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Centering The Margins Conference Looks To Writers of Color

Three-day event kicks off tonight at San Diego Central Library

Photo credit: Huda Al-Marashi

Huda Al-Marashi, author of First Comes Marriage," will be one of the panelists at Centering the Margins on Saturday.

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Centering the Margins: Conversations with Writers of Color

Friday, March 1 at San Diego Central Library, 7:00 – 9:00 pm

Saturday, March 2 at UCSD Cross Cultural Center, 9:30 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.

Sunday, March 3 at San Diego Central Library, 9:00 am – 4:00 pm

Centering the Margins: Conversations with Writers of Color is a three-day conference starting Friday that responds to the need for minority writers to construct spaces for creating, critiquing, and publishing their work.

The genesis for the conference grew out of the first San Diego Book Festival two years ago when author Marivi Soliven looked at who would be appearing at the event.

"I was kind of startled to realize that no writers of color were actually invited to speak at the panel," Soliven said. "No one thought to invite us so I thought if we can't be invited to this larger thing we're just going to have to throw our own events."

This led her to organize "San Diego Beyond the Pale," an evening of storytelling by writers of color held at the San Diego Central Library in 2017. That, in turn, started the momentum that led librarian Marc Chery to invite Soliven to moderate a panel with immigrant writers. Because interest was growing it eventually led to the creation of "Centering the Margins," which prioritizes the work of marginalized writers.

The conference is co-hosted by the San Diego Public Library and SPACES at UC San Diego. "Centering the Margins" will hold panels on topics such as writing in diasporic communities, navigating predominantly white master of fine arts programs, and finding literary agents and publishers willing to work with authors. This event is free and open to the public.

The conference kicks off Friday at the Neil Morgan Auditorium at the Central Library with an open-mic night. Filipina jazz singer Charmaine Clamor will perform and then invite authors to come to the mic to read from their work.

Soliven will moderate a panel titled, "Fresh Off the Boat Versus Homegrown" on Saturday at UC San Diego's Cross Cultural Center from 11:30 am – 1:00 pm. Her panelists are California writers Huda Al-Marashi, Naomi Hirahara, Kat Tanaka Okopnik, and Irene Suico Soriano.

Photo credit: Marivi Soliven

Marivi Soliven, author of "The Mango Bride," decided to organize the conference Centering the Margins: Conversations with Writers of Color in response to a book festival that had not invited any writers of color on its panels.

Al-Marashi is the author of the memoir "First Comes Marriage: My Not-So-Typical American Love Story."

You can listen to these San Diego authors read selections from their books in the extended Midday Edition podcast.

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