Reed, Write, and Create

Lori L Tharps

Tune in to the award-winning, Reed, Write, & Create podcast to hear bite-sized pep-talks for BIPOC writers at every stage of the writing game. Author, educator, and creative writing coach, Lori L. Tharps (award-winning author of ”Hair Story,” ”Kinky Gazpacho,” and ”Substitute Me”) knows how hard it is to stay motivated and inspired to write - whether you’re working on that debut novel, a gut-wrenching memoir, or an essay about your trip around the world. Writing can be your passion, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy. On the show, Lori helps writers of color tap into their divine right to write. She shares mindset tips, creativity & writing prompts, and true stories about our literary foremothers and forefathers - Toni Morrison, Lorraine Hansberry, Phillis Wheatley e.t.c. - that will leave you motivated and ready to write. You’ll also hear inspiring interviews with best-selling, BIPOC authors who share actionable writing tips and techniques to help improve your craft and better understand the business of writing and the publishing industry. If the idea of having your very own creative writing coach sounds like just what you need to optimize your writing life, then this is the podcast for you. New episodes are released biweekly on Mondays. Subscribe to the show and find more writing resources for BIPOC writers and the readers who love them at ReedWriteandCreate.com. read less
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Episodes

Art, Activism, and Audre Lorde: How to Use Your Words to Change the World
Feb 19 2024
Art, Activism, and Audre Lorde: How to Use Your Words to Change the World
On episode 24 of the podcast, you’re getting a pep talk about art and activism, using the life and times of the incredible Audre Lorde as our role model. We’re talking about the intersection of identity, writing, and making the world a better place.    Audre Lorde was a Black feminist writer and activist who authored several books of poetry, essays, and memoir. Some of her most popular titles include, Sister Outsider, Zami: A New Spelling of My Name, and The Cancer Journals.    This episode will leave all my BIPOC writers motivated and inspired to change the world with their words. So, let’s go! To Learn More about the Incredible Audre Lorde   Visit: The AudreLordeProject.com Read: Warrior Poet: A Biography of Audre Lorde by Alexis de Veaux Read: Sister Outsider by Audre Lorde Read: Zami: A New Spelling of My Name by Audre Lorde Read: The Cancer Journals by Audre Lorde   If you’re looking for more creative writing inspiration, and useful resources for your literary life, be sure to check out all of the amazing content at ReedWriteandCreate.com.    Sign up for the monthly, Reed, Write, & Create newsletter for literary resources and opportunities delivered right  to your inbox.   If you’re a BIPOC woman writer looking for a supportive writing community to join, where you’ll find accountability partners, BETA readers for your work, and opportunities to get published and get paid, apply to join the Reed, Write, & Create Sanctuary.    Don’t buy your books on Amazon, support indie booksellers and shop online at the Reed, Write, & Create bookshop for a list of curated titles by BIPOC authors.
Writing Romance, Race, and Ricki Wilde with New York Times Best-Selling Author, Tia Williams
Feb 5 2024
Writing Romance, Race, and Ricki Wilde with New York Times Best-Selling Author, Tia Williams
We’re back with season 3 of the Reed, Write, and Create Podcast!   On episode 23 of the podcast, my guest is  New York Times best-selling author, Tia Williams.    Tia is an author of both YA titles and adult fiction. She wrote the bestselling debut novel The Accidental Diva and then penned two young adult novels, It Chicks and Sixteen Candles. Her award-winning novel, The Perfect Find is currently a Netflix movie starring Gabrielle Union. Her next novel, Seven Days in June was a New York Times bestseller and Reese Witherspoon Book Club pick, and her new novel, A Love Song for Ricki Wilde, will be published by Grand Central on February 6, 2024.  During the episode, Tia gets real about the challenges of writing while Black in the mainstream publishing industry. She speaks openly and honestly about the obstacles she faced getting her second adult novel published, even after the success of her former titles. She tells us what race had to do it, and most importantly, how and why she never gave up on her writing dreams.   In the episode we also cover: The fun and not so fun parts about writing romance. How to write a good sex scene. Why BIPOC writers shouldn’t feel obliged to center trauma in their stories.    It’s a great episode to kick off Season 3, Black History Month, and Valentine’s Day. I hope you enjoy our conversation.   To learn more about Tia Williams, visit her website, TiaWilliams.net   Find Tia on the socials.    On Instagram On Facebook On Twitter/X   To purchase a copy of Tia's delightful new novel, A Love Song for Ricki Wilde, visit the Reed, Write, & Create Online Bookshop and support independent bookstores.  BIPOC woman writers: We have a supportive and active writing community where we provide you with the resources, accountability, and opportunities you need to get published and get paid. Visit ReedWriteandCreate.com and click on the The Sanctuary to learn more. Emerging and Seasoned writers are welcome.   Sign up for the  Reed, Write and Create newsletter   Visit ReedWriteandCreate.com for more resources and inspiration on the writing life. Please leave a rating and review on your favorite podcast platform. Thank you!
