Arts & Culture

Houston’s Poet Laureate Launches City’s First Summit For Writers Of Color

Called “The Colony,” the summit will be held quarterly, with the first meeting scheduled for Saturday, July 14.

The idea started about three months ago, when Poet Laureate Deborah D.E.E.P. Mouton was talking to a New York writer who had just moved to Houston.

“And he asked me, ‘Where do all the writers like us hang out?’ And it was just silence, you know. I had nothing to say … we might have lunch or tea or write together, but a collaborative group? That didn’t really exist.”

Mouton said that smaller-scale events have catered to writers of color over the years, but there was no consistent, on-going program to bridge Houston’s culturally diverse literary communities.

So she decided to create a quarterly summit where the city’s writers of color can network, sharpen their skills, discuss their specific needs, and share and create opportunities.

Mouton said that writers of color can face unique challenges. “I can speak for myself as a black woman that having a ‘black narrative’ at times is not something that publishers always want to publish. They’re not always willing to take the risk of the political move that it is to publish a narrative that tackles stereotypes, or confirms stereotypes, and having to have those conversations that are associated with it.”

She hopes this summit will help create a home for writers whose work may address such issues, celebrate cultural colloquialisms and dialects, and encourage collaborations between local writers and arts groups.

“You know, we kind of build what Houston sounds like in multiple voices, and I would love to see how we can go about incorporating those voices as a broader city.”

The summit’s first meeting is Saturday, July 14, 2018 at Houston Public Library.  Writers can register for free here.

The Colony is a partnership of VIP Arts Houston, Houston Public Library, Tintero Projects, My Brother’s Keeper, Houston Department of Health, and the Mayor’s Office of Education.

Hear the complete interview with Deborah D.E.E.P. Mouton below: