Being true to the diverse world around us is essential in our stories–whether we’re writing facts or fiction. Yet inclusion can backfire when our representations of those unlike ourselves rely on cliches, superficial analysis, or unrealized biases. This panel with writers from around the globe will discuss considerations for further understanding, research strategies, and specific cautions around how to write people fairly and authentically.
Date: Wednesday, April 26, 2017
Time: 6:00 pm – 8:30 pm (Meet & Greet at 6:00; program starts at 6:45)
Location: Firehouse Theatre 1609 West Broad Street, Richmond, VA, 23220
Price: $12 – Members; $15 Non-members ($5 for students)
Thank you to Meg Medina and Javier Menendez for sponsoring this month’s show.
Osita Iroegbu, a first generation Nigerian-American, is a community advocate, educator and communications professional. She previously worked at the Richmond Times-Dispatch newspaper as a general assignment reporter and at Legal Times weekly news magazine where she covered lobbying on Capitol Hill. She spent time as a public relations practitioner at Richmond Redevelopment and Housing Authority and Virginia State University where her work included speech writing, media relations and community engagement. She also taught and co-instructed mass communication classes at Virginia State University and Virginia Commonwealth University. Osita, a Richmond native, is currently a PhD candidate in VCU’s Media, Art and Text doctoral program where she researches the intersection of media, race/class/gender, health and social justice. She is co-founder of the African Community Network, a nonprofit organization providing resources and services to African individuals and families in the Greater Metro Richmond area, and founder of the Little Princesses Mentoring Program, which links girls living in underserved communities with positive women in college. She occasionally writes editorial pieces for the Times-Dispatch as a guest columnist and has a newly-found affinity for Afrofuturistic literature and art.
You can find Osita on Twitter at @osiroegbu.
Matthew Freeman’s passion for racial reconciliation and social justice has led him across the United States and overseas, helping people connect across difference and begin to address the challenges that divide them. Matthew believes the solutions to our most intractable problems, like social division and poverty, require bold leadership willing to try risky and innovative solutions. When given the opportunity, Matthew can help groups find the courage to tackle their most pernicious problems and move toward collaboration, mutual understanding, and action. As TMI’s Principal Consultant, Matthew oversees the company’s facilitation and training designs, leads its research teams, and keeps his colleagues guessing what TMI’s resident philosopher is up to. In addition to facilitating dialogue in corporate, educational, and community settings, Matthew has contributed articles to such publications as The International Journal of Public Participation and National Civic Review and has co-authored a book, Overcoming Bias: Building Authentic Relationships Across Differences, which was published by Berrett-Koehler Publishers.
Maha Addasi was born and raised in Kuwait. The year she graduated high school, there were 67 different nationalities represented in the school, giving her a glimpse into many cultures that she found fascinating. She graduated from Butler University with a degree in journalism, and went on to produce and present radio and television programs for Jordan Radio and T.V., Emirates Dubai T.V. and the BBC, where she sometimes addressed intense topics.
While her day job has led her into the financial world, her true passion is writing. She continues to focus on starting dialogues about multicultural writing, by connecting bridges through familiar terrain such as family relationships and dynamics which are universal, connecting themes.
Maha is the author of The White Nights of Ramadan and Time to Pray, both from Boyds Mills Press. Also, The Kid’s Guide to Arab American History from The Chicago Review Press.
You can reach Maha on Facebook @maha.addasi.
Nick Angel, 38, grew up in rural Australia. He previously worked as a lawyer in Paris, Sydney, Cambodia and Myanmar. For several years, he was an environmental lawyer. His first novel, Drown them in the Sea (Allen & Unwin 2005) received popular and critical acclaim and was a winner of the Australian Vogel Literary Award, Australia’s most prestigious award for authors under the age of 35. He was also the recipient of the Sydney Morning Herald’s Young Novelist of the Year Award.
For the past four and a half years, he has lived abroad in South East Asia, the Middle East and Europe (presently in Berlin). He is a French speaker and translator.
He has a new novel, Temple & Dean, which will shortly be on submission with Australian/European literary agency Zeitgeist Media. Temple & Dean is set in a fictional town in the United States.
Annette Marquis works as Program Director for James River Writers. In addition, she is the owner of Marquis Enterprises, LLC, an intercultural developing consulting firm. She is a Qualified Administrator of the Intercultural Development Inventory® and has extensive experience in multicultural and inclusion work in non-profit, faith-based, and health care organizations, and technology businesses. She is a founding member of the Living Legacy Project (civil rights immersion experiences), the Richmond Pledge to End Racism, and Allies for Racial Equity.
Annette has a Master of Fine Arts degree in Creative Nonfiction from the Solstice MFA Low-Residency Program at Pine Manor College and a Master of Social Work degree from Boston University. She is the author of Resistance: A Memoir of Civil Disobedience in Maricopa County from Skinner House Books, a contributor to The Women of Katrina: How Gender, Race, and Class Matter in an American Disaster, Struggling in Good Faith: LGBTQI Inclusion from 13 American Religious Perspectives, Coming Out in Faith, and Bless the Imperfect, and co-author of over twenty-five software books. She lives in Henrico, VA, with her wife, Wendy DeGroat.
See our Meetup page for other literary events in the area.