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Torch Literary Arts Unveils 2024 Spring Season

Brittany Heckard

Jan 26, 2024

Torch’s 2024 Spring Season is full of workshops, panels, an interactive literary cooking event, and much more to help Black women writers share their unique stories.

AUSTIN, Tex., Jan. 26, 2024 – Torch is now 18 years in operation and the quality (and quantity) of events supporting Black women writers is not stopping any time soon. This 2024 season, you can expect to work on perfecting your craft with panels and workshops and attend readings by Torch Features during our Wildfire Reading Series. You can RSVP to Torch’s Spring 2024 events by visiting

Our special events this season include:

February 15 In Conversation: Room Swept Home with Remica Bingham-Risher, Lisa D. Cain, and Trapeta B. Mayson

Torch Literary Arts is proud to present this special reading celebrating the launch of Remica Bingham-Risher’s latest poetry collection, Room Swept Home. Poet Laureate of Philadelphia, Trapeta B. Mayson will moderate the conversation between Bingham-Risher and Lisa B. Cain, the cover artist of Room Swept Home. The conversation is free and registration opens February 1. Learn more here

March 2 Workshop: Write. Publish. Thrive. with Camari Carter Hawkins

This immersive event is tailored for aspiring authors and writers who want to learn strategies on how to self-publish and submit their work to literary journals, magazines, contests, and publishers. We will demystify the self-publishing processes by showing you how to independently bring your work to the world, exploring topics such as formatting, cover design, and distribution channels. The workshop is free and registration opens February 10. Learn more here

March 12 Panel: We Got Somthin’: A panel discussion with Charla Lauriston and Monique Moses

Torch Literary Arts is proud to present We Got Somthin’: Black Women Writing from Inspiration to Creation featuring Monique Moses & Charla Lauriston. Panelists will discuss the road from ideation to creation, and all of the bumps in between, as Black women writers and creators working across film, television, and web. The panel will be hosted in person at Vuka (5540 N Lamar Blvd., Austin, TX 78756) with doors opening at 6:30pm and the panel starting at 7pm. Learn more here.

April 2 Workshop: “Story First” | Writing Your First Screenplay with Bev Chukwu

In this 4-week workshop, Bev Chukwu will first bring students into the core of their script ideas. The first week is all about owning your idea and seeing what resonates with others on an emotional level, followed by the second week where writers learn about formatting, structure, and general screenwriting lingo. The third and fourth weeks of this workshop are dedicated to executing what you’ve learned into a tangible outline and the first act of your very own screenplay. The workshop is free and registration opens March 12. Learn more here

April 3 Wildfire Reading Series: Kelis Rowe

Torch Literary Arts joins Bookwoman for this special Wildfire Reading Series featuring Kelis Rowe, author of Finding Jupiter. A Q&A, reception, and book signing will follow the reading. The event is free and will be in person at Bookwoman (5501 N Lamar Blvd. #A-105, Austin, TX 78751) at 7pm. Learn more here.

May 1 Interactive Event: Praisesong for the Kitchen Ghosts by Crystal Wilkinson

Torch Literary Arts presents Praisesong for the Kitchen Ghosts: Stories and Recipes from Five Generations of Black Country Cooks by Crystal Wilkinson. Join us for a delicious evening of storytelling and a cooking demo from a recipe straight from the book. The event is free and will be in person at Wheatsville Food Co-Op (4001 S Lamar Blvd, Austin, TX 78704) at 7pm. Learn more here.

May 16 Wildfire Reading Series: Andrea "Vocab" Sanderson

Torch Literary Arts joins Black Pearl Books for this special Wildfire Reading Series featuring Andrea Vocab Sanderson, author of She Lives in Music. A Q&A and book signing will follow the reading. The event is free and will be in person at Black Pearl Books  (7112 Burnet Rd., Austin, TX 78757) at 7pm. Learn more here.

