Hello Black Authors Network Family! I hope you are enjoying our slideshow above. One of the photos in the slideshow is where we were reading a book by Kimberla Laswon Roby and we all wore our First Lady Hats. The other photos are from our book discussion at Miss Annabelles Tea Parlor and they have hats, boas, shawls, etc for guests to wear, so we all dressed up. One photo is a book club meeting where we had the author of the book at our discussion Gladys Hankins (AKA GiGi Gossett) who wrote By Any Other Name – GiGi Gossett.
Intimate Conversation with Ella Curry, EDC Creations and the NIA Literary Group
EDC: Please tell us a little about you and where your bookclub is presently stationed. How many members are in your group?
GAA: My name us Gail Adams~Arnold and I am the founder of the NIA Literary Group here in Cincinnati, Ohio. There are 10 of us and we meet monthly to discuss and enjoy. I was born and raised in Cincinnati, Ohio. I married after college and had two daughters, and now 3 wonderful grandchildren. I spent 35 years in the field of education and retired in 2005 as a school principal. I am presently single and I have a home based business with an online Travel Company and I love every minute of it!
EDC: Tell us a few books that you would define as “Literary Hallmarks.”
GAA: A few Literary Hallmarks that we have discussed and enjoyed are: The Fall of Rome by Martha Southgate, Fifth Born by Zelda Lockhart, Sula by Toni Morrison.
EDC: What do you define as Quality Literature.
GAA: I define Quality Literature as that which there is a plot tht is well developed, characters that are introduced and also well developed. A story that engages the reader and the ending leaves the reader wanting more, i.e, the sequel or another selection by the same author.
EDC: How did your group develop? What is the primary mission of the group?
GAA: In April of 2000, I organized our group by inviting a few close friends and family to my home on a Sunday afternoon. There are 10 members in our group. The primary mission, which is also evident by our groups name, NIA, is to make our collective vocation one of building our families and ultimately our community in order to restore our people to their traditional greatness.
EDC: Do you have outreach programs or events that we can support?
GAA: Yes, we do have an outreach program. Two years ago I visited Africa, Kenya to be exact. While there I meet members and families of the Massai Warrior Tribe. The tribe was in need of school supplies for their children ages 3-5. After my return to the United States, I brouhgt this need to the attention of my Book Club and on a yearly basis, in November, we send a care package of pencils, rullers, pencil sharpeners, crayons, chalk, small chalk boards, coloring books, activity books, math and reading booklets, in an effort to help in the development of their community. Any assitance we can get for this endeavor would be greatly appreciated!
EDC: What does a typical meeting consist of for the members?
GAA: A typical meeting consist of us meeting on the 2nd Sunday of each month at a members house between the hours of 5pm -7:00pm We determine which member will host by going alphabetically by last name. The host either prepares a meal, and some of the meals are serious Sunday dinners! or decides on a restaurant, like Panera Bread. If a restaurant is decided upon, the host takes care of the tab for the group when possible. We eat our meal the first hour and then the discussion of the book selection takes place the last 2 hours of the evening. Because many of us have a background as an educator, some members choose creative ways to discuss the book.
For example, dicussions are made into Bingo games, some are board games for teams of us and the end result is a small gift for the member of the winning team. If we’ve read a book and the play for the book is out, members attend the play and at a later date we discuss the book vs the play. We spend a great deal of time in our discussion talking about each character and their interaction with the other characters, the plot and it’s development and then the ending of the book and whether we would select the author again or refer the author to other book clubs. We are considering on one Sunday combining our club with another bookclub for an even deeper discussion.
EDC: Do you have an open membership? How can one join your network?
GAA: Our membership is only open if a member leaves the group. We’ve found that 10 in a group is comfortable for us and for reservations elsewhere so we limit the group at this time to 10, but it’s always open for change. To bring in a new member, generally I have an open book club meeting when it’s my turn and each member is given a written invitation to give to 1 friend of family member of their choice. The guest come to my bookclub, prepared to discuss the book with us. At our next book club meeting, we set aside time to evaluate each guests and their level of enthusiam, participation and commraderie with the existing members, then we take a vote and the chosen person is invited to join our group as a regular.
EDC: What advice would you give a new organization forming a network?
GAA: My advice would be to develop policies and procedures for the group and then to revisit them periodically so all members are aware of the groups expections. In life many things happen as we all know, but some things can get out of control and need to be addressed such as repeated absences, bringing people that the group was unaware of, not RSVPing well enough in advance if they are unable to attend. Just some things to think about.
Thank you Gail for joining EDC Creations and the Black Authors Network in supporting quality literature and the authors that create it for us!
Ella Curry, president of EDC Creations