‘We’re not speaking from one voice’: Discussion series on black women writers opens in Minneapolis

By Ibrahim Hirsi, MinnPost


A panel discussion Sunday afternoon featuring seven African-American women writers who explored identity, publishing and social issues brought together more than 150 people at the Loft Literary Center in Minneapolis.

The panel was the first of a three-part series presenting the experiences, challenges and success stories of local black women writers from across the diaspora, including Africa, the Caribbean and the United States.

Carolyn Holbrook, a writer and educator who instigated the “More than a Single Story” discussions, said she hopes the series will redefine the diverse voices of black Americans and accentuate the rich cultures within the community members, who are often, as the panelists put it, “lumped together” as though they share a single experience.

“For some reason, white America tends to lump us into one voice,” Holbrook, who moderated the discussion, said in an interview. “We’re not speaking from one voice. We have so many different experiences, different exposures to life.”

In her opening remarks, Holbrook spoke of her encounter with a white woman during a reading event with black writers at Birchbark Books a few years ago. The woman, Holbrook added, explained how surprised she was to learn that black communities are so different.

“I was appalled, yet fascinated,” Holbrook said of the woman’s comment. “I’m sure her comment was sincere. What she said came from a belief that she shares with many, many others.”

Continue reading at MinnPost

Ibrahim Hirsi reports on immigrant communities, social issues, marginalized groups and people who work on making a difference in the lives of others. A graduate from the University of Minnesota, he interned for Newsday and has written for multiple publications in Minnesota.

Follow Ibrahim Hirsi on Twitter: @IHirsi.

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