How to Make a Living Writing YA Fiction: A Conversation with Ibi Zoboi
Dec 18 2023
How to Make a Living Writing YA Fiction: A Conversation with Ibi Zoboi
On episode 22 of the podcast, award-winning author, Ibi Zoboi is my guest. Ibi is the New York Times Bestselling author of the YA novel, American Street, which among other distinctions, was a National Book Award finalist. Ibi is the editor of the anthology Black Enough: Stories of Being Young and Black in America. She co-authored the Walter Award and L.A. Times Book Prize-winning novel-in-verse, Punching the Air, written with Exonerated Five member, Yusef Salaam. Her debut picture book, The People Remember, received a Coretta Scott King Honor Award. And  her most recent books include Star Child: A Biographical Constellation of Octavia Estelle Butler, Okoye to the People: A Black Panther Novel for Marvel, and her new novel, Nigeria Jones.    During our conversation, Ibi shares her unique journey to publishing success, as well as the sacrifices and compromises she had to make in order to get her foot in the door of the mainstream publishing industry. She also shares her experiences writing for a book packaging company early on in her career.    If you’re a fiction writer looking to break into the mainstream publishing industry, this is an important and informative episode to listen to and take notes.   Writing Resources Mentioned in this Episode Ibi mentioned a lot of great resources within this episode. Here are a few you might want to check out. Ibi Zoboi’s websiteVONA Writing WorkshopClarion Workshop for Sci-Fi and Fantasy WritersForbidden Planet Comic Bookstore in New York CityNikki Giovanni’s iconic poem Ego TrippinAlloy EntertainmentIf you want to learn more about Octavia Butler and her work, listen to our episode of the podcast on Octavia Estelle Butler. It’s really great.   BIPOC Writers, We Got You! If you are a BIPOC woman writer looking for a supportive and active writing community, where we support and celebrate BIPOC women writers who want to get published and get paid, visit ReadWriteandCreate.com and click on the The Sanctuary tab.   You can also sign up for the  Read, Write and Create newsletter, which is the first place where you’ll find out about my latest classes and creative offerings. Sign up on the Read, Write and Create website.    The RWC Gift Guide for BIPOC writers and readers was created for you! There are some really unique gifts listed on the guide that your writer and reader friends will love, plus the guide is not too long so you can quickly find the perfect gift and then get back to writing.    Be sure to visit The Read, Write and Create online bookshop, where you’ll find a whole shelf of books that make great gifts. You will also find the books of all of the guests who have appeared on the podcast highlighted there as well. Remember a purchase from our bookshop goes to support this podcast and independent booksellers everywhere.   We’ll be back in February.  Until then, keep writing and keep creating. Happy Holidays!
It’s All About The Sanctuary: A Membership Community for BIPOC Women Writers
Dec 4 2023
It’s All About The Sanctuary: A Membership Community for BIPOC Women Writers
On episode 21 of the podcast, I’m taking you on a tour of The Sanctuary, the new private membership community we’re launching at Read, Write, and Create headquarters. The Sanctuary is a private community for BIPOC women writers who want to get their work out into the world and who want to get paid for doing it.    I’m going to share the origin story of The Sanctuary, but I’m also going to share why writing communities are gaining in popularity, even though they are far from a new idea. So, even if you’re not a BIPOC woman writer or The Sanctuary isn’t for you, I urge you to stick around and listen anyway to find out how writing communities can help you optimize your writing life.    And of course we’ll dip back into history for a minute to learn how our literary ancestors used official writing communities to help get their work into the world.   On the show, you’ll learn:  Why I Created the SanctuaryWho Belongs in  The Sanctuary What Goes on Behind the Doors of the Sanctuary and Why it is a Private CommunityHow Communities Like the Harlem Writers Guild and the South Side Writers Group Inspired the Creation of The SanctuaryWhy The Sanctuary is for BIPOC Women only   The episode is short and sweet, but I hope it answers all of your questions about The Sanctuary. If you’d like to learn more about our community, including how to apply, visit the new Sanctuary page on the Read, Write, and Create website.   For more resources, recommendations and inspiration to help you optimize your writing life, visit ReadWriteandCreate.com. While you’re there, be sure to sign up for the RWC newsletter.    The holidays are coming! Whether you celebrate Hannakah, Christmas, Kwanzaa or all three, you’ll be sure to find a great gift for the literature lovers in your life on the first ever RWC Holiday Gift Guide. Curated specifically for BIPOC readers and writers, there is something for everyone – even you - in our guide. And trust, it’s not an overwhelming list, so you can quickly find just the right gift and then get back to writing!   If you prefer to just gift everyone on your shopping list with books, be sure to visit The Read, Write and Create online bookshop, where you’ll find a whole shelf of books that make great gifts. Remember a purchase from our bookshop goes to support this podcast and independent booksellers everywhere.   If you enjoyed this episode or any of our other episodes, please be sure to leave a rating or a review on your favorite podcast platform.   Keep Writing.
