Your retreat registration includes the opportunity to meet with a book coach or to have your manuscript critiqued by assigned faculty members.

Dr. Venise Berry

Venise Berry is an associate professor of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Iowa in Iowa City. She received a BA (1977) in Journalism and an MA (1979) in Communication Studies from the University of Iowa. Her Ph.D. was awarded in 1989 in Radio. TV and Film at the University of Texas in Austin. She is the author of three national bestselling novels; So Good, An African American Love Story (1996), All of Me, A Voluptuous Tale (2000) and Colored Sugar Water (2002). Her fourth novel, Pockets of Sanity is expected in 2008. In 2003, she received the “Creative Contribution to Literature” award from the Zora Neale Hurston Society. All of Me received a 2001 Honor Book Award from the Black Caucus of the American Library Association and also in 2001 she was recognized with an Iowa Author Award from the Public Library Foundation in Des Moines. Each summer, Berry teaches a one-week workshop on novel writing, at the University of Iowa Summer Writers Workshop. Website

Anita Diggs
Manuscript critique and full range of editing services: developmental editing, line editing and copy editing. Ghostwriting and coaching are also available.

Anita Diggs teaches fiction and memoir writing at Gotham Writers Workshop. She has worked on staff as a Senior Editor for Random House, Time Warner Trade Publishing and Thunder’s Mouth Press. She is the author of three novels: A Mighty Love, A Meeting in the Ladies Room and The Other Side of the Game. Ms. Diggs has lectured across the country on the topics of creative writing, book development and how to get a literary agent. The New York Times, Chicago Tribune, C-Span and the New York Daily News have all interviewed her. Columbia Journalism Review placed Ms. Diggs on their “The Shapers” list for the year 2000. The Shapers is a list of prominent New Yorkers who shape the national media agenda. Ms. Diggs holds an MFA from Hunter College. E-mail

Dr. Jacqualyn Green
Dr. Green has authored two books with accompanying workbooks. She is also featured author in “Healing Black Women for Violence,” which was a product of the International Black Women’s Congress (2012). She was also a contributing author in the”Rites of Passage” Black Child Journal. Website

TaShia Asanti Literary Consulting
Award-winning author of 5 books, publishing professional, book reviewer and founder of Read Us Book Awards, TaShia Asanti offers a professional review and critique of your manuscript. Website

Steph Casher
Stephanie Casher s a freelance editor and author of multicultural women’s fiction. She has a BA in Sociology with a Minor in Education from UC Santa Cruz. She is in the process of completing the Professional Sequence in Editing through UC Berkeley Extension. Website


Retreat attendees should submit one story or chapter (up to 20 pages) to info@blackwritersevents.com by no later than June 30. Manuscripts may be accompanied by a one-page summary of your expectation or desire for the direction you’d like to see the work take and any particular areas where you think the manuscript may need work. If you have a synopsis or outline available, please include that; however, it is not required.

We encourage all participants receiving critiques to be open to constructive feedback and receptive to suggestions. You may find the manuscript feedback to be some of the most thoughtful, considerate and helpful that you have ever received.


Can’t attend BWR but want to have your work reviewed?

For those who are not participating in the retreat but would like to take advantage of a professional critique or coaching service from one of the individuals above, contact them directly via the links above.

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