When I received an invitation to this brunch from Jamaican American Rice & Rocks Author, Sandra L. Richards, I knew it was going to be special. She is the winner of numerous book awards and the Managing Director, Head of Segment Sales & Engagement Group at Morgan Stanley.
The program is expanding and
Photo credit: Sandra L. Richards
Since I could invite a couple of friends, I thought of the people who would most enjoy the experience. I asked photographer and writer
The weather was gorgeous and the annual Christmas parade was the same day, so the town was bustling with stroller pushing moms and dad's whose shoulders had become a seat for itty bitty kid bottoms. After a couple of detours we arrived to a beautiful welcome. The resort and staff are amazing.
The breakfast was so good.
We found seats up front and started chatting with our new friends at our table. One asked, "so how can we best support women writers of color... what can we DO?" We were home. Rae and Dara had answers ready for her.
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Photo credit: Sterling Todd
Ms. Richards welcomed all of us to the event and introduced Dawn Davis, Vice President and Publisher of 37 INK (
Photo credit: Sterling Todd
She then introduced Sheila C. Johnson who shared her passion for books and the arts and why she felt that the event was so important. After her remarks we started brunch... it was so good.
I can't wait to go back to Salamander to try the restaurant on my own.
Poet, author, and playwright Ntozake Shange (award winning author of the choreopoem
We ate, and then New York Times Best Selling Author and National Book Award Finalist for Young People's Literature, Jason Reynolds, who wrote
Mr. Reynolds urged the audience not to "dehumanize" young people by renaming them "thugs." He also spoke about the value of writing for young people.
Next, Erica Armstrong Dunbar introduced us to her book
"She was surrounded by black freedom, while she herself was still enslaved." I was moved. I have to think that many black women and men must feel that way today, more than 200 years later, when they see black people excelling all around them, all while feeling enslaved by the codes and rules of their neighborhoods.
Finally, we heard from the incomparable Ntozake Shange. She asked us if we wanted to hear about love, and we all said yes. She proceeded to read one of the flyest, sexiest, coolest poems I've heard.
She also shared a moving piece about the tragedy at Pulse nightclub called "ode to orlando," from her book,
I met and chatted with so many wonderful people, I was kinda happy that the parade traffic was making it smarter to stay for a while and check out Salamander rather than to head back to the city right away.
Kids and their parents got comfortable in seats and on the floor to watch the singers perform fun Christmas tunes, and to listen to
One of my new friends from the table asked how she can help new writers. Rae told her to buy their work - buy two - one for a friend. Talk about them and call them by name. Share what they do. Here is a list of books by the authors who spoke with us at the Literary Brunch. There are affiliate links that when clicked will take you to
About Salamander Resort and Spa -
Salamander Resort & Spa is found in the charming and historic small town of Middleburg, Virginia. The charismatic resort features 168 guestrooms and suites all with scenic views of the countryside. Truly dedicated to health and wellness, the resort boasts a 23,000-square-foot spa with 14 treatment rooms and a private outdoor courtyard with a heated pool. In addition, Salamander has built one of the finest equestrian facilities and programs in the country with a 25 on-site acres dedicated to riding and a 14,000-square-foot stable. The culinary program also does not disappoint with the rustic Harrimans Virginia Piedmont Grill, a multi-experience cooking studio, well-appointed wine bar and jovial billiards room. Also offering zip lining, tennis, nature hikes, archery and an abundant amount of other outdoor activities, the adventures are endless.
About 37 INK -
An imprint of Simon & Schuster dedicated to bringing good books to hungry readers.
Disclaimer: I was invited to the brunch as a guest, and decided to write about my experience on my own. As usual all opinions are my own and I was not compensated in any way for writing this post.