Yari Yari Conference (Originally Published in Panache Magazine)

In Events, Writing (all kinds) on September 13, 2016 at 3:00 AM

An international conference in literature by women from African and the African Diaspora has been hailed an overwhelming success by its organizers. Held in New York and coordinated by New York University’s Africana Studies Programme last fall, the conference brought together world-renowned writers to this first-ever scholarly conference that explored black female authorship. “Yari Yari – Black Women Writers of the Future,” celebrated the creativity and diversity of black women writers. Among the 120 writers who attended were Ghanaian poet and novelist Ama Ata Aidoo, Maya Angelou, Gloria Naylor, Angela Davis, Sapphire, Haitian Edwidge Danticat and Maryse Conde from Guadeloupe. The conference also included notable filmmakers, artists, storytellers, journalists, children’s authors, playwrights and publishing executives.

“The collection of writers who came from as far away as Africa, China and Europe led to a lot of important scholarship. People felt that they learned about the writers and about themselves,” says Glenda Noel-Doyle of the NYU’s Africana Studies Programme. The conference also involved male participants such as Walter Mosley and Richard Wesley.

“Yari, Yari,” which means “The future” in the Kuranko language of Sierra Leone, could not have been a more timely forum to explore the contemporary role of black female writers. The conference was also co-sponsored by the Institute of Afro-American Affairs in conjunction with the Organization of Women Writers of Africa.

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