May 29 Workshop: Improv for Writers with Shannon Stott

Improv is about working together to create worlds. In this workshop, we will use Improv techniques to challenge self-imposed, unwritten rules that may be constricting creativity, discover ways to invoke play with the sacred, and how to SHARE the work of creation with the very characters and worlds we are writing. The workshop is free and registration opens May 8. Learn more here



About Torch Literary Arts

Torch Literary Arts is a 501(c)3 nonprofit established with love and intention in 2006 to publish and promote creative writing by Black women. We publish contemporary writing by experienced and emerging writers alike. Torch has featured work by Toi Derricotte, Tayari Jones, Sharon Bridgforth, Crystal Wilkinson, Patricia Smith, Natasha Trethewey, Elizabeth Alexander, and others. Programs include the Wildfire Reading Series, writing workshops, and retreats. For more information about Torch Literary Arts, please visit or follow @torchliteraryarts on Instagram.

Help Torch continue to publish and promote Black women writers by donating today.

About Remica Bingham-Risher

Remica Bingham-Risher, a native of Phoenix, Arizona, is a Cave Canem fellow and Affrilachian Poet. Her work has been published in The New York Times, The Writer’s Chronicle, Callaloo, and Essence. She is the author of Conversion (Lotus, 2006) winner of the Naomi Long Madgett Poetry Award, What We Ask of Flesh (Etruscan, 2013) shortlisted for the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award and Starlight & Error (Diode, 2017) winner of the Diode Editions Book Award and finalist for the Library of Virginia Book Award. Her next book of poems, Room Swept Home, is forthcoming from Wesleyan University Press in 2024. Her memoir, Soul Culture: Black Poets, Books and Questions That Grew Me Up, was published by Beacon Press. She is the Director of Quality Enhancement Plan Initiatives at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, VA, where she resides with her husband and children.

About Trapeta B. Mayson

A native of Liberia who grew up in Philadelphia, Trapeta B. Mayson was the 2020-2021 Philadelphia Poet Laureate and is the founder of the Healing Verse Poetry Line. She is a recipient of an Academy of American Poets Laureate fellow. Mayson is also a Pew and Cave Canem fellow and Leeway Transformation Awardee, among others. A widely published poet, educator, and teaching artist, Mayson facilitates workshops nationally in schools, institutions, and community venues.  A licensed clinical social worker working in the mental health field, Mayson is a member of several local organizations where she uses the arts to mobilize, build community, and help create change.

About Lisa D. Cain, Ph.D.

Lisa D. Cain, Ph.D., is a self-taught artist and a memory painter. Her predominant painting style, traditional folk art, acrylic paint on canvas, provides a pictorial history of life in the rural South and in Canton, Mississippi. Her upbringing in Canton, Mississippi forms the basic foundations of her life. The vividly colored traditional acrylic folk art paintings depict the joy of growing up in her hometown community. These paintings contain figures of individuals involved in everyday activities reminiscent of traditional folk artists including Bernice Sims, Clementine Hunter, and Grandma Moses.

About Camari Carter Hawkins

Camari Carter Hawkins is a poet and writer from South Central, Los Angeles. She is the author of Death by Comb (2016, World Stage Press) and the guided journal Write Back to You. Camari’s works have appeared in Rise: An Anthology of Power and Unity (Vagabond Press), The Best of The Poetry Salon 2013-2018, The Dillydoun Review, Obsidian, Poets Choice, GenreUrbanArts, and elsewhere. Camari founded Mama’s Kitchen Press ™  in 2021 while in her grandmother’s kitchen. Mama's Kitchen Press dropped into her heart while having a heartfelt conversation with her mother and grandmother. The mission of Mama’s Kitchen Press is to use storytelling to affirm our humanity. 

About Charla Lauriston

Charla Lauriston is a Haitian-American, Vancouver-based comedian, writer, and director. She’s currently a writer for Grand Crew on NBC and has previously written for The Last OG, Ghosted, People of Earth, and Hoops. Her 2021 episodic short, Witchsters, is the official selection of the 2022 Slamdance Film Festival, New Filmmakers Los Angeles, and the 2021 Austin Film Festival and American Black Film Festival. Charla is also the Creator and Lead Mentor of The Werking Writer School, a career-focused online course and community for aspiring screenwriters.

