project leader
Leah L
14101 Euclid Avenue
(East Cleveland)
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the project

In 2018, we launched our inaugural conference at the East Cleveland Public Library, which is free and open to the public. Participants learned about the craft of writing and publishing from thirteen published authors and scholars, and one industry professional. One scholar was our keynote speaker, Tayari Jones, professor of English at Emory University in Atlanta and author of An American Marriage, an Oprah Book Club selection and number four on President Barack Obama’s 2018 Summer Reading List. In partnership with Case Western Reserve University, we also honored former U.S. Poet Laureate Rita Dove with the Alice Dunbar Nelson Lifetime Achievement Award on the Friday before our Conference.

This year we have confirmed the participation of local authors, blogger, poets, and journalists. We have also secured the participating of Kima Jones of the LA-based firm, Jack Jones Literary Arts and Damon Young of Very Smart Brothas

We have also hosted an emergent writer workshop series and plan to expand in 2020. 

For more information visit

the steps

We will execute The Great Lakes African American Writers Conference! The pieces are in place. We just need the balance of the fund to bring GLAAWC to life.

why we're doing it

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 are 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.


Guest Speakers $5000

Youth Poetry Slam $2500

Other Affiliated events (Includes Discovering the Writer Within Workshops, book clubs, and local author event) $2500

ioby Platform Fee     $35
ioby Donation Processing Fee (3%)    $310
TOTAL TO RAISE =    $10,345


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