Greenlight Your Own Projects: Self-Publishing Without Apology with Dr. Tamara Pizzoli
Nov 20 2023
Greenlight Your Own Projects: Self-Publishing Without Apology with Dr. Tamara Pizzoli
On episode #20 of the Read, Write, and Create podcast, my guest is Dr. Tamara Pizzoli, who shares her unconventional success story as an independent children’s book author and publisher. Dr. Pizzoli is an African-American author, curator, producer and publisher. Originally from Texas, she is the mother of four children and has resided in Rome, Italy for over fifteen years. In 2013, she opened a boutique English-language school for kids in Rome called The English Schoolhouse, which she later converted into an independent publishing house. In just under a decade, Dr. Pizzoli has published over sixty books, with many more currently in development. Her most popular books include The Ghanaian Goldilocks, Tallulah the Tooth Fairy CEO, and K is for Kahlo. After gaining international attention in print and media for her diverse children’s books, Dr. Pizzoli was approached by Farrar Straus and Giroux in early 2017 and offered a book deal for Tallulah the Tooth Fairy CEO which was then released in 2019. Film rights for Tallulah the Tooth Fairy were later acquired by the actress, Gabrielle Union. During our conversation she shares: Her unconventional path to literary success.Why she chose to self publish her own books.Why she likes to find and contract her own illustrators.How she handles publishing deals with major publishers, on her own terms. Not to mention the movies and licensing agreements she’s also negotiating. FOR MORE INFORMATION If you want to learn more about Dr. Tamara Pizzoli or to purchase her books, visit TheEnglishSchoolhouse.com If you want to follow Dr. Pizzoli on Instagram, follow her @tamarapizzoli and to learn more about her books @theenglishschoolhouse. Check out the original Kickstarter campaign that launched The Ghanaian Goldilocks. Dr. Pizzoli referenced KDP as the platform she uses for self-publishing, that is Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing. If you are enjoying the Read, Write, and Create podcast, don’t forget to rate, review, and subscribe to the show on Apple podcasts, or your favorite podcast platform. For more resources, recommendations and inspiration to help you optimize your writing life, visit ReadWriteandCreate.com. While you’re there, be sure to sign up for the RWC newsletter because I send out a monthly list of opportunities for BIPOC writers that include jobs, open submissions, residencies, grants, fellowships and more. If you’d like more information about The Sanctuary, the new membership community exclusively  for BIPOC women writers who want to get their work into the world, please use this link to join the "I Want to Know More"  List.
Writing Retreats are Not Bougie: Why Writing Retreats Should be a Part of Your Regular Writing Practice
Nov 6 2023
Writing Retreats are Not Bougie: Why Writing Retreats Should be a Part of Your Regular Writing Practice
On episode 19 of the podcast, I’m giving a pep-talk on the importance of writing retreats for your regular writing practice. Yes, I just ran my first writing retreat, so I’m still glowing from that amazing experience, but this pep talk isn’t about me. It’s about you and all the benefits  you will gain from adding writing retreats to your writing life.  Some of the benefits of attending writing retreats include: Increased productivity in your writingImproved self-confidence as a writerAccess to a wider writing networkIncreased creativity energy Even our literary ancestors knew how beneficial it was to run away and write, so of course I’ll be bringing their perspective to my pep talk as well. By the way, I’m making a big announcement at the end of the episode, so be sure to listen all the way to the end!   Links You Need from the Show   Learn more about The Renaissance House and their residence for BIPOC writers. If you want to read Zora Neale Hurston’s autobiography/memoir that she wrote while on “retreat” consider buying your copy of Dust Tracks on the Road at Bookshop.org so you can support this podcast and independent booksellers everywhere.    If you want to start planning which retreat you’d like to attend in 2024, check out this list of retreats for BIPOC writers I created. It will be updated for 2024 soon.    If you need ideas on how to plan your own writing retreat, check out this post I wrote about the DIY writing retreat.    If you’d like more information about The Sanctuary, the new membership community exclusively  for BIPOC women writers who want to get their work into the world, please use this link to join the I Want to Know More List. For more resources, recommendations and inspiration to help you optimize your writing life, visit ReadWriteandCreate.com. While you’re there, be sure to sign up for the RWC newsletter because I send out a monthly list of opportunities for BIPOC writers that include jobs, open submissions, residencies, grants, fellowships and more. You know you want some of that good stuff, don't you?
How to Have a 40-Year Literary Career with Award-Winning Author and Literary Activist Marita Golden
Oct 23 2023
How to Have a 40-Year Literary Career with Award-Winning Author and Literary Activist Marita Golden
On episode 18 of the podcast, the amazing Marita Golden is my guest.    Marita Golden is  an award-winning author of over twenty works of  fiction and nonfiction. Her books include the novels, The Wide Circumference of Love, and After and the memoirs Migrations of the Heart, Saving Our Sons, and Don’t Play in the Sun: One Woman’s Journey Through the Color Complex. Her most recent work of nonfiction is The New Black Woman Loves Herself, Has Boundaries and  Heals Every Day. Marita is also the Co-founder and President Emerita of the Zora Neale Hurston/ Richard Wright Foundation.   Over the years, Marita’s life and work as an author and literary activist has served as both personal and professional inspiration to me and countless other writers.   During our interview, we discuss: The secrets and strategies Marita has used over the years to have a successful, diverse and long-lasting literary career. Time management skills.Why writers shouldn’t feel guilty about the need to make money from their writing. The need for self-care for writers and why it’s not just a trending buzzword.The importance of community for BIPOC writers.   I guarantee this episode with Marita Golden will leave you inspired, well-informed, and ready to write.    To learn more about Marita Golden and to find out about her classes and coaching, visit her website at MaritaGolden.com   To buy some of Marita’s most iconic books, visit the Read, Write, and Create bookshop and support Marita, this podcast, and independent bookstores everywhere.    To hear an interview I did with Marita Golden about her anthology and novel on Alzheimer's, have a listen here.    To learn more about the incredible Hurston/ Wright foundation, visit their website at HurstonWright.org.   For more literary resources to help you love your writing life, please visit the Read, Write, and Create website and blog.   If you’re looking for opportunities to get your work published, to get paid for your writing, and/or retreats and residencies where you can deep dive into the writing world, be sure to subscribe to the Read, Write and Create newsletter.    Follow @ReadWriteandCre8 on Instagram for more lit news, views, tips, tricks, giveaways, and opportunities.  Please don’t forget to leave a rating and/or a review for the show on Apple podcasts or wherever you like to listen to podcasts. Thank you!
