2020 Inclusive Literature Conference: Diversity in Publishing

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Join The Writer’s Center for a virtual one-day conference on diversity in publishing!

Whether you are a seasoned author, aspiring writer, or a conscientious reader, the 2020 Inclusive Literature Conference is for you! This one-day conference is dedicated to moving the discussion forward in the DMV for inclusive literature. Join industry professionals as they share concrete advice on how to succeed in publishing and how you can support underrepresented voices. Panels include discussions on advocating for inclusive literature, the role of independent bookstores, diversity in children’s publishing, and writing for representation, featuring panelists from Washington DC’s vibrant literary community.

Register below, and you’ll receive login information the week of the conference. The conference will be held via the video conferencing platform Zoom.

5 scholarships available! To apply, please email zach.powers@writer.org with a brief statement (no more than 100 words) as to why you would like to attend the conference and how it will benefit your writing or publishing career.


Welcome from TWC

The Danger of a Single Story: Advocating for Diversity in Publishing
Marita Golden, author and founder of Hurston/Wright Foundation

Join the founder of The Hurston/Wright Foundation to discuss why inclusive literature is important and what you can do as a reader and writer to move representation forward in literature and the publishing industry at large.


Pathways to Sharing Your Story: The Power of Independent Bookstores
Hannah Oliver Depp of Loyalty Bookstore and Angela Maria Spring of Duende District Bookstore

How do bookstores make their selections and what is being done to include diverse literature? Join locally owned independent bookstores, Loyalty Bookstore and Duende District Bookstore, to talk about the publishing industry and the role bookstores play for increasing representation.


The Diversity Gap in Children’s Publishing: What You Can Do About It with
Hena Khan, award winning children’s book author, and April Powers, Chief Equity & Inclusion Officer for the SCBWI

The diversity gap is most evident in children’s publishing. Learn from industry experts on how to write inclusively and why it is essential now more than ever.


Finding Your Voice: Writing For Inclusion
Jesse Holland, journalist, author, television personality, and educator

Are you a writer wondering how to write authentically and inclusively? Get expert advice from award-winning author Jesse Holland.

Closing Remarks
Ariel Mendez, author, organizer, and TWC instructor


Marita GoldenMarita Golden is the award-winning author of 17 works of fiction and nonfiction. Her most recent novel is The Wide Circumference of Love. She has taught in the graduate writing programs at George Mason University, Virginia Commonwealth University, and Johns Hopkins University. She is co-founder and President Emeritus of the Zora Neale Hurston/Richard Wright Foundation. More about her at: maritagolden.com.


Jesse HollandJesse J. Holland is an award-winning writer and journalist. He is the author of The Black Panther: Who Is The Black Panther? prose novel, which was nominated for an NAACP Image Award in 2019. He is also author of The Invisibles: The Untold Story of African American Slavery Inside The White House, which was named as the 2017 silver medal award winner in U.S. History in the Independent Publisher Book Awards and one of the top history books of 2016 by Smithsonian.com. Jesse is also the author of Star Wars: The Force Awakens – Finn’s Story young adult novel and Black Men Built The Capitol: Discovering African American History In and Around Washington, D.C. Jesse is currently serving as Distinguished Visiting Scholar In Residence at the John W. Kluge Center of the Library of Congress and Saturday host for C-SPAN Washington Journal. He is a former Race & Ethnicity writer for The Associated Press, as well as a former White House, Supreme Court and Congressional reporter. He graduated from the University of Mississippi with a Liberal Arts degree with an emphasis in journalism and English. He received his Master of Fine Arts in Creative Nonfiction from Goucher College in 2012 and was awarded a doctorate of humane letters from Lemoyne-Owen College in 2018.


Hena KhanHena Khan is the award-winning author of the middle grade novels Amina’s Voice, More to the Story, and the Zayd Saleem: Chasing the Dream series, in addition to picture books Golden Domes and Silver Lanterns, Crescent Moons and Pointed Minarets, Night of the Moon, Under My Hijab and Like the Moon Loves the Sky. She is a native of Maryland.


Hannah Oliver DeppHannah Oliver Depp is the owner of Loyalty Bookstores in Petworth, DC and Silver Spring, MD. Loyalty serves all readers as a diverse, intersectional feminist bookstore and programming space. She holds a Masters in English from American University. Oliver Depp is a founding member of the American Bookselling Association Committee on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion and serves on the boards of Bookshop.org and the New Atlantic Independent Bookseller’s Association.


Ariel MendezAriel Mendez is an author, illustrator, and instructor with a focus on self-publishing. She has worked on four self-published picture books, and her first book Fear and a Friend was selected by Kickstarter as a “Project We Love”. Ariel has a passion for children’s literature and diversity in publishing. She lives in Montgomery County, MD with her husband, two sons, and English Setter. To learn more about Ariel visit arielmendez.com.


April PowersApril Powers is the first Equity and Inclusion Officer in the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators’ almost 50-year history. Most recently the Managing Director of First Impression Rx, Powers helped companies, including the Center for Nonprofit Management, manage differences through training and diversity and inclusion strategy. She is a highly rated trainer for Fortune 50, government and non-profit companies. Her work includes LGBTQI+ bench-marking through the Human Rights Campaign, project managing a cultural dexterity roll-out and delivering certified training in the areas of Generational Diversity, Intersectionality, Unconscious Bias, Communication, Emotional Intelligence, LGBTQI+ Understanding, Empathy, Customer Service, Effective Teams, Effective Communication, Positive Workplace, Difficult Conversations and Cultural Competence.

Powers graduated from UC Berkeley with a degree in Spanish Language & Literature. She began her recruiting career with Ryan, Miller & Associates; launched Manifest Executive Search; then became the Manager of Diversity and Recruiting for Nestlé USA as well as an Inclusion Trainer & Consultant at Amgen Inc. She is bilingual, has lived in the USA, South America and Europe, and brings a global perspective with local understanding SCBWI’s goals in the inclusion space.


Angela Maria SpringAngela Maria Spring is the owner of Duende District, a mobile boutique bookstore by and for people of color. She is a board member of the American Booksellers Association and co-founder of the Duende-Word BIPOC Bookseller Awards. She holds an MFA from Sarah Lawrence College and you can find her words in PANK, Catapult, LitHub and Tor.com. Follow her online at Twitter at @BurquenaBoricua.


Keshni Naicker WashingtonKeshni Naicker Washington is an author who hails from South Africa. Her background in tech and change management led her to DC to work for an international nonprofit. She is a member of the Maryland Writer’s Association and a VONA (Voices of Our Nations Arts Foundation) Writing Workshop Alumnus. She hosts The Signal Fire Series podcast and recently inaugurated the @TheImmigrantsOfTheDMV Instagram initiative.


60 seats available
60 seats available
Student Registration (currently enrolled in college)$20.00