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Jaki Shelton Green to Give Keynote Address in November


MEBANE—Jaki Shelton Green is the current Poet Laureate of North Carolina. Appointed by the governor, Jaki is the first African-American to serve, and only the third woman.

She’ll give the Keynote Address at the North Carolina Writers’ Network 2020 Writingest State Online Conference (WSOC) on Friday, November 13. Registration is open.

Despite being the author of eight poetry collections; despite being widely acclaimed for her talks and readings; despite being inducted into the North Carolina Literary Hall of Fame in 2014; Jaki continues to push herself as an artist. On Juneteenth 2020, she released her first poetry LP album, The River Speaks of Thirst, produced by Soul City Sounds and Clearly Records.

“The album manifests the music that is always inherent in Green’s award-winning verse as she performs it with instrumentation,” says INDY Week.

The Washington Post says, “Jaki Shelton Green’s voice is now forever within me, showing us again how art has the ability to transform individual hearts and minds. I have only gratitude to this beloved cultural icon for her gift to us.” 

The Writingest State Online Conference is a five-day festival of classes, panels, and programs on the craft and business of writing. Jaki’s Keynote Address is among the free programs open to all registrants. Participants have more options in terms of what they register for: full-conference, half-conference, or even single sessions are available. Registering for any session will give attendees access not only to the Keynote Address but also the online Happy Hours; Open Mics; a celebration of the Carolina African-American Writers’ Collective; and more.

When Governor Roy Cooper appointed her Poet Laureate of North Carolina, he said, “Jaki Shelton Green brings a deep appreciation of our state’s diverse communities to her role as an ambassador of North Carolina literature. Jaki’s appointment is a wonderful new chapter in North Carolina’s rich literary history.”

Jaki Shelton Green, NC Poet Laureate
She also is the recipient of two NC Emerging Artist Grants, the African-American Writers’ Collective Distinction Award, NC Writers Network Blumenthal Award, 2002 Omega Iota Finer Womanhood Award (Zeta Phi Beta Sorority) Delta Arts Award (Delta Sigma Theta Sorority).

On The River Speaks of Thirst, one poem in particular has drawn attention and praise: “Oh My Brother,” a “powerfully prescient” poem that stands in solidarity with grieving families across the United States whose loved ones are being murdered by law enforcement. (See video above.)

Registration for the Writingest State Online Conference is open. Space is limited. 

The WSOC is available to anyone with an internet connection, or who even owns just a telephone. Some sessions will be archived and made available to registrants for repeated viewings.

Register now!