Find Your Passion and Your Purpose as a Writer with Maya Angelou
Oct 9 2023
Find Your Passion and Your Purpose as a Writer with Maya Angelou
On episode 18 of the podcast, I’m sharing a lively pep-talk using the life and times of the incredible Dr. Maya Angelou to inspire you to tap into your purpose and passions as BIPOC writers.    One little programming note, make sure you stick around all the way to the end of the episode because I’m launching a new segment of the show called, Read Like a Writer, where I will be sharing a  book recommendation for a book that is delightful to read and will help you improve your craft.    The topics we cover in this Maya Angelou inspired pep talk include:   Why writers have to live life and embrace new opportunities.How to launch your writing career by starting with what you love. The sacrifice and struggle required if you want to be a writer. How writers can heal the world with their words and why BIPOC writers especially have an obligation to do so.Why Maya Angelou never used the words “writer’s block.”   Read Like a Writer Selection: The Man Who Could Move Clouds by Ingrid Rojas Contreras. You can purchase a copy at the Read, Write and Create online bookshop and support this podcast, Ingrid, and independent booksellers across the United States.    Thank you for listening to this award-winning podcast. If you are looking for more resources, recommendations and inspiration to help you optimize your writing life, please visit ReadWriteandCreate.com. While you’re there, be sure to sign up for the RWC newsletter because I send out a monthly list of opportunities for BIPOC writers that include jobs, open submissions, residencies, grants, and fellowships.    Find out what amazing award the Read, Write, and Create podcast won in September.    We also now have a dedicated Instagram account @ReadWriteandCre8. Be sure to follow that account because it's where all things Read, Write and Create will be announced.    Please don’t forget to leave a rating and/or a review for the show on Apple podcasts or wherever you like to listen to podcasts.  I'll see you in two weeks on Monday. Keep writing!
New York Times Best-Selling Author, Denene Millner Shares Her Story and Her Strategies for a Prolific Literary Career
Sep 25 2023
New York Times Best-Selling Author, Denene Millner Shares Her Story and Her Strategies for a Prolific Literary Career
On episode 16 of the podcast, I am joined by the incredible Denene Millner. Denene is truly a powerhouse in the publishing world. She is an author, editor, television and podcast host, and journalist. She has authored more than 30 books, including six New York Times best sellers. She is the creator and director of Denene Millner Books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster, and MyBrownBaby.com, a critically acclaimed blog that examines the intersection of parenting and race. Millner has written and collaborated on books of fiction, non-fiction, and youth literature including co-authoring Act Like a Lady, Think Like A Man, and Straight Talk, No Chaser both with comedian Steve Harvey. On September 5 of 2023, Denene’s debut solo novel, One Blood was released to rave reviews. During our interview, Denene walks us through how she went from being a journalist for the Associated Press, to running her own imprint at Simon & Schuster and the strategies and mindset she used to accomplish her writing goals. Other things we discuss include:   The benefits of being able to write across genres. Denene’s secrets for productivity as a writer.The physical toll writing takes on the body and what to do to protect ourselves.Why it’s important to have your literary sisters in your life when you’re writing.Why you should never apologize for centering your people in your writing and how doing so can actually become your professional claim to fame.What literary ancestors Denene looks to for inspiration for her writing life. Her answers may surprise you!   Get ready to be inspired and to take notes because Ms. Milner is ready to school you.   Grab a copy of Denene’s epic new novel, One Blood at the Read, Write, and Create online Bookshop and support Denene, this podcast, and independent bookstores everywhere.   To learn more about Denene and all of her books and contributions to the literary world, visit DeneneMillner.com.   To find some of the best books written for young people by Black authors and illustrators, visit DeneneMillnerbooks.com.   For more literary resources to help you love your writing life, please visit the Read, Write, and Create website and blog.   If you’re looking for opportunities to get your work published, to get paid for your writing, and/or retreats and residencies where you can deep dive into the writing world, be sure to subscribe to the Reed, Write and Create bimonthly newsletter.  Follow @ReadWriteandCre8 on Instagram for more lit news, views, tips, tricks, giveaways, and opportunities.  If you're enjoying this award-winning podcast, please take a moment to leave us a rating or review on your favorite podcast platform.
The Sisterhood and Why Writers Need a Writing Community
Sep 11 2023
The Sisterhood and Why Writers Need a Writing Community
It was Virginia Wolf who said, “a woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction.” And it’s true, when we write, particularly if we’re working on creative work, we need peace and quiet so we can sink into our imagination. But writers are human too. And that means we are social beings. We crave connections. We need our tribe. But not just any tribe, we writers need fellow writers who understand the nuances of a literary life and will help us stay committed to our craft. Episode 15 of the podcast is all about why writers need writing communities. And I'm using the legendary writing group known as The Sisterhood to prove my point. In case you didn't know, The Sisterhood was a famous writing group for Black women in the late 1970s. Members included the likes of Toni Morrison, Alice Walker and June Jordan, and there was gumbo and champagne involved.  On the show, I explain: Why writing groups are just as important as a room of one's own for writers.What writing groups can do for your writing career and output.How to start your own writing group.Why BIOPC writers need their own writing groups   Links from the show you may need: The Read, Write and Create Blog offers more resources for BIPOC writers. If you'd like to pre-order the new book about The Sisterhood, you can do that at the RWC Bookshop. Follow the new Read, Write and Create Instagram account @ReadWriteandCre8 Please don't forget to leave a rating or review of the podcast on your favorite podcast platform.
