Please visit the organizers' websites for details.
- This event has passed.
25th Anniversary Celebration: WILLOW WEEP FOR ME
October 11, 2023 @ 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm
ABOUT THE BOOK
The first book to focus on black women and depression, seen through the personal journey of a young black woman’s descent into despair.
Nana-Ama Danquah, a “working-class broke,” twenty-two-year-old single mother, began to suffer from a variety of depressive symptoms after she gave birth to her daughter, which led her to suspect that she might be going crazy. Understanding the importance of strength in a world that often undervalues black women’s lives, she shrouded herself and her illness in silence and denial. “Black women are supposed to be strong―caretakers, nurturers, healers of other people―any of the twelve dozen variations of Mammy,” writes Danquah. But eventually, she could no longer deny the debilitating sadness that interfered with her ability to care for her daughter, to pursue her career as a writer, and to engage in personal relationships. “This is how the world feels to me when I am depressed,” she writes. “Everything is blurry, out of focus, fading like a photograph; people seem incapable of change; living feels like a waste of time and effort.”
She moves back to the city of her childhood where she befriends two black women who are also suffering from depression. With their support she confronts the traumatic childhood events―sexual abuse, neglect, and loss―that lie beneath her grief. This is not simply a memoir about depression, it is a powerful meditation on courage and a litany for survival.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Nana-Ama Danquah is an author, editor, freelance journalist, ghostwriter, public speaker, actress, and teacher. Her groundbreaking memoir, Willow Weep for Me: A Black Woman’s Journey Through Depression (W.W. Norton & Co.) was hailed by the Washington Post as “A vividly textured flower of a memoir, one of the finest to come along in years.” A native of Ghana, Ms. Danquah is the editor of four anthologies: Becoming American: Personal Essays by First Generation Immigrant Women (Hyperion); Shaking the Tree: New Fiction and Memoir by Black Women (W.W. Norton & Co.); The Black Body (Seven Stories Press); and, Accra Noir (Akashic Press).
Ms. Danquah earned a Master of Fine Arts degree in Creative Writing, with an emphasis in creative nonfiction, from Bennington College. She has published articles in newspapers, journals, and magazines, such as the Africa Report, the Village Voice, the Los Angeles Times, Allure and Essence. Her essays and poems have been heavily anthologized and used in high school and university textbooks.
As a ghostwriter and editor, Ms. Danquah has worked with celebrities and other high-profile individuals in the worlds of entertainment, business and politics, writing and editing book proposals as well as full-length books, many of which have been New York Times bestsellers. From 2012-2016, she was the International Speechwriter for H.E. John Dramani Mahama, the President of Ghana, her birth country. In that capacity, Ms. Danquah wrote four United Nations General Assembly speeches, several State of the Nation addresses, and various speeches delivered by President Mahama at high-level conferences, meetings and panels.
A highly sought-after speaker herself, Ms. Danquah has delivered keynote speeches and addresses at dozens of conferences and gatherings throughout the world; she has been featured at the Carter Center; Barnard College; University of Ghana, Legon; University of California, Los Angeles; Vanderbilt University; Hamline University, and many other institutions. She has taught at Otis College of Arts and Sciences, Antioch College’s MFA in Creative Writing program, the NYU in Ghana program, and at the University of Ghana’s School of Communication Studies as a Visiting Scholar, and in their Department of English as a Senior Lecturer. Additionally, she taught Creative Writing for the City of Manhattan Beach, California as a California Arts Council Artist-in-Residence, and Poetry to grades K-12 in the Los Angeles Unified School District as a California Poet-in-the-Schools.
Ms. Danquah is mother to writer/actress Korama Danquah. She divides her time between Ghana and Southern California.