About Monique Moses

Monique Moses is a Canadian-born writer, director, and actor based in New York and Los Angeles. She was co-Head Writer and a co-Executive Producer for Season 4 of HBO's Emmy-nominated A Black Lady Sketch Show. Additional writing credits include Teenage Euthanasia (Adult Swim / HBO Max), Big Mouth spin-off Human Resources (Netflix), The Kid’s Tonight Show (Peacock), and consulting on projects with Jimmy Fallon (That’s My Jam, NBC Universal), Mike Myers (The Pentaverate, Netflix) and John Mulaney (Sack Lunch Bunch, Netflix). As a member of the black comedy team Astronomy Club, she co-created and starred in 'Astronomy Club The Sketch Show', which premiered on Netflix in 2019 to stellar reviews from Variety, Vulture, and Rotten Tomatoes.

About Bev Chukwu

Beverly “Bev” Chukwu is a Nigerian American writer, director, and script consultant. Her producing projects have screened at the Women in Horror Film Festival, Cine Las Americas, AGLIFF, and more. Bev’s screenplay, PRINCE OF LAVENDALE STREET, was the feature winner in the 2021 BlueCat Screenplay Competition, and her video essay “Sometimes Black” is now used as educational material at the University of Texas at Austin. She has spent over seven years working in various mental health arenas and nearly a year providing behavior therapy to neurodivergent youth and adults. Bev has received fellowships from the Black List x WIF Episodic Lab, Google’s YouTube Originals Black Voices Creator Program, and the James A. Michener Center for Writers, where she also received an MFA in screenwriting and fiction. Bev continues to advocate for filmmakers as EA to the Head of Film and Creative Media at the Austin Film Society and through her relationships teaching for the Writers League of Texas, Austin Bat Cave, and other local non-profits.

About Kelis Rowe

Kelis Rowe is a stay-at-home mom and former homeschooler who writes sweeping, classic teen romance novels from the points of view of grounded, self-possessed Black girls and the Black teen boys who just gotta love ‘em. Her debut novel, Finding Jupiter, is a contemporary literary romance about a James Taylor and Beyoncé fan and a champion swimmer bonding through shared grief and falling in love one fateful summer. It incorporates journal pages of art and found poetry from the pages of classic novels including The Great Gatsby and Their Eyes Were Watching God. Kelis writes out of her suburban home near Austin, TX.

About Crystal Wilkinson

Crystal Wilkinson, a recent fellowship recipient of the Academy of American Poets,  is the award-winning author of  Praisesong for the Kitchen Ghosts, a culinary memoir, Perfect Black, a collection of poemsand three works of fiction—The Birds of Opulence, Water Street and Blackberries, Blackberries. She is the recipient of an NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Poetry, an O. Henry Prize, a USA Artists Fellowship, and an Ernest J. Gaines Prize for Literary Excellence. She has received recognition from the Yaddo Foundation, Hedgebrook, The Vermont Studio Center for the Arts,  The Hermitage Foundation and others. Her short stories, poems and essays have appeared in numerous journals and anthologies including most recently in  The Atlantic, The Kenyon Review, STORY, Agni Literary Journal, Emergence, Oxford American and Southern Cultures. She was Poet Laureate of Kentucky from 2021 to 2023. She currently teaches creative writing at the University of Kentucky where she is a Bush-Holbrook Endowed Professor.

About Andrea “Vocab” Sanderson

Andrea “Vocab Sanderson is the fifth Poet Laureate Emeritus of San Antonio. Her performance style is a soulful fusion of spoken word, hip-hop, and rhythm & blues. She’s the author of She Tastes Like Music (FlowerSong Press 2020) and an Academy of American Poets Laureate Fellow. Vocab was voted Best Local Poet 2021 & 2023 by the SA Current and is the recipient of numerous awards including Dream Voice 2018, The Arts and Letters Award 2020, and Impact Award 2023. She enjoys facilitating creative writing workshops throughout the U.S. with her company, Tree of Life. She is an Artist-In-Residence specializing in artistic patient care with the non-profit organization Hearts Needs Art. 

About Shannon Stott

Shannon Stott is the Creator and Director of Improv | On and Off the Stage, an Improv Production Company, producing live and virtual projects that help people connect to themselves and others through Improv.  Shannon has been performing, directing, and teaching Improv for over 25 years in the U.S. and internationally. She uses Improv to highlight the importance of communication across cultures and with self. Shannon considers Improv a practice, encouraging people to engage with Improv as a way to discover more about themselves and others to bridge gaps in cultural understanding.

Media Contact Information:

Brittany Heckard

Communications Associate 

(512) 641-9251

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