Best of Author Series with Kaitlyn Greenidge: Real Talk about What it Takes to Be a Writer
Jul 17 2023
Best of Author Series with Kaitlyn Greenidge: Real Talk about What it Takes to Be a Writer
On episode 14, I have another episode from my “Best of…Author Interviews.” This week I am sharing my 2021 interview with award-winning novelist, Kaitlyn Greenidge. Kaitlyn Greenidge's debut novel We Love You, Charlie Freeman (Algonquin Books), was one of the New York Times Critics' Top 10 Books of 2016. She is currently Features Director at Harper’s Bazaar as well as a contributing writer for The New York Times. Her second novel, Libertie, was published by Algonquin Books and it had just come out at the time of our interview.   Liberite is an exquisite novel about a young Black woman, the title character Libertie, who is coming of age during the era of reconstruction. She has never known the personal sting of slavery yet she yearns to be truly free. The novel begins in upstate New York, but the story makes its way to Haiti and beyond. And believe it or not, Libertie is actually based on real-life characters.  In addition to discussing Kaitlyn’s experience writing Liberite, we also dive deep into the writing life and how to make it work. We talk about: How to balance writing with a full time job and motherhood.The truth about writer’s block and how to overcome it.Why writers don’t need solitude to create.The importance of writing Black characters who are not exceptional.A missive from Alice Walker that inspires Kaitlyn’s work. The fascinating real-life characters Libertie and her mother are based on.   This is an insightful and inspiring episode, with lots of actionable advice for writers to use in their own writing practice. I hope you enjoy it. Links from the Show If you want to know more about Kaitlyn Greenidge, visit her website at KaitlynGreenidge.com. You can also follow Kaitlyn on Instagram. If you’d like to buy a copy of Libertie, please consider purchasing it from the Read, Write and Create Online bookstore. By doing so, you’re supporting Kaitlyn, the production of our show, and independent booksellers everywhere.    Don’t forget you can find the full show notes for this episode as well as a heap of useful and fun literary resources including all the info and updates about our first writing retreat for BIPOC women writers on  the Read, Write and Create website at ReadWriteandCreate.com We have only two spots left and registration is ending on July 31 2023. So, if you want to come write with me in the South of Spain in October 2023, get all the details , including how to register, on the RWC website.   Sign up here for the new and improved Read, Write and Create newsletter. In addition to my monthly updates and resources, once a month you’ll get a curated list of contests, grants, jobs, submission requests and more, targeted for BIPOC writers to help you get your words out into the world.    Please don’t forget to leave us a rating or a review on Apple podcasts or wherever you like to listen to podcasts so more people can find all the literary goodness on this show.   Remember, this is the last episode for the summer. I’ll be back in September. Until then, keep writing.
Best of Author Series with Dr. Yaba Blay: Why Self Publishing is a Revolutionary Act
Jul 3 2023
Best of Author Series with Dr. Yaba Blay: Why Self Publishing is a Revolutionary Act
On episode 13, I have another episode from my “Best of…Author Interviews.” My guest is Dr. Yaba Blay, author of the groundbreaking book, One Drop: Shifting the Lens on Race. On the show we talk about how One Drop went from being a self-published labor of love and resistance, to arriving on bookshelves with a major publisher seven years later. Dr. Blay talks about what she had to sacrifice to get One Drop out into the world, and why she refused to compromise on her vision for her book. Dr. Blay is a scholar-activist, public speaker, and cultural consultant whose scholarship, work and practice centers on the lived experiences of Black women and girls, with a particular focus on identity/body politics and beauty practices. Lauded by O Magazine for her social media activism, she has launched several viral campaigns including Locs of Love, #PrettyPeriod, and #ProfessionalBlackGirl, her multi-platform digital community.   Topics we cover in this episode:   The pros and cons of self-publishingWhy self-publishing has always been a necessary option for Black writers and other writers from marginalized communities. How self-publishing can be seen as a revolutionary act.How One Drop went from self-published to traditionally published with rave reviewsThe difference between colorism and skin color politicsThe origins of the one-drop rule and who it truly benefitsWhy, in the 21st century, are we still policing Blackness?   This is an insightful and inspiring episode, and I’m sure Dr. Blay’s story of perseverance and believing in the merit of her work will leave you #Lit. Plus, there is a happy ending for One Drop! Links from the Show If you want to support this show and Dr. Blay, please consider buying a copy of One Drop from the Read, Write and Create online bookstore.    If you’re in the Philadelphia area, please visit Uncle Bobbie’s Cafe and Books to purchase One Drop and show some love to Dr. Blay’s favorite independent Black-owned bookstore.    Lori L. Tharps’ book on colorism and skin color politics, mentioned on the show: Same Family, Different Colors: Confronting Colorism in America’s Diverse Families.    To keep up with Dr. Blay, visit her website YabaBlay.com and follow her on Instagram @YabaBlay   For more information about the first annual Read, Write and Create writing retreat for BIPOC women writers, visit this page on the website. But don’t delay because doors for registration are closing soon.    Sign up here for the new and improved Read, Write and Create newsletter. Once a month you’ll get a curated list of  contests, grants, jobs, submission requests and more, targeted for BIPOC writers to help you get your words out into the world.    Please don’t forget to leave us a rating or a review on Apple podcasts or wherever you like to listen to podcasts so more people can find all the literary goodness on this show.   Thank you!
