[Diverse or Nah] Recapping the Juneteenth Book Fest

[Diverse or Nah] Recapping the Juneteenth Book Fest

Sponsored by Imprint – Juneteenth Book Fest: Black Speculative Fiction Authors in Conversation

Authors L.L. McKinney and Kayla Ancrum, moderated by Weslie Turner, discuss books, Blackness, BLACK books, and everything in between and beyond! We 🔥!

This is the first video on the Juneteenth Book Fest playlist, and I highly recommend starting here. This was the perfect introduction to the entire fest – although quite frankly I’m not sure if this did serve as the intro but it worked out that way for me. Since some of the panels were showing at the same time, you could pick and choose which one you wanted to go to – just like if it were an in-person book fest – there wasn’t an exact order of how you should watch the panels. For this recap though, I’ll be going in the order of the playlist on YouTube.

The first thing I have to say is that, if you’ve never heard Elle’s biography before, you need to watch this video. Hearing everything that she has been doing, is doing, has already done, and just everything that she does throughout the community is such an inspiration to see, and she’s not done yet! She even mentioned after Weslie read her bio that it was almost surreal hearing everything she does out loud like that, which I totally understand because sometimes you don’t realize just how much you do until you hear it come out of someone else’s mouth. So, wow. Elle is amazing, and that’s the first thing I needed to say.

Another thing this panel reminded me of is that I seriously need to read Kayla’s novels! How have I not read her books yet? That is just a huge faux pas for me, but I plan on correcting that very soon. I’ve heard nothing but great things about both of her novels – The Wicker King and The Weight of The Stars – with more books coming out so I’m super excited for that. This was also Kayla’s first live panel, so congratulations!

I have to say that having the icebreaker questions in the beginning really just made me feel like I was getting to know Elle and Kayla on a more personal level. It almost made me feel like I was listening to a conversation that my cousins would be having and me as the baby cousin just watching and wishing I could be as cool as them. Is that weird? I hope not. But I just really liked that part.

Hearing Elle’s origin story during her school years, and having an English teacher telling her that writing is a distraction for her was just baffling for me. But this also reminds me of those teachers that just really don’t realize that their words can impact their students, both positive and negative. I love that Elle’s parents were very supportive of her and her writing, even though she didn’t end up writing again until college.

Kayla’s point as well about not being able to share her work with certain people even if you think that they would be able to support you is so true. It’s so hard to realize that even though there are people that you are close to in your life for other things, they may not be the right people to give you advice or positive critique for your novel. It’s just something that you have to judge for yourself, and will be a learning curve.

I think that this was the great video to start off my journey of the Juneteenth Book Fest, and it was just such an awesome panel to see! I think I like seeing smaller panels like this because everyone is able to spend more time sharing their thoughts without running out of time, or feeling like they can’t speak because there’s too many people in the group.

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