Join us for a fabulous afternoon of poems, featuring readings by six esteemed members of the African-American Writers’ Alliance (AAWA).
In January 1991, Californian Randee Eddins called to order the first meeting of the African-American Writers’ Alliance (AAWA). Her idea to begin an informal gathering of Northwest black writers meeting for mutual support and encouragement through the exchange of ideas and concepts became a reality. The warmth and informality provide a forum for both new and published writers, a setting where they can explore both finished works and works in progress among their peers and minus censure. The ready-made audience supports writers by listening and sharing. Equally important, writers have the opportunity to read and recite their works in a variety of venues in the Puget Sound area. Attending and presenting workshops help writers polish their skills. A large number of writers have published their works independently, some in more than one collection. Writers have shared their works in a variety of bookstores, libraries, prisons, churches, taverns, festivals, fairs, schools, museums, colleges, and universities. Our oldest reading venue is Elliott Bay Book Company: we have read there since 19192. AAWA members are often on television and radio. As AAWA celebrates its twenty-sixth year, more than two hundred persons have participated on a variety of levels. The group has published four anthologies: Sometimes I Wander… in 1998, Gifted Voices in 2000, and Words? Words! Words in 2004, and Threads in 2009.
Minnie A. Collins, author of the Purple Wash (2013) has been published in Crosscurrents (Washington Humanities Association), Quiet Shorts, Washington Center Newsletter, Washington English Journal, Innovation Abstracts at the University of Texas at Austin, African American Writers’ Alliance anthology, Threads, and Blackpast.org. Among her venues are Writers Read, a monthly program at Columbia Library, Elliott Bay Bookstore, Poetry+Motion at Town Hall, the Hansberry Project, James and Janie Washington Foundation House, Northwest African American Museum, Columbia City Gallery, Arts/4Culture Douglas Truth and Green Lake libraries, Green River and Seattle Central Colleges, and Onyx Fine Arts Collective exhibits. Included among her awards are Seattle University’s African American Alumni Achievement, Burlington Northern for Teaching Excellence at Seattle College, Dan Evans Innovation Award, National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development (NISOD) Teaching Excellence from the University of Texas at Austin, Who’s Who Among American Teachers, and Administrator of the Year at Seattle University. In addition to her community service and volunteer activities at Mount Zion, she has traveled to six continents.
Nakeya Isabell, born and raised in Seattle, is one of nine children. A proud graduate of Cleveland High, she received a basketball scholarship to Pepperdine University where she received her BA in Advertising. Currently, Nakeya is a mentor with the Seattle non-profit Friends of the Children. Nakeya is passionate about making a difference, impact, youth, family, faith, and community. Her goal is to die empty with no regrets. Writing since she was a small child, Nakeya enjoys articulating her thought, confident the pen and paper never judge her.
Georgia Stewart McDade, a Louisiana native who has lived in Seattle more than half her life, loves reading and writing. As a charter member of the African-American Writers’ Alliance (AAWA), McDade began reading her stories in public in 1991. She credits AAWA with making her regularly write poetry. She has written poems inspired by art at such sites asGallery 110, Seattle Art Museum, Onyx Arts, and Columbia City Gallery. She has also written articles for Paciﬁc Newspapers, especially the South District Journal. A prolific writer, she has works in AAWA anthologies I Wonder as I Wander, Gifted Voices, Words? Words! Words, and Threads. Her works include Travel Tips for Dream Trips, questions and answers about her six-month, solo trip around the world; four collections of poetry called Outside the Cave; and a collection of stories and essays entitled Observations and Revelations.
Gaylloyd Sissón writes daily in temperate Western Washington where he lives with his wife Kathleen. In addition to being active in AAWA, he participates in Renton Writers, Puyallup Writers groups, and Pacific Northwest Writers Association. He retired from a thirty-four-year career in education, teaching kindergarten through community college. Since his teens, Gaylloyd has penned memoirs and poems in private journals. His writing has appeared in the Plant Amnesty newsletter, University of Washington’s Voice, and Sacramento’s Poet. An avid hiker, yoga participant, and fair-weather cyclist, he survives Puget Sound’s rainy season by reading good books, playing piano and flute, and drinking plenty of black coffee while eating dark chocolate. A passionate gardener, he has been featured in Vegetable Gardens and Urban Farms magazines. He devotes much of his time to freelance writing, photography, and travel, both foreign and domestic.
“Half the time I think I’m crazy, and the other half I know I’m crazy,” says AAWA member Santiago Vega of himself. This craziness is akin to the craziness of Gandhi, Malcolm, and King; the kind of craziness that compels one to say what he believes is true though he may be forced to stand alone. After listening to some of his ideas, many folks realize his craziness is the kind that can change the world for the better, the kind of craziness the world needs. Multilingual and multi-talented, Santiago writes, recites, dances, and teaches. This musician shares his talent with many cultures. Knowing everything is political, Santiago usually always writes about political issues of the day. This poet/philosopher ought to be heard.