Join authors Afua Ansong, Eli Nixon, and Mariahadessa Ekere Tallie online Thurs, July 28 at 7pm for Author as Activist: The Art of NOW!, a conversation moderated by What Cheer Writers Club Advisory Committee Members Frank Maradiaga and Cherie Rowe on the intersections between writing, art and activism. How do contemporary authors advocate for social justice in their work and in the world? Is just writing enough? How can our words work for change, what are our responsibilities to the public as writers and citizens, and how can we assess the effectiveness of our contributions? Learn how these authors have found inspiration during political and personal upheavals, where they turn for guidance and support as activist artists, and how to best channel your own passions for equity and social justice into creative practice.
About the Panelists
Afua Ansong is a postdoctoral scholar and artist at Mt. Holyoke College. She received her PhD in English Literature and Creative Writing from University of Rhode Island. She is an advocate of Black/African women’s voices. Her work interrogates representations of Black female subjectivities in African Diaspora Literature. She is working on a collection of poems about the material culture and poetic elements of the Adinkra Symbols from Ghana. Specifically, she is recording how West African oral art serves as a mode of expression and survival for enslaved Akans in bondage. She has two chapbooks, Black Ballad (Bull City Press, 2022), Try Kissing God (Akashic, 2020) and American Mercy (Finishing Line Press, 2019), and has published work in Prairie Schooner, Four Way Review, Maine Review and other journals. She has received scholarships from Bread Loaf and Blue Mountain Center. More of her work is at afuasong.com.
Eli Nixon builds portals and gives guided tours to places that don’t yet exist, or exist but call for creative intervention. They are a settler-descended transqueer clown, a cardboard constructionist, and a maker of plays, puppets, parades, pageants, suitcase theaters, drawings, and low-tech public spectaculah. Eli collaborates with artists, activists, schools, mental health and recovery centers, libraries and the more-than-human world to expand imaginative capacity and build muscles for collective liberation. Eli’s current creative efforts include parenting a 13-year-old human, building a 450-million-year timeline out of recyclables, and supporting local and planetary movements for abolition, reparations, and multispecies justice. BLOODTIDE, Eli’s proposal for a new holiday in homage to horseshoe crabs was published in November by The 3rd Thing Press.
Mariahadessa Ekere Tallie is the author of the award-winning children’s book Layla’s Happiness (Enchanted Lion Books),the poetry collections Strut (Agape Editions) and Karma’s Footsteps (Flipped Eye), and Dear Continuum: Letters to a Poet Crafting Liberation (Grand Concourse Press). She creates self-care posters and herbal medicines with her daughters and cinepoems with her husband. She is a Ph.D. candidate in the Theatre Arts and Performance Studies program at Brown University. Mariahadessa is the mother of three galaxies who look like daughters. www.ekeretallie.com
What Cheer Writers Club is actively committed to cultivating a community that values and reflects diversity, equity and inclusivity and to providing programming that is accessible to all attendees. Please let us know about any accommodations we can make to allow you to participate fully in this event.
This event was made possible through a grant funded by the National Writing Project as part of the National Endowment for the Humanities’ American Rescue Plan: Humanities Grantmaking program.