”Best of ...Author Series:” Lauren Francis-Sharma + Book of the Little Axe
Jun 12 2023
”Best of ...Author Series:” Lauren Francis-Sharma + Book of the Little Axe
On episode 12 of the podcast, I’m dipping into my podcast archives to bring you one of my favorite author interviews. My guest is novelist Lauren Francis-Sharma. Lauren is a child of Trinidadian immigrants, and is the author of Till the Well Runs Dry and Book of the Little Axe. Lauren’s most recent writings can be found in The Lily, Electric Literature, Barrelhouse, Salon, as well as Marita Golden’s anthology, Us Against Alzheimer’s: Stories of Family Love and Faith. Lauren is also the Assistant Director of Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference at Middlebury College, and she is a book reviewer for the San Francisco Chronicle. This episode was originally recorded in 2020, just a couple of months after the debut of Book of the Little Axe.    Book of the Little Axe takes place at the end of the 18th century and the beginning of the 19th century and tells the story of Rosa Rendon, a Black Trinidadian woman who flees her island home and finds herself living among the Crow Nation in what is now Bighorn, Montana. She becomes the wife of a Crow chief and raises three mixed-race children with the nation. When her son begins to struggle with his identity, Rosa is forced to reckon with her past and so the story unfolds. During our conversation, Lauren shares how and why she left her career in corporate law to become a novelist, the 10-year journey to getting her first book published, why Trinidad is always a character in her work, and everything that went into writing the epic masterpiece that is, Book of the Little Axe. She also shares the painful truth of what it was like to launch a novel in the early stages of the pandemic.    This is an insightful and inspiring episode, and I’m sure Lauren’s story of perseverance and pushing through life’s challenges to come out triumphant as an award-winning novelist, will leave you #Lit! *************************   Just because I’m taking a podcast break for the summer, I still want you to stay inspired to write. So, please enjoy these “Best of… Author Interviews” and keep writing.    Links from the show: To learn more about Lauren Francis-Sharma, visit her website at LaurenFrancisSharma.com To purchase a copy of Book of the Little Axe, visit the Read Write and Create online bookstore powered by Bookshop.org. A purchase from our bookstore supports the production of this podcast and independent booksellers everywhere.  For more literary resources and inspiration, visit ReadWriteandCreate.com and follow me on Instagram @LoriLTharps and Twitter @ReadWriteCre8.
Get Your Writing Life on Track with the NBA
May 29 2023
Get Your Writing Life on Track with the NBA
On episode 11 of the podcast, our last episode of the season, I am giving you a pep talk that will leave you truly lit. Before signing off for the summer, I want to get you fired up and inspired to write, but also give you a source of inspiration you can always go back to when you need that little pick me up. So, I decided to share my secret source for writing inspiration and guidance. It’s the NBA! Yes, I’ve been fashioning my writing career based on the lives and lessons learned from basketball greats like Michael Jordan, LeBron James, and Kobe Bryant. On this episode of the podcast, I’m sharing three key lessons  from these legendary basketball players that every writer should learn.  How Should A Writer Care for their BodyHow to Level Up Against the CompetitionHow to Handle Rejection and Bad Reviews Tune in so you can hear these lessons and more about the connections between writing and basketball.   Literary Links from the Show For more writing resources and inspiration, don’t forget to visit the Read, Write and Create blog and while you’re there, sign up for the Read, Write and Create newsletter. In honor of this being our last episode of the season, please leave us a rating or a review on Apple podcasts or wherever you listen to podcasts. The Read Write and Create Retreat is open for registration and there are still a few spots left! The retreat takes place October 8 - 14, 2023 in Sevilla, Spain.  This retreat has been specifically curated and created for BIPOC women writers who have a writing project they are working on in either fiction or creative nonfiction. We’re staying in a gorgeous country estate, and we’ll be pulling inspiration from Spain’s multicultural history including their hidden Black history. Delicious food, writing instruction, and community awaits you. To find out more and to register, follow this link.  Let’s stay in touch over the summer: Find me on the socials where I will continue to share my literary life on Instagram and writing opportunities and resources on Twitter. If you plan on buying some extra good books this summer by BIPOC authors and you want to support this podcast and platform, you can do both things by shopping online at the Read, Write and Create Booktore, powered by Bookshop.org. We have a wonderful selection of diverse books for adults and children, fiction and nonfiction, that will leave you #Lit! See you in September!  Keep writing!
