Tamika Newhouse

When Tamika Newhouse started the African Americans on the Move Book Club (AAMBC) in 2008 she had no idea it would eventually lead to her hosting Black Writers Weekend, an annual event that is not to be missed by African American writers and bloggers.

“I stumbled into creating the online community,” Newhouse says. “I wanted to be part of a book club but I was in a new city, I didn’t have any friends, and I thought it would be pretty weird for a grown woman to walk up to other grown women and say ‘Hey, I like to read books. Do you like to read books? Let’s read books together.’”

So she started a MySpace page and created an online book club of her own, one that focused on reading and discussing the work of African American authors. She quickly realized that there were many black writers out there not getting the attention they deserved. So, in 2009 Newhouse launched the AAMBC Literary Awards in San Antonio, Texas to recognize and honor black writers. In the years following awards ceremonies were also held in Chicago and Baltimore. In 2015 the event grew to include a red carpet ceremony and was held in Atlanta. This marked the beginning of Black Writers Weekend.

The 2018 AAMBC Literary Awards and Black Writers Weekend is set for June 8-10 in Atlanta.

The weekend will feature a blogger social meant to connect writers with influencers.

“Many writers and authors do not understand the importance of getting from behind your computer and networking and shaking hands with people who want to talk about your book,” Newhouse says. “I wanted to make it a little bit easier for them and put them in a room with people.”

At Pitch Fest, writers will have the opportunity to pitch ideas for books, screenplays, and more.

“What makes the awards show and Black Writers Weekend unique is it’s not just about book writers,” Newhouse says. “It’s about writers across the board whether you’re writing a play, a screenplay, a song, or a book.”

The weekend will even include an Access to Hollywood panel discussion designed with screenwriters in mind. And songwriters don’t want to miss the BooksxBeats event, which will include a panel discussion with music industry professionals and a spoken word cypher.

Urban Book Bash is a massive book signing and party designed for literature lovers.  And another must-attend event is Lit Ish, which will feature what is sure to be a thought-provoking discussion on the Netflix series She’s Gotta Have It.

This all leads up to the main event — the AAMBC Literary Awards Ceremony, set for Saturday, June 9. Past ceremonies have honored literary legends like poet Nikki Giovanni. This year Wahida Clark, known for her popular Thug series novels, will be honored with a trailblazer award.

“She birthed an entire genre,” Newhouse says of Clark, who began her writing career while serving time in prison and whose novels have been listed on the New York Times and Essence best-sellers list.  

The awards celebrate nominees in a number of genres including Christian fiction, Street Lit, film, romance, self-help, blogging, and more. There are even awards for best magazine, best book club, and literary activism. (There’s still time to cast your vote at aambcawards.com.)

The weekend will close Sunday with brunch and a Books and Cocktails event.

Newhouse is passionate about celebrating black writers because she too is a writer. She has written more than a dozen novels, helped launch the careers of hundreds of writers, and now has her eye on writing for television and film.

Newhouse often says that she feels she didn’t choose writing, but that writing chose her because it’s something she’s been doing since she was a child.

“During recess, that’s what I was doing — writing,” Newhouse says. “I was just different. I did not get along with the other girls. When the girls were talking about something I was like, ‘I don’t want to talk about that.’ The world I created (through writing) was way more interesting than the world that I lived in.”

Despite her days of being a loner on the playground, Newhouse believes in the power community. Though many writers consider themselves shy introverts, Newhouse believes building community is just an extension of what writers already do on the page.

“You just create your own universe and you ask people to come join that,” she says. “That is what an artist does. They create something and say, ‘Hey! Come play with me!'”

In fact, her main piece of advice for women writers is to find a tribe.

“Find people who have the same focus, the same ambition, the same consistency as you and link arms with them and see what work you all can get done together,” Newhouse says. “You can get there together quicker than you can apart.”

Get your tickets to Black Writers Weekend and the AAMBC Awards here. Use the code SJWAcess to get 20% off your ticket. (Code valid through February 28.)

Enter to win a free Silver Pass to Black Writers Weekend. The silver pass will give the winner access to Friday’s Urban Book Bash, Saturday’s Lit Ish- She’s Gotta Have It panel, BooksXBeats, the awards ceremony, and Sunday’s brunch and Books and Cocktails event.

Use the form below to enter.

The winner will be announced Thursday, February 22. 

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32 Comments on Why You Should Attend Black Writers Weekend 2018

  1. Tracie
    February 13, 2018 at 9:24 pm (2 weeks ago)

    I would love to attend this event. I have never heard of it and I think the networking would be great for me. I can put Javacias networking tips to great use!

    Reply
    • javacia
      February 15, 2018 at 10:38 am (1 week ago)

      Yes! It would be a great opportunity for networking!

      Reply
  2. Valerie T Jones
    February 14, 2018 at 8:49 pm (1 week ago)

    Thanks for sharing! Never heard of such but very happy to know it exist!!

    Reply
    • javacia
      February 15, 2018 at 10:38 am (1 week ago)

      I’m glad to introduce it to new people.

      Reply
  3. Jaqueline
    February 15, 2018 at 10:01 am (1 week ago)

    I would love to attend this event! I am restarting my personal blog (allegedly) and welcome the opportunity to meet and connect with other writers. I am excited that it even exists. (AND I HOPE I WIN!)

    Reply
    • javacia
      February 15, 2018 at 10:39 am (1 week ago)

      In my mind, I’m crossing out the word “allegedly” in your comment.

