New and Now

Announcing

A NEW workshop with Breena Clarke: 

How They Must Have Felt: developing an emotional landscape in historical fiction. 

This workshop created and led by Breena Clarke is one of six being offered as part of the Hobart Festival of Women Writers’ Fall Workshop Series. We’re entering our ninth year of platforming the work of women writers across all genres. Since 2013, we’ve held a three-day Festival of readings, workshops, panels and performances in Hobart, New York, the Reading Capitol of New York State. The pandemic has caused us to suspend the in-person Festival again this year. We’ve maintained presence for women writers, however. In September 2020, though we were unable to come together in person, we created several virtual readings https://bit.ly/3rA4xLT featuring videos made by Participating Writers. 

Beginning in September 2021, we are offering six, four-week zoom workshops. Each session will be 90 minutes. These workshops are priced at a very friendly fee and are under the leadership of six distinguished professional writers: Bertha Rogers, Breena Clarke, Mercy Tullis-Bukari, Elena Schwolsky, Stephanie Nikolopoulos, and Mary Johnson. 

Breena Clarke, co-founder and co-organizer of The Hobart Festival, is the author of three historical novels. Join her for How They Must Have Felt: developing an emotional landscape in historical fiction, to explore how you can fill the gaps in the mainstream narrative to richly build the interior lives of your characters. 

Have you begun a novel? Have you come too far to turn back, but feel you’re stuck in a slurry of characters and events and ideas and points of view and styles and genres? Then, you confront the skimpy historical record for people like your protagonist. How do you engage the rich interior lives you are looking for? 

Authors often face empty spaces when researching the past for the voices of people outside of the racial, social, and economic mainstream of American history. – Breena Clarke

Faced with the incomplete historical record of people of color, fiction writers must speculate about the past, filling in the interior lives of people left out of mainstream narratives. The process of constructing these lives requires reimagining geography, history, sociology, etymology and popular culture. Over the course of four consecutive weeks in September – 9/11,9/18, 9/25 & 10/2 –  Breena Clarke will help you explore the techniques fiction writers can use to create voices of the interior lives of the past. Participants will discover practical strategies to get started laying out an emotional landscape for their fiction.  

As a special bonus, Breena Clarke will read and critique your first 50 pages. Are you off to a great beginning for your novel or are you confused about where to start? All participants in this workshop may submit a manuscript (limit 50 pages) at the completion of the workshop and each will receive a comprehensive critique of their work. 

Though writing a novel is often compared to a long-distance run, it can also be compared to a 50-yard dash. There is value to both approaches. Putting your head down and pushing forward quickly with all you’ve got can energize your project. Come join me and we’ll see how far we can take your novel. Make a commitment to yourself and the novel inside you. Tell your story.

We hope you’ll support Hobart Festival of Women Writers by registering for a workshop with one (or two or all six) of our participating writers. This is a great way to help us maintain a platform for women writers and a way for you to develop your own creative work. 

We’re pulling through and it is because of you. 

Please note: All workshops are open to every lover of books and language regardless of gender. 

This workshop is offered as part of the Fall Workshop Series for Hobart Festival of Women Writers. Information at www.hobartfestivalofwomenwriters.com

https://www.hfwwnow.com/blog/bhqrfagi734gcvabdadjj6ifhoivl3 Read “An Accumulation of Grievances,” Breena Clarke’s most recent work in NOW, the online journal of the Hobart Festival of Women Writers. NOW is an online platform for the most important and scintillating work in essay, fiction and poetry by Participating Writers of Hobart Festival of Women Writers. Go to http://www.hfwwnow.com

Read the most recent book in the Chicken Soup for the Soul series I’M SPEAKING NOW: BLACK WOMEN SHARE THEIR TRUTH IN 101 STORIES OF LOVE, COURAGE AND HOPE, edited by Breena Clarke and Amy Newmark with an introduction and two personal essays by Breena Clarke. This book includes 101 personal narratives of the lives of Black women living today. https://bit.ly/3fVUzPx.

Commemoration of Devastation/ Rebirth of Hope

June 1. 2021 marks the 100th anniversary of the most devastating racial conflict in American History.

Viola Fletcher, 107, one of the last living survivors of the Tulsa Race Massacre testified before Congress, May 2021

https://www.npr.org/2021/05/19/998225207/survivors-of-1921-tulsa-race-massacre-share-eyewitness-accounts

In 1890, a group of migrants fleeing the hostile South settled an all-black town called Langston, 80 miles west of Tulsa. Oklahoma wasn’t yet a state, and its racial dynamics weren’t set in stone. The architect of the settlement, Edwin McCabe, had a vision of Oklahoma as the black promised land. He sent recruiters to the South, preaching racial pride and self-sufficiency. At least 29 black separatist towns were established in Oklahoma during the late 19th century. for more information about the Tulsa Massacre

Following World War I, Tulsa, Oklahoma boasted one of the most affluent African American communities in the country, known as the Greenwood District. This thriving business district and surrounding residential area were referred to as “Black Wall Street.” In 1921, a series of events nearly destroyed the entire Greenwood area.

