Freeman’s Own: A Writer’s Talk Series hosts events Thursday and Friday

Freeman’s Own: A Writer’s Talk Series has two events in New Orleans this week. The first will be the New Orleans launch of the Best New Writing on Family anthology at 6 p.m. on September 29, at the Ashé Contemporary Arts Center (1712 Oretha Castle Haley Blvd).

The panel and book signing will feature editor John Freeman, Garnette Cadogan, Aminatta Forna, Honorée Fanonne Jeffers and Rebecca Snedeker. At the event, these collaborators will take a crack at family matters and elucidate how writing—and, in particular, this beautiful new collection—draws out variegated heart-breaking and heart-opening experiences of family, the elasticity of what family even is, and the humanity in us all. Rebecca Snedeker will moderate.

The second event is a talk about race and writing with Garnette Cadogan, Honore Jeffers and Gia Hamilton from 5 – 7 p.m. on Friday, September 30, at Three Keys at the Ace Hotel (600 Carondelet). The discussion will center around the following questions: What does it mean to write about race as a black writer? Or to write as a black writer without being confined to only writing about race?

Two writers, Garnette Cadogan and Honore Jeffers, from different parts of the world – the Caribbean and the United States – will speak about their experience writing as black writers – and as writers, period – and the challenges and joys of writing about race and having the freedom not to be confined to only writing about it because of their race. Gia Hamilton, founder of Afrofuture Society, will moderate.

John Freeman is the editor of Freeman’s, a literary biannual journal of new writing. He has written two books of nonfiction, The Tyranny of Email and How to Read a Novelist, along with a collection of poems, Maps, out next year from Copper Canyon. His work has appeared in The New Yorker, The Paris Review and The Guardian. In 2014, he edited Tales of Two Cities, an anthology about inequality in New York today. This fall he will publish Tales of Two Americas, a follow-up volume, which features new writing from 40 writers about inequality in the U.S. at large. Freeman’s work has been translated into more than 20 languages. The former editor of Granta, he lives in New York City, where he is Writer-in-Residence at NYU and Executive Editor of “The Literary Hub.” 

Aminatta Forna was born in Scotland, raised in Sierra Leone and Britain and spent periods of her childhood in Iran, Thailand and Zambia. She is the award-winning author of the novels The Hired Man, The Memory of Love and Ancestor Stones, and a memoir The Devil that Danced on the Water. She is currently Lannan Visiting Chair of Poetics at Georgetown University. She is currently at work on her fourth novel.

Garnette Cadogan is a Visiting Fellow at the Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture at the University of Virginia, and a Visiting Scholar at the Institute for Public Knowledge at New York University. He is the editor-at-large of Nonstop Metropolis: A New York City Atlas (edited by Rebecca Solnit and Joshua Jelly-Schapiro) and is at work on a book on walking.

Honorée Fanonne Jeffers is the author of four books of poetry, The Gospel of Barbecue, Outlandish Blues, Red Clay Suite, and The Glory Gets. Her current, in-progress book project, The Age of Phillis, imagines the life and times of the Revolutionary-era poet Phillis Wheatley, a former slave who was the first woman of African descent to publish a book. She has won fellowships from Bread Loaf Writers Conference, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Vermont Studio Center, and the Witter Bynner Foundation through the Library of Congress. As a result of her Wheatley research, she was elected into the American Antiquarian Society, a research organization to which fourteen American presidents have been elected. A fiction writer as well, Honorée is at work on her first novel, and she is the recipient of the Emerging Fiction Fellowship from the Aspen Summer Words Conference, the Tennessee Williams’ Scholarship in Fiction from the Sewanee Writers Conference and the Goodheart Prize for Fiction from Shenandoah: The Washington and Lee Review. A native southerner, she has lived on the prairie since 2002, where she is Professor of English at the University of Oklahoma.

Rebecca Snedeker is the Clark Executive Director of the New Orleans Center for the Gulf South at Tulane University. Previously, she worked as a documentary filmmaker and writer, cultivating a body of work inspired by a belief in human rights, passion for New Orleans as a place, and the value of storytelling and interdisciplinary understanding. Snedeker is an Emmy Award winner and recipient of grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities. 

Gia Hamilton, a native of New Orleans, received her Bachelor’s in cultural anthropology with a minor in visual art from New York University and her Master’s in applied anthropology from City University of New York. For 15 years in New York City, Hamilton worked with non-profit organizations as a Serial Entrepreneur, Program Development Consultant, Community Engagement Organizer and Curator. Gia spent 6 years working in the corporate sector as a researcher and organizational design consultant with Downey Associates International, supporting financial firms and non-profit organizations like Citigroup, Hearst-Argyle and TIAA-CREF in their restructuring process. In 2009, Hamilton founded Gris Gris Lab, as a place based incubator and cultural exchange space to ensure that emerging thought-leaders could actualize their interdisciplinary projects through an innovative live-work model in Central City, New Orleans. Later, Gris Gris Lab built a team of social scientists who began cultural consulting to further support and strengthen the local economies of non-profits and small businesses in New Orleans, Seattle, Haiti, Washington D.C., Detroit and New York City. Gia M. Hamilton joined the Joan Mitchell Center in 2011 as a consultant and was appointed Director in July 2013. In 2015, she founded the Afrofuture Society.