Have you ever dreamed of writing for HBO or seeing your name on the NY Times bestseller list? Learn how these LA literary rock stars did it. They’ll also discuss the challenges of writing for a multicultural audience. You’ll get the inside scoop on how they made it big, where they find inspiration and get advice on how to make your scripts or essays irresistible. They’ll offer their take on what black writers can expect to encounter from publishers, TV networks, and in the writers room. Join us for a lively conversation with some of LA’s hottest black writers, the first in our series of conversations of diverse literary voices at Writing Pad.
Panelists: Issa Rae, Percival Everett, Tina Mabry
Moderator: Erin Aubry Kaplan
Thursday, September 12, 2013
8:00 – 10:00 p.m.
Issa Rae is the creator and star of the popular webseries, “The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl” (ABG). As a Forbes 30 Under 30 recipient, Root 100 Most Influential Person and winner of the 2012 Shorty Award for Best Web Show for ABG. In 2012, Issa Rae and ABG caught the attention of renowned artist and tastemaker, Pharrell Williams who hosted ABG Season 2 on his new Google Channel, “i am OTHER” in Summer 2012. In Fall 2012, Rae worked with Shonda Rhimes and ABC Studios to develop a half-hour comedy series called, “I Hate L.A. Dudes.” Issa is currently working with Tracey Edmonds and AlrightTV to release a musical web series called, “The Choir.” Larry Wilmore and Issa Rae are also co-writing a comedy series project for HBO, with Rae set to star. On the literary front, Issa is is currently slated to release a book of essays with Simon & Schuster in 2014.
Percival Everett is the author of more than 20 novels, three collections of short fiction, and two volumes of poetry. Among his novels, all published by Graywolf, are Percival Everett by Virgil Russell (2013), Assumption (2011), I Am Not Sidney Poitier (2009), The Water Cure (2008), Wounded, Glyph, Erasure, Zulus, Watershed, and God’s Country. His poetry collections are Swimming Simmers Swimming (2011 and re: f(gesture), both published by Red Hen Press. He is the recipient of the PEN Center USA Award for Fiction, the Academy Award from an American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award, The Believer Book Award, The Vallombrosa Von Rezzori Prize, the PEN/Oakland-Josephine Miles Award for Excellence in Literature, and a New American Writing Award. His stories have been included in the Pushcart Prize Anthology and Best American Short Stories. He has served as a judge for, among others, the 1997 National Book Award for fiction and the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction in 1991. He teaches fiction writing and critical theory and is currently a Distinguished Professor of English at the University of Southern California.
Tina Mabry is an award-winning director, filmmaker and writer. Tina’s short film, “Brooklyn’s Bridge to Jordan” screened at more than fifty film festivals worldwide and won multiple Jury and Audience Awards as well as an award for Best Director. Tina co-wrote the feature screenplay “Itty Bitty Titty Committee”, which was directed by Jamie Babbit (“But I’m a Cheerleader”). The film premiered at the Berlin International Film Festival (2007) and won Best Feature Narrative at the South by Southwest Film & Music Festival (2007). Tina’s 2008 feature “Mississippi Damned” garnered an impressive 13 awards from participation in 15 film festivals including awards for Best Feature Film and Best Screenplay at the Chicago International Film Festival (2009). Tina’s latest feature, “County Line”, won the 2011 Tribeca All Access Creative Promise Award and her latest short film, “Crossover”, premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival (2012) and recently screened at the Urbanworld Film Festival (2012). Tina was named among the “25 New Faces of Independent Film” in Filmmaker Magazine in July of 2009 and was recognized by Out Magazine as one of the most inspirational and outstanding people of 2009. She was featured in the Advocate magazine as part of their “Top Forty Under 40” issue, which features the top 40 individuals who are raising the bar in their respective fields. In June 2012, Tina participated in the Fox Writers Intensive, a highly selective writer’s initiative designed to introduce experienced writers with unique voices, backgrounds, life and professional experiences. Tina graduated from the University of Southern California’s School of Cinematic Arts with an MFA in Film Production.
Erin Aubry Kaplan is an award-winning journalist and columnist who has written about African-American political, economic and cultural issues since 1992. She is currently a contributing editor to the op-ed section of the Los Angeles Times, and from 2005 to 2007 was a weekly op-ed columnist – the first black weekly op-ed columnist in the paper’s history. She has been a staff writer and columnist for the LA Weekly and New Times Los Angeles. She is a regular contributor for many publications, including Salon.com, Essence, Black Enterprise, BlackAmericaWeb, Ms. and the Independent. She is also a regular columnist for make/shift, a quarterly, cutting-edge feminist magazine that launched in 2007. Her LA Weekly feature, “Blue Like Me” won the PEN USA 2001 award for journalism. Erin’s essays have been anthologized in several books, including “Mothers Who Think: Tales of Real-Life Parenthood” (Villard, Washington Square Press), “Step Into A World” (Wiley & Sons) and “Rise Up Singing: Black Women Writers on Motherhood” (Doubleday). The last book’s contributors include Maya Angelou, Gwendolyn Brooks and Alice Walker, and won an American Book Award in 2004. Her own first book of essays and journalism, “Black Talk, Blue Thoughts and Walking the Color Line: Dispatches From a Black Journalista”, was published Fall 2011 by the University Press of New England (UPNE) as part of its Northeastern Library of Black Literature. Erin teaches creative nonfiction at the Antioch University MFA in Creative Writing program and is a journalism advisor at University of Redlands.