Monday, October 21, 2013

Literary Events from Delta's National Convention

In case you didn't know, I am a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.  I know, the blog's background and the 1913 on the end of my website address gave it away.  But something awesome happened this year: on January 13, we celebrated 100 years of sisterhood!

To celebrate this milestone, Delta held their biggest National Convention yet in our nation's capital! They pulled out all of the stops to make sure the 38,000 people in attendance had a good time.  And two of the programs that are always popular (at least, in my opinion) they have for the sorors during conventions is the author and artist pavilion and the Literary Cafe, which were on July 15-16.  And I like going to the step show too.

This was the second National Convention I went to.  In 2008, I attended the convention in Orlando.  The big draw that year was Hill Harper, who just came out with Letters for a Young Sister.  And E. Lynn Harris was there (sadly, this will be the last time I saw him because he passed a year later).  So I knew what the pavilion and Literary Cafe was about.

So this year, they announced on Facebook which authors were coming and most of your pretty big African-American authors were going to be there. Carl Weber, Mary B. Morrison, Kimberla Lawson Roby, Victoria Christopher Murary, ReShonda Tate Billingsly, Donna Hill, and Karen Quinones Miller were all there.  It was great to see my Facebook friends Curtis Bunn, Booker T. Mattison and Trice Hickman.  And I saw Kwame Alexander too. I run into him everywhere. :-)

But the big draw was going to be Judy Smith (the inspiration behind Scandal's Olivia Pope) and Michael Vick. Yes, Eagles quarterback Michael Vick.  And he has an autobiography out.

After two days of greeting authors and signing (and buying) books, it was time for the Literary Cafe.  There was music this year, including Chante Moore (She looks great.).  First off, Judy Smith never showed up to either of the events.  Michael Vick signed books eariler in the day (I should have taken my book to get signed then, but we'll get back to that reason later).  Kimberla, Mary, Carl and a 10-year-old author (who was a cutie) came out and talked about their books.  There was a lot of reaction from the sorors regarding Mary's attire (they must have never seen Mary or have read her books).  And Carl came walking in like George Jefferson.

But the kicker was Michael.  The host of the event literally had to hold Michael's hand to get him on to the stage.  And his statements were very short and he struggled to talk.  I found out later that Michael is very shy and had a speech impediment as a child, which explains a lot.

It was promoted that Michael (along with Kimberla, Carl, Mary and the young author) were going to sign books after they spoke.  So there was this long line for Michael and he never came back out.  Sorors were PISSED. They wanted their money back because they had bought his book and he didn't come out to sign.  Something told me that we weren't going to get our money back (because I've been to enough book signings to get a feeling for these things), and of course, that's exactly what happened. The only option was to exchange Michael's book for Kimberla's.  And that is what I did and had her to sign it.

I personally believe that Michael was not told that he was going to sign books at the Literary Cafe.  This is why.  There was a male author (who has a pretty good following) was suppose to show up at the pavilion, but they were still selling his books.  When I asked if he was coming, another male author (who was in charge of getting the authors and selling the books) said that the author wasn't coming due to a family emergency.  This was the same excuse used to get the sorors to leave after Michael didn't come back out after the Literary Cafe.

Despite the no-shows, I still had a good time.  I bought so many books that they had to be mailed back to Charleston.  Got a chance to meet authors I haven't met and meet up with others that I haven't seen in a while. Can't wait until Houston in 2015 (hopefully)!

Below is a video from The Book Look covering the event.

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