Women Writers’ Work Featured At Conference

The C.D. Wright Women’s Writer’s Conference featured two keynote speakers and offered panels to spotlight women’s writing discussing themes of race, motherhood and self-discovery on Nov. 3-4.

The conference began on Nov. 3 with a keynote from American author Tayari Jones.

Jones read an excerpt from her book titled “An American Marriage” about a black man, Roy, who gets charged for a rape he didn’t commit.

In the excerpt, Roy slept next to his wife, Celestia, in a hotel. The woman in the room next to them was raped and
accused Roy.

The scene is told through Celestia’s perspective.

“It was dark but [the woman next door] believed she recognized Roy, the nice man she met at the ice machine,” Jones said, reading from her book. “Roy was with me all night. She doesn’t know who hurt her, but I know who
I married.”

In the story, Roy goes to trial and Celestia vouches for him, but the court doesn’t believe her.

“All I had were words, which were light and flimsy as air,” Jones read.

The excerpt hinted at deeper themes of race, marriage and mass incarceration.

Jones said she got the idea for her story when, after researching mass incarceration, she went home
to Atlanta and heard a couple arguing.

“When I had a conflict between two people, that’s when I knew I had a book,” Jones said.

The panels offered on Nov. 4 featured writing from budding female authors and offered advice to conference
goers about writing.

These panels ranged from poetry about motherhood, writing in the South, writing about race, writing as LGBTQ women, alternative fictions and more.

The Nov. 4 lunch featured another keynote speaker, Cara Brookins.

Brookins wrote a book titled “How a House Built a Family,” recalling the time she and her kids built a house in order to escape from her abusive relationship with her second ex-husband.

Her talk gravitated around themes of abuse, motherhood and feminist determination.

After her divorce with her second husband, Brookins said that one day her daughter came to her and
said she was afraid of seeing her father outside of the window.

Brookins she wanted to do something to fix it.

“I was gonna do something with my kids that was so big and so powerful that it would change the
way they saw themselves,” Brookins said.

Brookins said the family went out and bought mortar and plywood and looked up dozens of Youtube videos
to figure out how to build a house.

She said she decided to build a house with her children, from the ground up, as a way to start over.

“This house didn’t feel like one option,” Brookins said, “It felt like our only option.”

Brookins mentioned that building the house would be tough sometimes and that there were times she would
pass construction workers in her car and think about going to the “big, strong men” and asking them for help.

However, ultimately she decided this was something she and her kids needed to do on their own.

“My kids and I didn’t need a house as badly as we needed to build a house,” Brookins said.

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