Saturday 28 January 2023
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Book Festival Celebrates Women’s History Month

By Tracie Isaac –


Rochester Genesee Valley Club members (wearing red/yellow) with participating authors.

Rochester Genesee Valley Club members (wearing red/yellow) with participating authors.

The Rochester Genesee Valley Club of The National Association of Negro Business & Professional Women’s Clubs Inc., in collaboration with the Phillis Wheatley Community Library and the City of Rochester, hosted their “4th Annual Black Women’s Book Festival: “Our Words, Our Way – With Soul,” in honor of Women’s History Month recently.  

The event is designed to promote Black women authors, poets, and spoken word artists from Western New York.

Organizers held the event at the Phillis Wheatley Community Library, during which featured authors and poets shared excerpts of their work, sold their books, and offered insight into their journey of published work.

For the first time, the event also offered a segment for children, ages seven to 12, which featured readings from authors like Leslie Youngblood, a writer whose book was published by a division of Disney, and Delores Jackson Radney, who was also on hand to contribute to youth story-telling.

The program also featured a panel discussion titled “How To Write, Publish, and Sell Your Own Book.”

Over 20 of the most awarded and prolific female writers from Rochester, Buffalo and Syracuse participated in the discussion.

Poets and spoken-word artists also participated in an open mic session to share their works, and to announce where they could be seen or contacted following the event.

Debra Brown, Yulanda Florence, Deb-Maisha Floyd, Miriam Foote-Kragbe, Narseary Harris, Dria Hooks, Natasha House, Charlene Humphrey, J.K. Langkans, Lesli Myers, Diana Morrow, Sylvia Porter-Hall, Nequa Profacy, Ebony Nicole Smith, Katrina Thompson, Almeta Whitis and Leslie C. Youngblood participated as exhibiting authors during the event.

The program culminated with organizers and authors encouraging attendees to “tell and write their own stories,” and consider self-publishing, or the traditional publishing route, because “you never know who will be our next best-selling author.”

If you have a burning desire to write a book, recite poetry, or journal for fun, and would like to participate in this annual literary celebration, contact Alicia Ward, chair of the Black Women’s Book Festival for the Rochester Genesee Valley Club, at 585-326-0752, or email

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