In the early morning hours of June 1, 1921, Black Tulsa was looted and burned by white rioters. Individuals used private planes to deliver turpentine bombs onto homes in Tulsa’s black neighborhood. The governor declared martial law, and National Guard troops arrived in Tulsa. Guardsmen assisted firefighters in putting out fires, took imprisoned blacks out of the hands of vigilantes, and imprisoned all black Tulsans not already interned. Over 6,000 people were held at the Convention Hall and the Fairgrounds, some for as long as eight days.

Twenty-four hours after the violence erupted, it ceased. In the wake of the violence, 35 city blocks lay in charred ruins, over 800 people were treated for injuries, and contemporary reports of deaths began at 36. In 2001, the Tulsa Race Riot Commission released a report indicating that historians now believe close to 300 people died in the riot. A long lost manuscript by Oklahoma lawyer, B.C. Franklin, father of famed African-American historian John Hope Franklin (1915-2009), describes the attack by hundreds of whites on the Greenwood neighborhood. It is a handwritten, breathtaking account of the events. Tulsa Massacre – Smithsonian Magazine 

 visit the website of the Tulsa Historical Society for more information: Tulsa Historical Society

Announcing a new book from Chicken Soup for The Soul 

I’m Speaking Now: Black Women Share Their Truth in 101 Stories of Love, Courage and HopeThis anthology, co-authored by Breena Clarke and Amy Newmark contains 101 compelling, honest stories and a dozen poems, from over 100 Black women. The anthology also includes two stories by Breena Clarke. The stories are timely, relevant, and very much reflect today’s reality for our community. Paired with quotes from contemporary and historical Black women, the essays are arranged in eleven chapters, each headed by a stunning poem and each of these personal essays has been edited with respect for the writers and their individual truths.

From the introduction by Breena Clarke:

The stories in Chicken Soup for the Soul: I’m Speaking Now Black Women Share Their Truth in 101 Stories of Love, Courage and Hope are straightforward accounts of daily lives. Some are bursts of bright recollection of events or incidents from the past that have stamped the authors’ lives. Some of the stories are sweet, tender remembrances, evoking pictures of beloved forebears who give us the gritty lessons for survival. Some of the narratives are of dreams and goals the authors set for themselves and their children juxtaposed with fears and trepidation. Some of these stories are raw, unsettling accounts of trauma. Some are funny, and some are not. 

AVAILABLE EVERYWHERE JUNE 1, 2021

For information about this book go to https://www.chickensoup.com/book/235516/im-speaking-now

and view the trailer https://youtu.be/mLhKVarkIe4

Books by Breena Clarke

River, Cross My Heartan Oprah book club selection and a classic of African American fiction is now available for your e-reader.

“The acclaimed bestseller–a selection of Oprah’s Book Club–that brings vividly to life the Georgetown

I’m Speaking Now: Black Women Share Their Truth in 101 Stories of Love, Courage and Hope

A new book from Chicken Soup for The Soul

I’m excited to announce the publication of Chicken Soup for the Soul’s I’m Speaking Now: Black Women Share Their Truth in 101 Stories of Love, Courage and HopeThis anthology contains 101 compelling, honest stories and a dozen poems, from over 100 Black women. The anthology also includes two stories of my own.

Our publication date is June 1, 2021

I worked closely with Amy Newmark, the publisher of Chicken Soup for the Soul to choose these pieces from the thousands that were submitted in a very short period, from November 2020 to January 2021. These stories are timely, relevant, and very much reflect today’s reality for our community. Paired with quotes from contemporary and historical Black women, the essays are arranged in eleven chapters, each headed by a stunning poem and each of these personal essays has been edited with respect for the writers and their individual truths.

From my introduction:

The stories in Chicken Soup for the Soul: I’m Speaking Now Black Women Share Their Truth in 101 Stories of Love, Courage and Hope are straightforward accounts of daily lives. Some are bursts of bright recollection of events or incidents from the past that have stamped the authors’ lives. Some of the stories are sweet, tender remembrances, evoking pictures of beloved forebears who give us the gritty lessons for survival. Some of the narratives are of dreams and goals the authors set for themselves and their children juxtaposed with fears and trepidation. Some of these stories are raw, unsettling accounts of trauma. Some are funny, and some are not. 