How to Launch, Sell, and Market Your Book: A Masterclass with Mr. Ernest Owens
May 15 2023
How to Launch, Sell, and Market Your Book: A Masterclass with Mr. Ernest Owens
On episode 10 of the Read, Write, and Create podcast, award-winning journalist and author Ernest Owens joins me on the show to provide a masterclass on how to launch, market and sell your book. The author of the new book, The Case for Cancel Culture, Ernest brings his wit and wisdom to the topic of book marketing, and provides actionable advice for authors at all stages of their career. This is an episode where knowledge is dropped, the truth is shared, and tips and tricks come at your fast. If you have a book that’s about to come out, or one you want to relaunch, be sure to press play and take notes.   Ernest Owens  is the CEO of Ernest Media Empire, LLC. He is the Editor at Large for Philadelphia Magazine and President of the Philadelphia Association of Black Journalists. As an openly gay, Black journalist, he has made headlines for speaking frankly about intersectional issues in society regarding race, LGBTQIA issues, and pop culture.   Ernest is the executive producer and host of the hit podcast “Ernestly Speaking!” and his work has been featured in The New York Times, The Washington Post, CNN, NPR, Rolling Stone and other prominent media outlets. In 2019, Fobes magazine included Ernest in their annual 30 under 30 list for his journalism work.  Ernest received his B.A. in communication from the University of Pennsylvania, and a Master’s degree in communication management from the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism. He’s an adjunct professor at Cheyney University, the nation’s first Historically Black College and University (HBCU).    Links from the Show   If you want to know more about Ernest Owens, visit his website at ErnestOwens.com. You can also follow him on Twitter and Instagram.    To purchase a copy of Ernest’s fascinating new book, The Case for Cancel Culture, you can support the Read, Write, and Create podcast by purchasing from the RWC online bookshop.    Ernest mentioned an exciting new venture he’s involved in, The Philadelphia Bookstore Crawl. It’s taking place on August 26, 2023 in Philadelphia. Check out The Philadelphia Bookstore Crawl website for details. You can also follow the crawl on Twitter and Instagram.   In honor of our 10th episode, would you be so kind as to take a moment to rate and review the show on Apple podcasts or your own favorite podcast platform?    If you're looking for more creative writing inspiration, writing prompts, and useful resources for your literary life, be sure to check out all of the amazing content on the Read, Write, and Create website at ReadWriteandCreate.com. For example, check out my list of writing retreats taking place in 2023 or my list of BIPOC writing festivals also taking place this year.    Keep Writing!
How to Leave a Literary Legacy with Lorraine Hansberry
May 1 2023
How to Leave a Literary Legacy with Lorraine Hansberry
On episode nine of the podcast, I’m sharing a pep talk meant  to encourage you to seize your moment to write. You must get your stories out into the world, so that you can leave a legacy of your words, your wisdom, and your dreams behind. Writing is such a powerful tool to leave a lasting legacy for our loved ones and for the world. Just look at the work our literary ancestors have left behind for us to learn from and love. To drive home my point, I’m going to be sharing the life and times of the award-winning playwright, Lorraine Hansberry who died at age 34, but whose work continues to impact the world today.    Lorraine Hansberry was a writer and racial justice activist. She wrote articles, essays and plays, in her abbreviated lifetime, but she is most well-known for her groundbreaking and award-winning play, A Raisin in the Sun.    During the episode you’ll learn: How a horrible childhood experience for Lorraine Hansberry inspired A Raisin in the Sun. The awards and accolades, A Raisin in the Sun brought to Hansberry’s life.  What role Langston Hughes played in Lorraine Hansberry’s creative life.The surprising connection between Nina Simone and Lorraine Hansberry.What it means to be, “young, gifted and Black,” according to Lorraine Hansberry. What lessons can we learn from Lorraine Hansberry about leaving a literary legacy? Links from the Show   To learn more about Lorraine Hansberry, read Dr. Imani Perry’s new-ish,  award-winning biography, Looking for Lorraine: The Radiant and Radical Life of Lorraine Hansberry   Langston Hughes poem Harlem/ A Dream Deferred can be read here. Don’t forget, I am hosting a one- day intensive workshop on Sunday May 7  on How to Write a Nonfiction Book Proposal, open to any and all writers working on a nonfiction book, including memoir.  If you want to sell a nonfiction book to a publisher, you have to write a proposal first. So, if you’re ready to start pitching agents with your nonfiction book, you should register for my workshop because you’ll leave the workshop with a template and a working outline for your proposal. Follow this link to register for the workshop.   If you haven’t already, sign up for the RWC newsletter so you’ll be the first to know about all of my upcoming workshops, classes, retreats and other writing opportunities that I share, including writing contests and calls for work from presses all over the world.   If you’re looking for more creative writing inspiration, writing prompts and useful resources for your literary life, be sure to check out all of the amazing content at ReadWriteandCreate.com. And follow Read,Write, and Create on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest. You can also follow me, LoriLTharps on Instagram, where I’m always sharing #Lit content.    Please don’t forget to rate and review the podcast on your favorite podcast app.    Thank you!
