Who We Are Writing For: Black Authors On Craft and Audience

THU, OCT 21, 2021 (1:02:21)

GBH News Arts & Culture reporter James Bennett, II welcomes two up-and-coming Black authors for a discussion on the importance of writing to uplift and inform the Black community. Simeon Marsalis and Tatiana Johnson-Boria will read passages from their work, and the three will share why they create work for a Black audience, as well as how they draw inspiration.

Simeon Marsalis is a writer who published his first novel, As Lie Is to Grin, with Catapult in 2017. He is the co-founder of Lampblack, a new literary magazine and a collective of Black writers with a mission to serve the Black literary community. Tatiana Johnson-Boria is a writer and artist exploring identity, inherited trauma, and what it means to heal. She is recipient of both the 2021 MacDowell Fellowship for artists and the 2021 Brother Thomas fellowship, celebrating a diverse group of Greater Boston artists working at a high level of excellence.

+ BIO: James Bennett II

James Bennett II is an arts and culture reporter for GBH News (and a contributor in the music land known as CRB). The Brooklyn-based Bennett cut his public media teeth with New York Public Radio before joining this particular Boston outfit, and will continue to hold it down in his borough until he bounces up to Massachusetts Bay. At any given point in time, you can find him frantically catching up on book-club reading, sacrificing to the zeitgeist, cataloguing records, or thinking about the next time he’ll eat pâté.

+ BIO: Tatiana Johnson-Boria

Tatiana (she/her) is a writer, artist, and educator. Her writing explores identity, trauma, especially inherited trauma, and what it means to heal.

Her work has been selected as a finalist for the Prairie Schooner Book Prize, the Black Warrior Review Poetry Contest (2020), the Solstice Literary Poetry Prize (2020) and others. She is a 2021 MacDowell Fellowship recipient and a recipient of the 2021 Brother Thomas fellowship. She’s received honorable mention for the 2021 and 2020 Academy of American Poets Prize and is a 2017 Pushcart Prize nominee.

Tatiana completed her MFA in Creative Writing at Emerson College and is a 2021 Tin House Scholar. She also serves on the board for VIDA: Literary Arts. Find her work in or forthcoming at Ploughshares, Kenyon Review, Pleiades, and others.

+ BIO: Simeon Marsalis

Simeon Marsalis is a writer from New Rochelle, NY, who earned a BA with honors from the University of Vermont for his thesis on Jazz and American Nationalism and an MFA in 2019 from Rutgers University-Newark, where he was the Henry Rutgers Fellow. As Lie Is to Grin, his first novel was published by Catapult in 2017 and was on the shortlist for the Center for Fiction’s first novel prize. His essay “Why Jazz: A Music Festival Review” was published on Catapult.Co in the same year.

His short story, “The Exterminator”, will appear in the Fall 2021 Founder’s Issue of Lampblack, a magazine and literary organization he helped to co-found. Marsalis is working on his second novel entitled, End Times, and is currently a part-time lecturer in the English Department at Rutgers University-Newark.