In my living room in Jersey City opening a box of books.

I’ve been discussing the stories, spreading the word. Here’s a podcast on FOXOLOGY with Silver Rae Fox on Blog Talk Radio. https://www.blogtalkradio.com/foxology/2021/05/10/author-breena-clarke-serving-us-chicken-soup-for-the-soul.

I’ll be talking about this book on radio and podcasts. Keep in touch through my Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/breena.clarke

and through Twitter at Breena_Clarke

For more information about Chicken Soup and about this book, go to www.chickensoup.com

I hope you see yourself and your sister and all of the women in your life reflected here. I hope you will read these narratives and come to understand and appreciate the challenges Black Women face in contemporary American life regardless of your color on the American racial spectrum. These stories are for all of us because they are true. And each personal essay is accompanied by a quote from an outstanding contemporary or historical Back Woman. These are an inspiration and proof that, though we are speaking now, we have not previously been silent only unheard, unaccounted for, un-included.

If I didn’t define myself for myself, I would be crunched into other peoples’ fantasies for me and eaten alive.

— Audre Lorde

FOLLOW US ON SOCIAL MEDIA:

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/ChickenSoupfortheSoul/

Twitter – @ChickenSoupSoul

                @AmyNewmark

Instagram – @chickensoupsoul

                    @amynewmark

Book Link – https://bit.ly/2Regvww

Hashtag – #CSSImSpeakingNow

FOR MORE ABOUT Breena Clarke, go to WWW.BreenaClarke.com

Stand The Storm online discussion

Join Breena Clarke for a discussion of her novel, Stand The Storm on Saturday March 13th at 2:00pm EST. This event is the inaugural event of The Book Canopy, a place to read, enjoy and discuss books by women authors. 

In Stand The Storm, I wanted to accomplish a narrative that created a fuller picture of urban enslavement in Washington, D.C. at mid-nineteenth-century. I wrote also about the Compensated Emancipation Act enacted by Abraham Lincoln that freed enslaved persons residing in Washington, D.C., on April 16, 1862, nine months before the Emancipation Proclamation. Now, much to my surprise, I’ve learned facts about my direct ancestor who gained his freedom under this edict along with his mother and grandmother. I’m delighted to learn that an event I’d written about in my fiction had a true historical impact on my family. On Saturday, March 13th, I will be joined by arts facilitator, Chesray Dolpha to discuss Stand The Storm and the lives of enslaved people in our nation’s capital in the Civil War era.

View a video reading recorded by the author and enter the world of The Coats Family, a self-emancipated, African American family in mid-nineteenth century Washington, D.C. who survive and thrive as tailors and quilters.

https://youtu.be/p8ZJw1Rk_kY

REGISTER FOR THE DISCUSSION at https://www.thebookcanopy.org. And register for the Book Canopy newsletter to receive information about the upcoming book discussions.

for more information about Breena Clarke’s books, go to http://www.BreenaClarke.com

The Book Canopy: a discussion of Stand The Storm

Join Breena Clarke for a discussion of her novel, Stand The Storm on Saturday March 13th at 2:00pm EST. This event is the inaugural event of The Book Canopy, a place to read, enjoy and discuss books by women authors. 

I’m honored to have been invited to inaugurate the Canopy Book Club. I look forward to discussing Stand The Storm, a novel set in the mid-nineteenth century that follows the lives of a self-emancipated African American family.

at Dunbar High School in Washington, D.C.

Alfred Clarke and Virginia Cole Clarke
In Stand The Storm, I wanted to accomplish a narrative that created a fuller picture of urban enslavement in Washington, D.C. at mid-nineteenth-century. I wrote also about the Compensated Emancipation Act enacted by Abraham Lincoln that freed enslaved persons residing in Washington, D.C., on April 16, 1862, nine months before the Emancipation Proclamation. Now, much to my surprise, I’ve learned facts about my direct ancestor who gained his freedom under this edict along with his mother and grandmother. I’m delighted to learn that an event I’d written about in my fiction had a true historical impact on my family. 

On Saturday, March 13th, I will be joined by arts facilitator, Chesray Dolpha to discuss  Stand The Storm and the lives of enslaved people in our nation’s capital in the Civil War era. 

REGISTER FOR THE DISCUSSION at https://www.thebookcanopy.org.  And register for the Book Canopy newsletter to receive information about the upcoming book discussions. 

Want a signed, personalized copy?   
I'll sign and mail you a personalized hardcover copy of Stand the Storm for just $10 + shipping if you purchase it here. Or  obtain a copy from your public library, an independent bookseller, or anywhere books are sold.