Literary Lights' Reading Honoring Frederick Douglass
Shannon Gibney is a writer, educator, activist, and author of See No Color (Carolrhoda Lab 2015) and Dream Country (Dutton 2018), young adult novels that both won Minnesota Book Awards. Gibney teaches writing at Minneapolis College and is a Bush Artist and McKnight Writing Fellow. In October 2019, the University of Minnesota Press released What God is Honored Here?: Writings on Miscarriage and Infant Loss By and For Native Women and Women of Color, which she co-edited with writer Kao Kalia Yang. Gibney's new novel, Botched explores themes of transracial adoption through speculative memoir (Dutton 2021).
Chasity Gunn serves as the inaugural Poet Laureate for the city of Elgin. She is the author of How to Create a World, and her work has been published in Bitterzoet Magazine, BRAVO, and Electric Moon. She has received a Cultural Arts Commission from the city of Elgin and a Teach for Justice grant from Teachers Pay Teachers. Her spoken word has been featured in the Bedlam Theatre's 10 X 10 Fest and the Elgin Fringe Festival. She is an English professor at Elgin Community College, and before working as a full-time college instructor, Gunn worked as a newspaper reporter.
IBé is a spoken word poet who hails from Guinea and Sierra Leone. He is the recipient of a Midwestern Voices Award, an Urban Griots' Cultural Award, and a Jerome/SASE Verve Grant. IBé has published two books of poetry and contributed to the acclaimed anthology A Good Time for the Truth: Race in Minnesota.
Raymond “Ray” Camper is currently a North Minneapolis-based poet, who originally hails from the historic triangle area of Virginia, moving to Minnesota after joining the Army National Guard in the fall of 2003. In his first book project, Shadowland America, Ray chronicles early heartbreaks, his time in Iraq, his struggles to make sense of life after returning to the U.S., and his most recent ponderings on life in Minnesota with its racial tension and unspoken agony. Ray would best describe himself as a “gentle-hearted veteran and social service worker who still tries to care, against all odds.” Ray’s website can be found at: www.shadowlandamerica.com.
Banji Lawal: During a team building exercise Banji Lawal discovered he had written more pages of code than lines of poetry. He throws away most of his poetry and prose even when he likes it. What gets tossed out comes back in a new way. His disposable writing can be found on some Tumblr blogs. When he gets tired of playing with search algorithms, simulations, and AI, Banji is interested in combining story telling with sound, music, and photography.