Spirit-Talk Takes You Places
A Conference on AfroSurrealism, Comics, and Social Justice
On March 26, 2016, the AfroSurreal Writers Workshop and the African American Museum and Library of Oakland held our first conference on AfroSurrealism and Black Speculative Fiction. Taking its name from a line in AfroSurrealist Henry Dumas’s short story “Echo Tree,” Spirit-Talk was a great opportunity for us to inspire conversations, community, healing, and love through the arts.
The one-day symposium featured the creative work of writers, filmmakers, visual artists, and musicians. In our closing reception, we honored writer Juliana "Jewels" Smith, an Oakland native who's the creator of (H)afrocentric: the Comic.
Many thanks to everyone who participated in the conference! A special shout-out in particular to members of our organizing committee, who worked tirelessly to make sure the event went off smoothly:
Shannon Holbrook holds a culinary degree and is trained in broadcasting on both radio and television. A gifted public speaker and comedian, Shannon has served as M.C. for Litquake’s “Fiction with Flava” and regularly hosts cooking demos and wine classes.
Veda Silva is the AAMLO’s Museum Project Coordinator and the Director of the AAMLO’s Writer-in-Residence program.
Stewart Shaw holds a BA in English with a creative writing emphasis from San Francisco State University, and a MLS from University California, Berkeley. He currently works as a librarian at the San Francisco Public Library. His poems have appeared in both online and print journals such as Missing Slate, Temenos and Toe Good. He is a Cave Canem Fellow.
Michele Simms-Burton is a writer, editor, social media advisor, content curator, certified instructional systems designer, and scholar of African American studies and women's studies.
Rochelle Spencer is a member of the National Book Critics Circle, co-editor of the anthology All About Skin: Short Fiction by Women of Color, and a former board member of the Hurston-Wright Foundation.
Wandra Williams is a writer and teacher in the Hayward School District, where she is a site coordinator for the African American Student Achievement Initiative.