Writers and their writing are serious business, but scribes enjoy a fun side, too. Art Sanctuary's 27th Annual Celebration of Black Writing, which began May 27, will end with a lighthearted flourish - a daylong event Saturday at Temple University that promises to live up to the festival's theme for this year: "Word Play: Let's Have Some Serious Fun!"
The free event will include panel discussions and workshops as well as outdoor musical and comedy acts, and a family pavilion with activities for children, teens, and adults.
"Writers are always so serious," said Lorene Cary, executive director of Art Sanctuary. "It's not a stereotype really. We do take writing very seriously. But we didn't want this event to just be about the serious writers and serious writing. There's a lighter side to what we do, and we want people to see that."
Of course there have been plenty of "serious" events during this year's festival. But the festival comes out to play beginning Friday night with "Cocktails and Cupcakes," a book-launch event hosted by Demetria Lucas, relationships editor for Essence magazine. In addition to talking about her new book, A Belle in Brooklyn, Lucas will offer some lighthearted advice on living single.
Saturday's lineup includes workshops on everything from writing for cartoons, comic books, and graphic novels to panels on writing erotica and about relationships. The main-stage panel will feature authors Lucas, Tananarive Due, Denene Millner, Nick Chiles, and Anthony "Tmor" Morris talking about the importance of exploring the lighter side of writing.
The serious side of writing also will be represented in Saturday's events, including a publisher's open call when editors from HBF Publishers in association with Harlem Book Fair will see writers, consider manuscripts for publication, and give professional advice to writers.
"We want to make sure that we give people many points of access to our event," Cary said. "Whatever type of writing you're interested in, whatever level of writer you are, we want to have something that draws you in and speaks to you."