      Reply
  4. Jocelyn Nelson
    February 15, 2018 at 2:09 pm (1 week ago)

    I’m not familiar with this event but I’m all the way here forevents that brings black creatives together. I would live to attend because I need some added motivation to get back into blogging and brand building. The first couple years of my blog have had many ups & downs and I’ve gotten away from blogging all together. My word for 2018 its elevation and I’m trying to expose myself to everything I can to grow myself in every aspect so this would be an amazing opportunity.

    Reply
    • javacia
      February 15, 2018 at 2:32 pm (1 week ago)

      Elevation – such a great word for 2018!

      Reply
  5. Ariel Worthy
    February 15, 2018 at 2:38 pm (1 week ago)

    I’m so happy to know about this! It has been a goal to attend an event like this! I’m so excited! Thanks for sharing!

    Reply
    • javacia
      February 15, 2018 at 2:55 pm (1 week ago)

      Thanks for reading. I hope to see you there!

      Reply
  6. Tiffany Parker
    February 15, 2018 at 3:40 pm (1 week ago)

    This sounds like so much fun as well as a great networking event. Would love to go

    Reply
    • javacia
      February 15, 2018 at 4:32 pm (1 week ago)

      I know! I can’t wait!

      Reply
  7. Kim
    February 15, 2018 at 4:17 pm (1 week ago)

    This event sounds more than amazing!! I am so excited!! I’ve never heard of it but anytime we can get together and network and empower each other is a great thing! Thank you for this post!

    Reply
    • javacia
      February 15, 2018 at 4:32 pm (1 week ago)

      Thanks for reading! I hope you can make it to the event.

      Reply
  8. LaKisha Cargill
    February 15, 2018 at 6:17 pm (1 week ago)

    Never heard of this. Would love to attend. May be the spark I need.

    Reply
    • javacia
      February 16, 2018 at 3:50 am (1 week ago)

      I’m glad I could introduce you to Black Writers Weekend.

      Reply
  9. Nisa Jordan
    February 15, 2018 at 11:19 pm (1 week ago)

    This would be a treat for me like shopping. I love this concept and I wonder why I didn’t know about this sooner. I would love the experience of getting to see other writers and bloggers in action. My love of reading and writing makes this even more tantalizing for me. It will be a memory never forgotten.

    Reply
    • javacia
      February 16, 2018 at 3:49 am (1 week ago)

      I’m with you! I’d rather go to a Writing or blogging event than go shopping any day!

      Reply
  10. CaNesha
    February 16, 2018 at 1:40 am (1 week ago)

    I would love to attend because as I am trying to grow my blog I think it would be a good way to get out and network to meet other writers and bloggers. And also because I saw Wahida Clark is being recognized…I have read all or at least most of her books. She is definitely one of my favs and her story is pretty amazing.

    Reply
    • javacia
      February 16, 2018 at 3:48 am (1 week ago)

      Yes, her story is very powerful!

      Reply
  11. Dionne
    February 16, 2018 at 10:10 am (1 week ago)

    I would love to attend so I could network with other creatives & readers.

    Reply
    • javacia
      February 18, 2018 at 1:24 pm (6 days ago)

      Networking is so important for writers!

      Reply
  12. Genevieve Bien-Aime
    February 16, 2018 at 10:50 am (1 week ago)

    This is dope! I’ve only been writing for a little over a year, and still learning about what’s out there. This appears to be a great resource and I look forward to going God-willing!

    Reply
    • javacia
      February 18, 2018 at 1:25 pm (6 days ago)

      I hope to see you there!

      Reply
  13. D.S. Little
    February 18, 2018 at 8:27 pm (6 days ago)

    I would love to attend because I believe that this weekend for a new writer is life-changing. I believe the knowledge and networking that can come from this weekend is something that will follow me forever. I look forward to meeting writers of all levels and learning as much as I can about the ins and outs of all aspects of writing.

    Reply
    • javacia
      February 21, 2018 at 6:37 am (4 days ago)

      I hope to see you there!

      Reply
  14. Monique
    February 20, 2018 at 7:28 pm (4 days ago)

    I have always wanted to attend this event and now that I live in the Metro ATL area, it looks as if my chances are better than ever this year. I would love to be surrounded my other writers and authors for motivation and inspiration.

    Reply
    • javacia
      February 21, 2018 at 6:37 am (4 days ago)

      Yes! I hope we can hang out while I’m in ATL for the event.

      Reply
  15. Marliceia
    February 20, 2018 at 9:06 pm (4 days ago)

    This is so exciting! I am a firm believer that your networth is determined by your network. It would be a true honor to rub shoulders and build relationships with other black writers from around the globe. I would love to witness this awe inspiring event and witness the magic of so many. I want to learn, grow, laugh, and gain rapport. As a new blogger with aspirations of authorship, this will give me so many of the tools I need and something to look towards.

    Reply
    • javacia
      February 21, 2018 at 6:36 am (4 days ago)

      I think you would really enjoy this event!

      Reply
  16. Tanisia Moore
    February 20, 2018 at 9:41 pm (4 days ago)

    This event sounds amazing. I would love to attend to be able to network with other authors and get my novel into the hands of readers. Especially readers who love supporting new authors. It would also provide me a great opportunity to network in my attorney role. Two for one special!

    Reply
    • javacia
      February 21, 2018 at 6:36 am (4 days ago)

      This event would be perfect for you!

      Reply

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