These are confusing times to be a white writer with inclusive intentions. How do you address diversity in your work? What do you have permission to write about? How do you create realistic nonwhite characters? How do you be an ally when white voices are subject to so much scrutiny? This session will be a safe place to get some of your questions answered and develop a new lens through which you can be a powerful voice in the quest for racial reconciliation. This workshop will be conducted by African American lecturer, essayist, and author Desiree Cooper. Short story writer Kelly Fordon will join her to share her experiences as a white writer addressing race in her work. This workshop will include a lecture and panel discussion, along with writing prompts to help explore new territory for white writers.
If cost is a barrier to your attendance, please contact Kim Suhr to learn about financial aid.
Desiree Cooper is a 2015 Kresge Artist Fellow, former attorney and Pulitzer Prize-nominated journalist. Her debut collection of flash fiction, Know the Mother, is a 2017 Michigan Notable Book that has won numerous awards, including 2017 Next Generation Indie Book Award. Cooper’s fiction, poetry and essays have appeared in The Best Small Fictions 2018, Callaloo, Michigan Quarterly Review, The Rumpus, River Teeth, and Best African American Fiction 2010, among other publications. Her essay, “We Have Lost Too Many Wigs,” was listed as a notable essay in The Best American Essays 2019. In 2018, she wrote, produced and co-directed “The Choice,” a short film about reproductive rights and recipient of a 2019 Outstanding Achievement Award from the Berlin Flash Film Festival, and Award of Merit from the Best Short Film Festival in Los Angeles. Cooper collaborated with the Dance Department at The College William & Mary to create a dance “Aloft” inspired by her feminist fiction which debuted in October, 2018. Cooper was a founding board member of Cave Canem, a national residency for black poets, and has received residencies at Kimbilio and Ragdale.
Desiree's guest author:
Kelly Fordon’s latest short story collection I Have the Answer (Wayne State University Press, 2020) was chosen as a Midwest Book Award Finalist and an Eric Hoffer Finalist. Her 2016 Michigan Notable Book, Garden for the Blind, (WSUP), was an INDIEFAB Finalist, a Midwest Book Award Finalist, Eric Hoffer Finalist, and an IPPY Awards Bronze Medalist. Her first full-length poetry collection, Goodbye Toothless House, (Kattywompus Press, 2019) was an Eyelands International Prize Finalist and an Eric Hoffer Finalist and was adapted into a play, written by Robin Martin, which was published in The Kenyon Review Online. She is the author of three award-winning poetry chapbooks and has received a Best of the Net Award and Pushcart Prize nominations in three different genres. She teaches at Springfed Arts and The InsideOut Literary Arts Project in Detroit, as well as online, where she also runs a podcast, "Let's Deconstruct a Story."