CALLING ALL LIBERIAN WRITERS: Poets, Short Story Writers, Writers of Short Memoir Articles and Autobiography, Emerging & Established, to Submit Their Work.

Call for Submissions: “Breaking the Silence: Anthology of Liberian Literature”

Submission Dates: March 1, 2020 to October 31, 2020

Where to Send Submission: Email by word attachment to liberianlit@gmail.com

The Publication of Liberian Literature

With the support of the Pennsylvania State University, Dr. Patricia Jabbeh Wesley, Author of several books, Poet, & Professor of English, Creative Writing, and Literature of Penn State University is seeking manuscripts from Liberian writers and all writers of Liberian origin or descent, established and emerging writers to submit their manuscripts of poetry, fiction, memoir articles, true stories, prose poems, and spoken word poetry about all subjects, including the Liberian civil war, post war Liberia, Diaspora experience, family issues, everything for consideration. Accepted manuscripts will be published in the new and first comprehensive anthology of Liberian literature in this modern era, entitled: “Breaking the Silence: Anthology of Liberian Literature.” All manuscripts will be considered for publication. Please follow the guidelines below to submit your work. Possible pub. date: Between 2021 & 2022.

Submission Guidelines:

  1. Only Liberians and writers of Liberian connection or descent should submit their work.
  2. All poetry, stories, and memoir or autobiography pieces must be type-written on word doc., word dox, (no pdf or other format)
  3. All work must be edited and polished to be considered. No amateur pieces will be accepted. (Get together with fellow writers to polish your work).
  4. Submit work that is yours only, and the anthology will have only first publication or one-time publication right (no compensation) with a signed contract from the publisher of the anthology.
  5. All work must be submitted by ATTACHMENT in word format to the following email: liberianlit@gmail.com
  6. Open submission date: March 1, 2020 to Oct 31, 2020 for all writers- new dated
  7. Contact the anthology email or Dr. Wesley if you know of other Liberian writers, dead or alive, who may benefit from this opportunity to compile our work in one volume
  8.  We are looking for work by Liberian writers from the founding of the Republic in the 1800s to the present. Forward us any tips, poems, stories for consideration
  9. Length & Number of Stories & memoir articles- 10 – 12 double spaced, 12-point font or 10-12 pages long. Send up to 2 stories (unless requested by editor for more).
  10. Poetry:  Send 3, 4, up to 6 poems (only the best will be accepted). Format: one poem on each page, single space your lines, edit and polish before submission.

For any questions, please contact liberianlit@gmail.com

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PATRICIA JABBEH WESLEY Reading Her Poetry for the 30th Anniversary of the International Poetry Festival of Medellin on August 5, 2020

Patricia Jabbeh Wesley’s Reading

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The 30th Anniversary of the International Poetry Festival of Medellin (youtube live): Join me as I read my poetry at 12 o’clock Eastern time, tomorrow, August 5, 2020:

I’m excited about my poetry reading to celebrate the 30th Anniversary of the International Poetry Festival of Medellin tomorrow. I will be reading via zoom as the event is broadcast live through the youtube video link below as we read. I”m honored to be reading with another African writer, Koulsy Lamco from Chad, North Central Africa. I will also have the pleasure of a Spanish reader who will read my poetry in the Spanish translation for Spanish people all over the world and particularly, in Colombia, the home country of the Festival. Join me at 12 noon Eastern Time for the broadcast. My newly assigned reader is Valentina, a lady I work better with. We have already traded voice conversations as she needed me to pronounce the difficult words from the Grebo Language of Liberia, like: Gbaliahde, Tugbakeh, Kaluway, and Kwadi Chee, all in Grebo. Imagine translating English to Spanish, and then you are faced with a very strange language, so, I had a good laugh before I recorded the words in Grebo pronunciation for her. She is such a sweet person, I’m excited to hear her read each of my poems in Spanish. I also told her she didn’t have to do the popowlee chant, hahahah🤣🤣🤣, but imagine the Grebo Popowlee chant in Spanish, hahaha.

In its 30th year, one of the world’s most dynamic poetry festivals was forced to go virtual this year due to COVID-19, drawing together nearly two hundred poets from more than a hundred countries around the world, every area of the globe, represented in this very professional and well-organized festival or world poets for an entire month. The festival, founded 30 years ago by Fernando Rendon and his team of writers and supporters of poetry, peace and freedom, have dedicatedly served the world of poetry for three decades. My first invitation to the festival was in 2007, and my life has never been the same. I can say that the festival has inspired much of what I have done with poetry over the years since that first year. I was invited the second time in 2010, and again, I saw the power of words, of poetry, or writers, and was honored to meet poets from every part of the globe, to watch the power of words come alive and read to thousands of enthusiastic audiences for nearly two weeks each time. Well, tomorrow, at about noon, tune in to the link below and join us as another poet from another end of Africa reads with me and as our Spanish translators read each of our poems in Spanish. My third time being honored to join voices with poets around the world, I am very honored and humbled to celebrate poetry and life in this very difficult time in our world. This is a moment in the world that will be remembered in history, and you must join me and my fellow poet read for you, wherever you are on the globe.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ixfWnrorCB8&fbclid=IwAR0VLLJzkHegt72nm-Rt9csOSYyVaFQk_dRPZLWft6Ybilb97BNOcmd4UX0

Here is a poem I wrote from my first influenced at the 2007 Festival.

