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VIRTUAL: "Black Indian: A Memoir" with author Shonda Buchanan

VIRTUAL: "Black Indian: A Memoir" with author Shonda Buchanan

Join us for a riveting exploration of her memoir, Black Indian, with author Shonda Buchanan. Register for this webinar here: https://tinyurl.com/tx9rxrpn  After registration, a link will be sent to you with login information. 

Black Indian, searing and raw, is Amy Tan's The Joy Luck Club and Alice Walker's The Color Purple meets Leslie Marmon Silko's Ceremony--only, this isn't fiction. Beautifully rendered and rippling with family dysfunction, secrets, deaths, drunks, and old resentments, Shonda Buchanan's memoir is an inspiring story that explores her family's legacy of being African Americans with American Indian roots and how they dealt with not just society's ostracization but the consequences of this dual inheritance.

 Buchanan was raised as a Black woman, who grew up hearing cherished stories of her multi-racial heritage, while simultaneously suffering from everything she (and the rest of her family) didn't know. Tracing the arduous migration of Mixed Bloods, or Free People of Color, from the Southeast to the Midwest, Buchanan tells the story of her Michigan tribe -- a comedic yet manically depressed family of fierce women, who were everything from caretakers and cornbread makers to poets and witches, and men who were either ignored, protected, imprisoned, or maimed -- and how their lives collided over love, failure, fights, and prayer despite a stacked deck of challenges, including addiction and abuse.

 Ultimately, Buchanan's nomadic people endured a collective identity crisis after years of constantly straddling two, then three, races. The physical, spiritual, and emotional displacement of American Indians who met and married Mixed or Black slaves and indentured servants at America's early crossroads is where this powerful journey begins. Black Indian doesn't have answers, nor does it aim to represent every American's multi-ethnic experience. Instead, it digs as far down into this one family's history as it can go sometimes, with a bit of discomfort. But every family has its own truth, and Buchanan's search for hers will resonate in anyone who has wondered "maybe there's more than what I'm being told."

About the author: 

Pushcart Prize nominee, a USC Los Angeles Institute for the Humanities Fellow and a Department of Cultural Affairs City of Los Angeles (COLA) Master Artist Fellow, Shonda Buchanan is the author of five books, including the award-winning memoir, Black Indian. Shonda is the newest faculty member of the low residency MFA Program at Alma College.

An award-winning poet, fiction, nonfiction writer and educator, Shonda is the recipient of the Brody Arts Fellowship from the California Community Foundation, a Big Read grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, several Virginia Foundation for the Humanities grants, the Denise L. Scott and Frank Sullivan Awards, and an Eloise Klein-Healy Scholarship. Shonda is also a Sundance Institute Writing Arts fellow, a PEN Center Emerging Voices fellow and a Jentel Artist Residency fellow. Finalist for the 2021 Mississippi Review poetry contest, Shonda’s memoir, Black Indian, won the 2020 Indie New Generation Book Award and was chosen by PBS NewsHour as a "Top 20 books to read" to learn about institutional racism. About to enter a 3rd printing, Black Indian begins the saga of her family’s migration stories of Free People of Color communities exploring identity, ethnicity, landscape and loss. Her first collection of poetry, Who’s Afraid of Black Indians? was nominated for the Black Caucus of the American Library Association and the Library of Virginia Book Awards.

An educator, expert in African American cultural issues, and a journalist for over 25 years, Shonda has freelanced for the Los Angeles Times, the LA Weekly, AWP’s The Writer’s Chronicle, Indian Country Today, and The International Review of African American Art, and she’s published in Urban Voices: 51 Poems from 51 American Poets, Black Renaissance/Renaissance Noire, Art Meets Literature: An Undying Love Affair, Phati’tude Literary Magazine, Red Ink, Strange Cargo: An Emerging Voices Anthology, Step into a World: A Global Anthology of New Black Literature, Arise! Magazine, Def Jam Poetry’s Bum Rush the Page, Geography of Rage: Remembering the Los Angeles Riots of 1992 and Rivendell. 

Reviewer of poetry manuscripts for CavanKerry Press, Literary Editor of Harriet Tubman Press, Shonda has served as a judge for multiple writing contests including the Library of Virginia’s Poetry Book Awards, North Carolina Arts Council Poetry Fellowship, the George Floyd Youth Justice Poetry Contest, the Amanda Gorman Youth Poetry Contest, the Virginia Commission for the Arts Fiction Contest, the Metrorail Public Art Project Poetry Contest and the Creative Writing Youth Contest for the College Language Association.

Former board member of the Poetry Society of Virginia and Hampton Roads Writers, and founding board member of the African American Alumni Association at Loyola Marymount University, Shonda is the President of the Board of Trustees for Beyond Baroque Literary Arts Center. An Education Specialist for the U.S. Department of State, a national and international lecturer and workshop leader, Shonda received an MFA from Antioch University and a MA and BA in English from Loyola Marymount University where she currently teaches as a Writing Instructor in First Year Seminar and as a Senior Lecturer in African American Studies.

In addition to her work as a literary activist, a teaching artist and a mentor for young writers, she has previously taught at Hampton University, William & Mary College (Writer-in-Residence), Cal State Northridge and Mt. San Antonio College. Descendant of African nations, the Coharie, Choctaw and Eastern Band Cherokee, and Europeans, Shonda lives and writes in her adopted home on Tongva and Chumash land in Los Angeles, California. For more information, follow @shondabuchanan or contact her at Shondabuchanan@gmail.com or visit www.shondabuchanan.com.

Wednesday, February 1, 2023
6:30pm - 7:30pm
Time Zone:
Mountain Time - US & Canada (change)
Helena Main Branch
  Presenters and Speakers     Virtual  

Event Organizer

Suzanne Schwichtenberg

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