Soul & Blues Festival Black Author's Panel

July 31, 2021 - 11:00am
Prairie Lights Virtual - Zoom

Please join us in celebrating the Soul & Blues Festival presented by Summer of the Arts with a Black Author's Panel featuring Jerald Walker, Dr. Mary E. Hicks and Venise Berry with moderator Arnold Daniels Jr. 

To join this virtual event, register here.

Jerald Walker A graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop, Jerald Walker has published in magazines such as Creative Nonfiction, The Missouri Review, The Harvard Review, Mother Jones, The Iowa Review, and The Oxford American, and he has been widely anthologized, including five times in The Best American Essays. Walker is the author of Street Shadows: A Memoir of Race, Rebellion, and Redemption, recipient of the 2011 PEN New England/L.L. Winship Award for Nonfiction and named a Best Memoir of the Year by Kirkus Reviews, and The World in Flames: A Black Boyhood in a White Supremacist Doomsday Cult. His latest book, How to Make a Slave and Other Essays was a Finalist for the 2020 National Book Award in Nonfiction. He has received fellowships from the James Michener Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Dr. Mary E. Hicks is currently an assistant professor of Black Studies and Latin American History at Amherst College (Massachusetts) where she specializes in the history of the African Diaspora, the transatlantic slave trade, histories of race, gender and sexuality, and slavery in the Americas. Her current research centers the experience of the black seamen who made up the primary maritime labor force in the Atlantic world’s third most active slave trading port: Salvador da Bahia. Uncovering unique sociocultural dynamics of Salvador, and elucidating the connections between transatlantic slaving commerce and broader processes of acculturation, intellectual exchange, and the accumulation and circulation of material wealth between the Bight of Benin and Bahia, her book manuscript, Captive Cosmopolitans:Black Mariners and the World of South Atlantic Slavery, 1721-1835 (under contract with The Omohundro Institute for University of North Carolina Press) is based on her prize-winning dissertation completed in 2015. Prof. Hicks has previously served as Hutchins Center, Jefferson and Ford Fellow.

Arnold Daniels, Jr is a former U.S. State Department Liaison. He is an Anthropologist, entrepreneur, educator and volunteer with the African American Museum of Iowa. Mr. Daniels has taught Anthropology, Criminal Justice, Cultural Geography, English, History, and Sociology at several East Coast colleges and universities. A longtime resident of Washington, D.C., he now makes his home in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

Venise Berry received a BA (1977) in journalism and an MA (1979) in communication studies from The University of Iowa. Her PhD was awarded in 1989 in radio, TV, and film at the University of Texas in Austin. Her professional media career began in radio news but has expanded into teaching, media research, and criticism, as well as fiction, script, and nonfiction writing. She is the author of three national bestselling novels, So Good, An African American Love Story (Dutton/Penguin, 1996), All of Me, A Voluptuous Tale (Dutton/Penguin 2000), and Colored Sugar Water (Dutton/Penguin/Putnam 2002). In 2003 she received the Creative Contribution to Literature award from the Zora Neale Hurston Society. All of Me received a 2001 Honor Book Award from the Black Caucus of the American Library Association. Also in 2001 she was recognized with an Iowa Author Award from the Public Library Foundation in Des Moines.