Medellin, 2007
A Poem for Fernando’s Colombia

Medellin, Oh, Medellin…
to God, how I wish I could take out my heart for you,
but how will I sing this song to you without a heart?
You, with so much heart for love and poetry,
for hope in the eyes of the little girl
who, with a scrap of white paper, wants me to say a word
to her, to autograph my name for her, in her name.
She tells me with that unusual smile how
she loves my poems, but she is only eight years old.
She and Carlos, the five-year-old brother, who have
pushed through the thousands to get to me.

Medellin, Oh, Medellin…
where we go down from the mountain
into the bowl of a city, into the deep heart of a city,
so warm, a city where people still smile
and clap to a poem and cry for the war, a city
where concrete houses hold up the hills with muscles
of steel, muscles of pain, and somewhere along the roads
as the bus descends from the airport, the poor have
erected their own lives so sadly, waiting,
and yet, they overlook the city with hope.
From the edge of sharp cliffs and the side roads,
the burning lights and flames of the city, hard
and indistinguishable from anger.
But theirs is of the pain from the years gone.

Medellin, Oh, Medellin…
Waiting can be so hard, Medellin.
But I love you from my heart. I love your laughter,
your warm hugs and kisses, your Spanish, so simply
plain and warm. I love even your tears that you
have shared with me when a poem I’m reading
touches you in that place where only a poem can go.
At the International Poetry Festival, you sit there,
along your hill arena, clapping, thousands of people,
sitting and thinking and listening and hoping,
Medellin, I have never seen anything like this before.
Thousands of people sitting for long hours
at a poetry reading, Medellin…
we wait for that day, Medellin, we wait.
Trust me, I know how to wait, and I know you do too.

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HAPPY BIRTHDAY, President Barack Obama! We miss you!

It was Bob Marley, the great and mighty singer who inspired the entire world during his time here on earth with his music and vision of the world, who once said, “The greatness of a man is not in how much wealth he acquires, but in his integrity and his ability to affect those around him positively.” And with these words, we remember you today, inspired by your vision of the world, inspired by your audacity, your family life, and by your love for all those you led that we say Happy Birthday, young man. You are still young. You remind me that to be an immigrant is not a curse, that our children we give to America by our presence here can rise to change the world for us, and that, yes, we can be proud of our heritage, whether that heritage is biracial or whether it is part African and part American. May God grant you a hundred more years. God, bless America. God, bless Africa.

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Young Scholars of Liberia 2020 Six Week Virtual Summer Writing Workshops with Dr. Patricia Jabbeh Wesley: What a Success, Discovering New, Talent, & Honing of Old Talent

Here are The Young Scholars of Liberia 2020 Writing Workshop Participants

Thirty-three young Liberian writers and aspiring writers, mostly college students and recent graduates participated in our annual Young Scholars of Liberia Writing Workshop, facilitated by me, with the support of Friends of Young Scholars of Liberia who helped raise funds on GoFundme this year. The funds were used to purchase data coverage for these young Liberians to take lessons from me via Zoom. I purchased a Zoom subscription, and the Liberia team managed data purchase and distribution. Amazingly, we held workshops every Tuesday and Thursday, from June 2 to July 9, 2020. In previous years, I flew to Liberia for five weeks of teaching and tutoring in Monrovia, with participants joining us from across the capital city of Monrovia, Liberia, and surrounding counties. I would then fly to Maryland County to conduct more creative writing workshops for young people, hosted at the William V. S. Tubman University. After four years of consistent mentoring and workshops, we now have young Liberians publishing their own works and books.

Here are some of the photos from last year’s activities of Young Scholars of Liberia workshops : COVID19 has hit our organization hard. Many of the young Liberians we mentor across the country are now out of school, are unable to afford the high cost of internet charges, and have nothing to do. This year, I was forced to think of a way to help teach our young scholars, help them improve their talent and their writing skills, teach them as if I were on the ground, and thank goodness for Zoom. That effort was possible. Looking back on last year, we pray for better times next year so face to face workshops will resume.

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