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The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Book lovers unite for African American Read-In

TR student Jennifer Nunley reads an excerpt from the former first lady Michelle Obama’s 2018 memoir, “Becoming” at the National African American Read-In Feb. 27. Brook Baldwin/The Collegian

By Malik Giles/campus editor

As Black History Month came to an end, students, staff and faculty members from TR Campus participated in the National African American Read-In on Feb. 27. 

Guest speaker and former TCC professor Cheri Edwards spoke at the read-in about her writing career and the trials and tribulations she had to overcome.

“I was not a person who ever dreamed of writing a book, so I don’t have that romantic kind of story to tell you,” Edwards said. “But what I can tell you is that as I grew up, I was a person who was always good with English and I wrote poems.”

Edwards always thought of herself as an artist, so did her family. She went to school to study interior design but turned her intention towards writing. 

“The way that it had happened was not romantic,” she said. “I was a single parent, and I needed to make due.” 

She decided to write a nonfiction book.

After sending her book to several publishers, Edwards was suggested to send her book to Christian literary agent Denise Stinson who convinced her to write a fiction novel.

In six weeks, she wrote a whole book, sent it to Stinson and was rejected. 

Edwards wasn’t mad about getting rejected for the first time because the experience showed her she can write over 300 pages.

She then was diagnosed with lung cancer, which made her more determined to get her book published. Edwards said that her book carried her through her health crisis, and she was then in remission.  

“I was working in the school every day doing an after school program and then come home every night and write 7-10 pages,” she said.

She sent her book to Stinson a second time, but sadly Stinson rejected the book again. Edward then tried to improve her book again, this time sending it to different colleagues. 

She was directed to send her book to the Writer’s Edge who helped edit her work and sent her book out to Christian publishing companies.

“It wasn’t even a good month later I got a call from Denise Stinson,” Edwards said. She said that Stinson asked her to send the rest of her book and made an offer to Edwards. 

“This was not the title that I had for, it’s called “Plenty Good Room,” Edwards said. It’s about a young woman who takes in an adolescence into foster care. Edwards wrote this book because she worked with foster parents and even became one.

 There was a broad selection of literature from many historical and famous African American figures that the audience could read from. 

TR student, Michael Sullivan chose “Born a Crime’’ by the Daily Show’s host Trevor Noah. Sullivan said he is a fan of Noah’s interviews and how he’s so upfront about his upbringing.

“Americanah,” written by Nigerian author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, was the novel that TR student Perla Rodriguez chose to read to the audience. 

Rodriguez said the author talks about what she calls “the danger of a single story,” which is what one’s opinion of certain people can give others a view on what the people are like.

TR English instructor Michelle Menchaca selected “The Autobiography of Malcolm X.” Menchaca first read the book in her 20s, and she found the content powerful to read about how Malcolm X was under such oppression and had a lot of anger. 

Edwards encourages young writers who are writing a novel to keep publishing their work. She also believes people’s best work is in a Twitter post. 

“Writing is powerful. It is a way to access your feelings, it is a way to communicate it is a way to leave a legacy behind,” Edwards said.

TR students Michael Sullivan and Abigail Tuttle discuss books by black authors Trevor Noah and Ralph Ellison at the National African American Read-In on TR Campus.
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