Wednesday, August 3, 2011

National Book Club Conference 2011

From left, Valinda, Nadia, Veronica, Flash, myself and Cat
As you can tell, my "trying to blog everyday during the conference" experiment didn't work. But now I am back (and got some much needed rest), I can tell you about the AWESOME time I had at the National Book Club Conference in Atlanta.

I attended this great event with the Literary Divas of the Lowcountry, which I am a member of. I was with my friends Cat, Valinda (who you can meet here), Nadia, Veronica and Flashette.

Here is a recap of our experience at NBBC.

Thursday night: We attended the Black Pearls Magazine Chocolate Social. So we got dressed up and walked to the Westin, which is a block or two from the Hyatt, which where the conference was. And for those who don't know what the Westin is, it is the tall round hotel in downtown Atlanta.

So we went to this social and....let's just say we were highly disappointed. The program and the networking was WAY TOO LONG. It was advertised as a dinner and we were hoping it was a sit-down dinner. But instead it was finger foods that they ran out of (Valinda and I were the unlucky ones, barely getting any food). The only sign of chocolate was the candy bars the book club presidents got. And there really wasn't a lot of socializing since a lot of people just got off the road, were tired, and just wanted something to eat. And did I mentioned we each spent $45 on this?

But all was not lost. A lot of authors who were a part of NBBC did take part in the social. We got to meet and see several authors at the event. We also checked out several self-published authors and vendors who were selling their items.

Flash meeting RM Johnson

I got to meet Carleen Brice!

Friday: The day started off with the Bebe Moore Campbell Memorial Award Breakfast, which honored Tina McElroy Ansa. She gave a great speech on her memories of Bebe and how she plans to carry Bebe's legacy with her. There was also an acknowledgement of E. Lynn Harris by R. M. Johnson, who recently completed a book the two were working on together. And did I mention that he sat next to me during breakfast?

Author and panel breakout sessions were next and we first attended the romance panel, with Kimberly Kaye Terry, J. D. Mason, Beverly Jenkins and Brenda Jackson. Then we went to the session with Tayari Jones, who wrote Silver Sparrow. She read from various parts of the book and talked about her inspiration behind it (no, her father is not a bigamist). Just recently read the book (and I'm still P. Oed at James), I was excited to meet her. I think the other book club members (except for Flash, who also read the book) will be reading the book very soon.

We next attended the session with Dolen Perkins-Valdez, who wrote Wench. She was incredible too. She discussed the need for African-Americans to tell their stories and to let the African-American community know that they are loved and cared for.

Next, we attended the panel discussion on Social Media and Books. The event, which discussed how authors use social medial (such as Facebook and Twitter). It was moderated by Malkaika Adero and featured Tananarive Due, Terrance Dean and Allison Hobbs. And then it was announced that Zane was in the audience. Yes, that Zane! :-)

After finally getting a bit to eat, we split up and some of us attended Lutisha Lovely while others attended the Love Literature session with Moses Miller, Marc Lacy and Brian W. Smith. Then we got back together and saw Omar Tyree. Some of my friends were impressed with him, but I was like meh. Maybe because I read some of his most recent works and wasn't too impressed. After that, we attended a closing day reception. After dinner, some of us also attended a social media session that was very informative. Valinda and I got a lot of ideas for our blogs.

Saturday: We started off the day with the World's Largest Book Club Meeting with the one and only Walter Mosely! He was so cool and nice. He answered questions about his book and read the first chapter of the next Leonid McGill book.

We next attended the session with Kimberla Lawson Roby, who talked about the next two books (and yes, one of them is about Curtis and Charlotte).

For those who expected me to see Tyrese and Roland Martin, you would be disappointed because I didn't see them (but I did see Roland and his wife at the closing banquet). Several of us saw Roland at our local Black Expo several years ago. And we weren't interested in seeing Tyrese (and this may have something to do with it). So we took the time to see Carl Weber and eat lunch.

After lunch, we went to see Daniel Black, who is the author of Perfect Peace. And OMG, he was awesome. When he started reading from the book, he acted out the characters! I was very impressed by him and would love to read his other books in the future.

After attending the session with B.W. Read, the book club who wrote Fourth Sunday, we wanted to be early for the panel discussion of The Future of Black Books. Mostly because Cat and I wanted to have our pictures taken with Ernessa T. Carter, for obvious reasons.
Team Davie!

The panel discussion was very interesting. Some expressed fears over e-books and how some self-published authors were selling their books for .99. Others expressed displeasure over the lack of African-American books that become movies. And don't get them started on The Help.

After attending another reception, we got ready for Walter Mosley Author of Distinction Award Dinner. Judge Glenda Hatchett was the honoree. She talked about her latest book, and gave stories about her childhood. She ended the dinner by encouraging everyone to "tell their own story," which is based on advice her father gave her after receiving old textbooks in first grade.

Sunday: Before we said our goodbyes to the NBBC and the city of Atlanta, we attended the children's book panel with Stephanie Perry Moore, L. Divine and Evelyn Coleman. They discussed ways how to reach out to African-American children and how to encourage them to read.

Well, all good things must come to an end. I may not be able to attend the event next year (which is in South Africa), but would love to attend the Women's Empowerment Summit in Atlanta next July. I admit, I was in hog heaven. I felt like Templeton at the fair.


  1. Well, I love it, just love it. I just completed my blog. No pictures. I'm going to take a few more blogs because I got's lot to say. All in All it was the bes time. The Best time. You are the Best MAYA!!!!

  2. Looks like you had an awesome time!

  3. I had the best time. Between this and my sorority's regional conference I had a good week. But all good things must come to an end and I have to go back to work in the morning.

  4. Maya, it was so great meeting you at NBBC. Thanks for this post.

  5. This sounds wonderful. I hadnt heard of this conference until a week prior so there was no way to convince my book club to travel from California to Atlanta in such short notice. Hopefully, they'll be back in Atlanta in 2013. Sounds like a blast.