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Passion for writing fuels authors' expo in Baltimore

2014 African American Authors Expo in Baltimore
2014 African American Authors Expo in Baltimore
Digital photo by V.M. Oliver-Lawson

literacy expo


A love for writing was the order of the day Saturday, August 16, 2014 at the North Baltimore Plaza Hotel as sixty-five authors represented the literary world at the African American Authors Expo. The day, which extended from 10am - 4pm, included workshops, discussion panels, speakers and even a fitness session to produce a wholistic effect for mind, body and spirit.

Attendees received a souvenir bag filled with useful information including upcoming events, a bookmark, pencils, pens and additional information, courtesy of the Baltimore County Public Library. Vendors, including Quinn Conyers' Purse Paparazzi, had the opportunity to display and sell their goods.

This is the fifth year that the expo has been held and is the brain child of Pat Johnson, who began the plenary phase with her volunteers in January. (Pat Johnson is the creator of the Youth Writers' Challenge and the Vendors' Network).

The genres present represented titles in romance, suspense, drama, self-help, biography, poetry, fiction,, non-fiction, urban fiction, history, education, and children's books. Authors came from far and near to share in an opportunity to talk about their current and future book projects. Some of the authors present were the renowned Bernice L. McFadden, Victoria Christopher Murray, Leroy McKenzie, Odessa Rose, Danielle J. Hall, Cheryle Ricks, Kevin Wayne Johnson, Blaque Diamond, multi-award winner author Sheri Booker, Lynn Pinder, Angeline Dean, J.C. Gardner, Tremayne Moore, Teleah Scott, A'Lelia Bundles, Lisa Waddell, and Hattye C. Knight.

There was even ten-year-old author and illustrator, Jayana Wood, whose face just beamed as she spoke of the motivation and journey for her book (written in English and French) entitled, 'Opening My Imagination'.

Speaking panels were held throughout the day in thirty minute segments and lead by various authors, including Christian Authors On Tour. Workshops about various aspects of the writing and publishing process were also offered including "Secrets to Bestseller Success in Seven Days or Less" and "101 Secrets to Selling More Books Now!" as well as "Overcoming the Stress of Being Successful".

For the young and the young-at-heart, there was a performance by Frank and Beans, larger than life muppets whose act emphasized mathematics and literacy. In addition the Youth Writers Challenge took place for a ninety minute period, during which time young people presented their original poems and short stories.

Excitement filled the air as authors had the opportunity to network and exchange information with each other as well as the public. This jubilance had spilled over from the night before when the authors had attended the African American Authors Expo Awards. Each author was presented with dinner, a certificate and crystal plaque and had a chance to speak about his/her book. They were also thanked for their participation by organizer Pat Johnson.

As the expo was drawing to a close, anticipation was evident as attendees even signed up for next year's event. This was a well-organized and attended event which focused upon the foundation for all other subjects: literacy. This writer eagerly waits to see what is in store for 2015's Sixth Annual African American Authors' Expo.

For more information, check out the website at

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