You’re Never Too Old to Start Writing or Keep Writing: Dorothy West
Apr 17 2023
You’re Never Too Old to Start Writing or Keep Writing: Dorothy West
On episode # 8 of the podcast, I’m giving you a quick pep talk about the perfect age to become a literary star. Spoiler alert: There isn’t one. The truth is, age is completely irrelevant in the writing game. You never know when your big literary break is going to come, you’re never too old to pick up the pen, and it’s never too late to tell your story. Rather than worrying about your age, you should be working on your words.   To prove this point, I’m going back to the ancestors, and I’m sharing about the literary life and times of  Ms. Dorothy West, who officially became literary famous when she was 88 years old. Dorothy West was considered one of the youngest members of the Black literati of the Harlem Renaissance. Born in Boston, she is most known for her critically-acclaimed novel about a wealthy Black family, The Wedding.  So, check your ageism and your doubts at the door, and tune in to this powerful episode of the show.    Links from the Show:   If you haven’t already, read The Wedding by Dorothy West. It’s a beautiful book.   You can also watch this amazing documentary about West, called As I Remember It.    The interview I referenced with author Laura Warrell, who wrote the new novel, Sweet, Soft, Plenty Rhythm was on the Black and Published podcast.    Jocelyn Johnson was the other author I mentioned, whose critically acclaimed, debut novel, My Monticello came out when Johnson was 50 years old. I am hosting a one day intensive workshop on Sunday May 7 on How to Write a Nonfiction Book Proposal, open to any and all writers working on a nonfiction book, including memoir.  If you want to sell a nonfiction book to a mainstream publisher, you have to write a proposal first.  You need a proposal to get an agent and the proposal is needed to get the book deal. So, if you’re ready to start pitching agents with your nonfiction book, you should register for my workshop because you’ll leave the workshop with a template and a working outline for your book proposal.   There’s still room in the Creative Writing Workshop for BIPOC writers. If you’re looking for a creative writing workshop that will have you generating new work in every class, help improve your creative writing skills, and offer a supportive BIPOC centered writing community, then please join us. The class meets Saturdays online  at 12:pmEST through June 3, 2023. If you promised yourself that 2023 was the year you were going to write more, then this is a great way to make good on that promise. You can register here.    If you haven’t already, you should  sign up for the RWC newsletter, so you’ll be the first to know about all of my upcoming workshops, classes and other writing opportunities that I share, including writing contests and calls for work from presses all over the world.   If you’re looking for more creative writing inspiration, writing prompts and useful resources for your literary life, be sure to check out all of the amazing content on the Read, Write, and Create website at ReadWriteandCreate.com. Just as an example, I recently posted an amazing list of upcoming BIPOC Book  festivals. You can plan your summer vacation based on what lit literary festivals you want to attend!    Remember, a #Lit life  is the best life.    P.S. Don’t forget to rate and review the podcast.
The Secret to a Productive and Prolific Literary Life with Jabari Asim
Apr 3 2023
The Secret to a Productive and Prolific Literary Life with Jabari Asim
On today’s episode of the podcast, award-winning author, journalist, professor, and poet, Jabari Asim,  joins me on the show, to share his advice and experiences maintaining a productive, prolific, and eclectic literary career for more than thirty years.  Jabari Asim is the Distinguished Professor of Multi-Disciplinary Letters at Emerson College, where he also directs the MFA Program in Creative Writing. He is the author of 23 books, including Yonder, the essay collection We Can’t Breathe, and Preaching to the Chickens: The Story of Young John Lewis. His awards include a Guggenheim fellowship and a Pushcart Prize. Jabari lives in the Boston area and has 5 adult children   On the show Jabari shares:    How an encounter with the poet Gwendolyn Brooks inspired him to be a writer.The practical reasons why he is so prolific.Why it’s important for writers to write in multiple genres.The best education for aspiring and working writers. (Hint: It’s not an MFA)How to stay motivated in the face of rejection.The  advice he has for BIPOC writers who want to be published by one of the big five publishers.    It’s an inspiring interview full of actionable advice and writing tips. You don’t want to miss it. So press play.   “Artists are here to disturb the peace.” -James Baldwin.   To learn more about Jabari Asim, visit his website.   Jabari’s most recent novel, Yonder should be on your TBR list now. And if you have little people in your life, get them a copy of Whose Knees are These and Whose Toes are Those? Jabari mentioned the inspiring and instructional example of how the author Ann Napolitano queried 80 agents before finding one who would work with her. You can read her story in this article in The New York Times.   I will be teaching a Creative Writing Workshop specifically for BIPOC writers who are looking to develop a creative writing habit, improve their creative writing skills, and share their work in a safe and supportive writing workshop. We will be working with creative nonfiction, fiction and poetry. The class meets Saturdays online from 12:00pm - 1:30pmEST.    You don’t have to be a published writer or be trying to write a book, this class is truly for those who want to engage in the act of writing and develop their skills in a BIPOC centered workshop. The class will meet online from April 15 - June 3. ( (note I accidentally said June 10 on the episode.)  Class size is limited. For more information and to register, visit the classes and workshops page on the Read, Write, and Create website.  I am also teaching  a one- day intensive workshop on Sunday, May 7,  2023 on How to Write a Nonfiction Book Proposal, open to any and all writers working on a nonfiction book, including memoir.  If you want to sell a nonfiction  book to a mainstream publisher, you have to write a proposal first.  You need a proposal to get an agent, and the proposal is needed to get the book deal. So, if you’re ready to start pitching agents with your nonfiction book, you should register for my workshop. Space is limited so sign up soon. For more information and to register visit the classes and workshops page on the Read, Write, and Create website.    If you haven’t already, you should  sign up for the RWC newsletter so you’ll be the first to know about all of my upcoming workshops, classes, retreats  and other writing opportunities that I share, including writing contests and calls for work from presses all over the world. You can sign up for the newsletter here.    If you’re looking for more creative writing inspiration, writing prompts and useful resources for your literary life, be sure to check out all of the amazing content on the Read, Write, and Create website.    Thank you for supporting the show with a rating, review or a share on any of your favorite social hangouts.