The BCALA Self-Publishing Literary Award will be the first presented by the Black Caucus for digital content, as well as the first recognizing self-published work. It represents an exciting new opportunity not only to recognize diverse authors and books, but also to foster successful partnerships between libraries, authors and communities.

BiblioBoard founder and Chief Business Officer Mitchell Davis is excited for the opportunities the award will create. “As publishing continues to evolve in the digital era, it is clear that self-published authors will play an ever increasing role in the literary landscape,” says Davis. “Efforts like this help authors get the recognition they deserve and help readers to find important books. It also places libraries at the center of the indie movement and insures they can positively influence book culture now and into the future.”

As an organization that is celebrating  45 years of championing African American librarians and literature, the BCALA is excited to work with SELF-e in creating new avenues to foster relationships between libraries and indie authors. “Working with SELF-e is another way for the BCALA to continue our service as advocates for the development, promotion, and improvement of library services to the nation’s African American community,” says current BCALA president Kelvin Watson.

Watson also cites the #weneeddiversebooks campaign, a new viral movement championed by librarians in pursuit of books by diverse authors for diverse audiences, as an influence. “There has been a lack of diversity and equity in literature. SELF-e is an excellent tool to assist in connecting and being more inclusive,” he added.

The submission period began May 2015 and will extend through December. Final selections will go to a BCALA-appointed panel, which will select the winners of the Best Fiction and Best Poetry awards in January. Winners will be announced in January 2016 and formally recognized at the 2016 ALA Annual Conference.  (Submission Guidelines)

The official deadline for the contest is December 18th, 2015.

About the Black Caucus of the ALA (BCALA)

Established in 1970, the Black Caucus of the American Library Association serves as an advocate for the development, promotion, and improvement of library services and resources to the nation’s African American community; and provides leadership for the recruitment and professional development of African American librarians.

About SELF-e

self-e_logoSELF-e is an online discovery tool for self-published authors created by Library Journal in collaboration with BiblioBoard. Authors that submit to SELF-e may have their work chosen by Library Journal to appear in curated collections on BiblioBoard’s award-winning PatronsFirst™ mobile platform being used in participating libraries nationwide. The multi-user, waitlist-free eBook platform provides authors with an exceptional resource for expanding readership, targeting new audiences and promoting their work.

About BiblioBoard

BiblioBoard is the PatronsFirst™ mobile library. The folks behind BiblioBoard are a powerful team based in Charleston, S.C. They aim to transform access to information by providing a world-class user experience that thrills library patrons and is profitable for publishers. BiblioBoard is moving library content delivery into the future in a sustainable way. BiblioBoard, used by nearly 3,000 libraries and in three statewide eBook projects, reaches 30 million patrons. BiblioBoard has won numerous design and product awards including the 2014 Modern Library Award.

Our 10 Most Popular Discussions (and Why Discussion Forums Matter)

Our discussion forums have been running for more than 17 years.  According to Google’s Analytics, these are the 10 most popular conversations over that last 6 months.  The text in quotes are excerpts from those conversation.

1 – The 10 Best Damn Black Websites Period!

The best Black websites Huff-Post, Essence and Madame Noire“These sites are note worthy because they represent the cream of the crop (in terms of traffic), of what the world wide web targets to Black people.  I’ll leave it up to you to decide if these are the best sites in terms of content.” 

2 – Almost half of Black Gay Men, in Atlanta, are HIV Positive

Gay men in Atlanta “The black HIV epidemic: A public health mystery—and love story—from Atlanta’s gay community. A journey with the researchers and citizens struggling with the troubling disparity in HIV diagnoses. ”

3 – “Foot Wash” & Fair Hope Christian Benevolent Society

“Foot Wash celebration is a euphemism for an off-the-chain festival in the woods, attended by up to 100,000 people.  One can buy BBQ, tee-shirts, fried snickers candy bars and all the things you would expected to be able to buy during events like this. What makes Foot Wash so wild are the rampant illegal activities that it is known for; including drug sales and prostitution.”

4 – Who the heck is Elias Gutierrez?

“ Who the heck is “elias gutierrez”? Six of the top 10 Google searches bringing traffic to my site yesterday was for “elias gutierrez” or some variation of that name. Each time the page from my site returned was one about the life of a famous author Bebe Moore Campbell.”

5 – Bill Withers Documentary

Sill Bill documentary“Hey I heard last night that Bill Withers was known for physically abusing his ex wife actress Denise Nicholas. The documentary made no reference to those allegations. In fact I don’t recall any mention of Denise Nicholas. While I appreciate Whiter’s music the I find the prospect of his beating his wife deeply disturbing. ”

6 – 46th NAACP Image Awards Nominees – Outstanding Literary Work

“There was a time I complained about the NAACP image awards; not about the award itself, but the nominees.  It seemed to be a popularity contest, which I thought marginalized the better books available, that needed more attention.  I thought the NAACP with their platform could do a better job of pulling together a list.”

