project leader
Leah L
325 E. Superior Ave.
(Downtown Cleveland)
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the project

GLAAWC is an unparalleled literary event for lovers of African American literature in the Great Lakes region. Each year participants have marveled at the quality of our program and our setting. In 2020, over 5600 views from twenty states and four international locations tuned into GLAAWC. We expanded our reach to 26 states in 2021. This year, we expect to maintain, perhaps even elevate, the quality of our offering as we go hybrid--virtual and in person in our long-standing home, the beautiful downtown Cleveland Public Library (OH) main branch in the Stokes Auditorium.

Every presenter is uniquely qualified to bring insights into the craft of writing, and the arts of publishing, publicizing, and marketing literature. In 2020, Kent State University’s Wick Poetry Center signed on to provide some innovative online creative writing tools. An innovation in 2019, this year we will host our third annual GLAAWC Youth Poetry Performance with youth from Cleveland and Pittsburgh. In a wonderful turn of events, our top four performers will compete in the WACO Theater Center's "I Got the Mic." We are thrilled that four youth spoken word artists from the region will represent the Great Lakes. You may view portions of our 2020 program here.

If you see fit to contribute to GLAAWC, please do so. Our work falls squarely in the realm of equity, which is a very urgent issue in our society today. As recent book sales indicate, our people have come to understand and appreciate the importance of African American lit. Your support of our culturally and socially significant endeavor would be greatly appreciated.  


the steps

In the first quarter of 2022, we will begin to ponder the keynote speakers. Traditionally, we have two keynotes held by individuals with a national reputation--a literary keynote and a publishing professional keynote. Then, we begin to contemplate local talent in Cleveland, Pittsburgh, and the Great Lakes region who may flesh out our panels. Depending on where we are as a nation with COVID-19, we will determine the scope of our affiliated events. Then, will execute The Great Lakes African American Writers Conference! These funds will help us bring GLAAWC 2022 and Affiliated Events to life.

why we're doing it

In the age of the COVID-19 pandemic, home-bound groups need access to intellectual and creative stimulation. GLAAWC and Little Lumpy's Center contribute to the fulfillment of this grave need by going virtual. 

Further, equitable access to workforce training, educational opportunities, and employment experiences are critical to overcoming barriers to employment for workers of color. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2016, the overall civilian unemployment rate was 4.9 percent. However, unemployment rates by major race and ethnicity groups ranged from 3.6 percent for Asians to 8.4 percent for Blacks or African Americans; the rate for Whites was 4.3 percent in 2016, and the rate for Hispanics or Latinos was 5.8 percent.[1] Providing skills training opportunities locally is one way to reduce employment disparities and strengthen the economy.

Past research from the National Endowment for the Arts has demonstrated that writers and authors in particular experience higher unemployment rates among artist occupations.1 The Bureau of Labor Statistics also reports that about 1 in 4 writers and authors worked part-time in 2016 and anticipates strong competition for jobs in this field will continue. Today, writers and authors must adapt their skill sets to using new technologies and electronic tools, and publishing to digital platforms. In a rapidly changing work environment, ongoing training opportunities in these complementary areas are important as writers and authors continue to strengthen their core writing skills throughout their careers.2

Further, most writers are entrepreneurs. Many self-publish. This is demonstrative of an entrepreneurial mindset. Many are also bi- or multi-vocational as they work to increase their book sales. So, developing a writers’ entrepreneurial toolbox is of pressing concern. As referenced above, today’s writers must utilize social media, become tech-savvy, in addition to mastering marketing, promotion, and finances. When with the support of traditional publishing houses, the writer is a business owner. Literature is a product that is consumed.


ioby Fiscal Sponsorship Fee (5%) N/A
ioby Donation Processing Fee (3%)
(Donation processing fee does not apply to match funding.)

Donation processing fees apply to donations only. Please note, fees are estimated here and final numbers may change based on the final amount raised.

Conference speakers - $1,500.00

Signage -  $500.00

Marketing and PR - $1,500.00

Administration - $500.00

Total  -  $4,000.00


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