7 – Niggers and Flies

““Niggers and flies, I do despise. The more I see Niggers, the more I like flies.”
–Clarence Thomas, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States”

8 – Bill Cosby/Sex Addict, Rapist

Bill Cosby - Its True!“I’ve really avoided this whole convo because in my mind, being from the South and knowing what happened to Black men touching white women, there is no way in the entire hell that this dude did that all of that, all that damn time and it didn’t gain any traction in a court of law and no stories gained steam.”

9 – “Slaves” Versus “Enslaved Africans”

“Maybe one day, the use of the term “the slaves” will be frowned upon much as the use of the term “nigger” is frowned upon. Maybe we will one day refer to our ancestors that came to the Americas as our people who were enslaved, human beings who were forced to slave on sugar cane plantations, cotton plantations, in rice fields and so on.”

10 – Reading and Writing Science Fiction: The Challenge to Minorities

“ …let’s face it, if your entire galaxy is populated, then there has to be more black people than Lando Calrissian. Even when Stargate changed from an African/Egyptian origin to a European/Ancients origin, I could still watch the show.”

Here are the most popular discussion forum conversation from the past 30 days:

1 – 3 Reasons the Confederate Flag is Not a Problem

Kayne and the conferate battle flag“ …I really can’t get so bent out of shape over the Confederate battle flag controversy. This media fueled-for-profit outrage does nothing to advance our cause.  Before the recent mass murder in Charleston, I posted a photo of this flag which is flying quite prominently over I-95, in VA…”

2 – Dumb sh-t on Black Twitter #RachelDolezal

“Black Twitter, despite the name, does not serve Black people.  It helps enrich the likes of Twitter, and the so called news sources that propagate dumb shit like this.”

3 – Black Lives Don’t Matter, But Black Dollars Do

We Must BoycottBlack Enterprise reported that Black buying power will reach $1.1 Trillion this year.  How much of that money goes to Black owned Businesses.  I don’t know, but I’ll bet my life very little of it does.”

What makes discussion forums unique?

Discussion forums are one of the oldest forms of “social media,”predating the World Wide Web. CompuServe, before it became a popular internet service provider (ISP), had its own proprietary discussion forums.  Discussion forums, like text messages and email are the foundations that all other social media platforms are built upon.

Interestingly, the most popular modern social media platforms are actually less feature rich, from an end user’s perspective, than discussion forums from a decade ago. Consider the fact that even the most basic text formatting features, like the use of bold face, italics, or changing text size is simply not made available to users on modern social media platforms.  The use of images, hyperlinks, and videos are also strictly constrained.

Discussion forum conversations, in contrast to social media, provide the ability of participants to create rich media content which includes colorful text, multiple images, embedded videos and hyperlinks and more.  Discussion forums are optimized for substantive conversations, and conversations can last months or even years.  For example, the “Still Bill” conversation listed above was started in January of 2010, but is still frequently read today.

Social media has its place, and so do discussion forums.

With all the focus on social media, run by billion dollar corporations, discussion forums, which are typically run by independent entities get virtually no attention.  Social media is optimized for revenue generation.  As a result, the nature of the activity is different.  Long contemplative posts are less desireable than short messages, because long posts appeal to fewer people. Social media filters the messages that you see based upon what they think will engage you more. As a result, you may not see messages that differ from your algorithmically determined worldview.

news-foumsDiscussion forums require more effort to participate than social media.  Writing a thoughtful opinion or crafting a argument is much more difficult than sharing a humorous meme or short note.

AALBC.com’s Discussion Forums

AALBC.com forums have continued to evolve over the years.  Our software was upgraded recently to optimize it for mobile access. Our forums have enjoyed an increase in readership of 45% compared to last year. However, the number of people who have actually joined a conversation by writing something has been steadily declining over that last few years.  Growth in readership is great, but for a discussion forum to thrive it needs active participation.

We encourage you to read what is going on; participate by joining a conversation or starting a new one; and sharing with others what we are doing.  Ours is an independent platform, we do not mine your profile for information and sell it to others; in fact you may remain completely anonymous.  We don’t bombard you with advertisements or post advertisements, masked as opinion.  We are regular people who don’t mind having our ideas challenged–indeed this is what we are looking for, because we grow from the experience.  Our primary goal is to build community, learn and enjoy the process.

We can’t replicate what we have on social media, the functionality is simply not there.  Even if we could migrate AALBC.com’s discussion forums to say, a Facebook group and not lose functionality, I still don’t think it would be a good move, because ownership is important.

AALBC.com’s forums are here for the long term. So pop in from time to time; Share your ideas and let us know what you think.


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