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Black Authors Panel

August 3, 2019 at 11:00 am - 12:00 pm


This year’s panel includes local authors Venise Berry, Steven Torriano Berry, Rachelle Chase, and Caleb Rainey. Moderated by Alfred Martin.

venise berryVenise Berry is a national bestselling novelist and prominent speaker. Her novels include: So Good, An African American Love Story, All of Me: a Voluptuous Tale and Colored Sugar Water. She is also published in academic circles based on her research which focuses on media, pop culture, and African Americans. Non-fiction books include: Black Culture and Experience: Contemporary Issues, The Historical Dictionary of African American Cinema and The 50 Most Influential Black Films.

Berry is an associate professor of Journalism and African American Studies at the University of Iowa in Iowa City, IA. For more information visit: www.veniseberry.com

Offering words of wisdom, personal examples, cultural analysis, historical context, and suggestions for change, these essays will help readers think about the complexity of life’s choices and the challenges facing women today, particularly when it comes to relationships vs. careers.

Book: Driven


Steven Torriano Berry

Steven Torriano Berry is an award winning filmmaker and former associate professor at Howard University’s Department of Radio, Television and Film. He has created and produced Black Independent Showcase, a television series for independent and student films, and has produced two, short, made-for-television movies for WPVI-TV 6 in Philadelphia. He wrote, produced and directed Embalmer, a feature length film now available on Netflix. He currently lives in Iowa City.

Books: Cry Tough! TEARS, and The Honeyman’s Son


Rachelle Chase

Rachelle Chase has always loved books. In 2005, her love reading books turned into a love of writing them with her first publication, “Out of Control”, a romance novella in SECRETS VOLUME 13. Rachelle went on to write romance for New York’s Kensington Publishing and others.

While writing romance and living in San Francisco, Rachelle stumbled upon the amazing town of Buxton, Iowa while visiting fellow author, friend, and her former romance writing instructor Leigh Michaels in 2008. Unable to forget Buxton, Rachelle researched the town from afar and when visiting Iowa, not knowing what she would do with her research while writing romance. In 2014 she decided: She’d move to Iowa and write a book. Her first nonfiction book, LOST BUXTON, was born on January 9, 2017. Still unable to stop researching, her second one, CREATING THE BLACK UTOPIA OF BUXTON, IOWA was released January 28, 2019. Rachelle continues to write about Buxton at LostBuxton.com

In addition to being a nonfiction and romance author, Rachelle is currently a business analyst and speaker who’s appeared on local and national television – such as, WHOTV Channel 13 (Des Moines), NJTV, CBS (San Francisco), and New York’s “The Morning Show with Mike and Juliet” – plus local and national radio shows, including Iowa Public Radio (2017 and 2019, In Depth with Dr. Bob Leonard, KBIZ (Ottumwa, IA), KRUUFM.com’s “Writers’ Voices,” the “Hip-Hop Connection,” the “Jordan Rich Show” and more.

As a speaker, Rachelle has been touring Iowa and beyond for the last two years, giving more than 60 presentations–many to standing-room-only crowds–on “Buxton, Iowa: A Coal Mining Town Ahead of Its Time.” She’s also given workshops on writing, created and co-hosted an online writing contest for writers (which resulted in numerous landing agents and book deals) and hosted two popular podcasts. Visit RachelleChase.com for more information.

Book: Creating the Black Utopia of Buxton, Iowa


Caleb Rainey

Caleb Rainey is a writer, performer, and producer. He hails from Columbia, Missouri, and holds a bachelors degree in English (Creative Writing) from the University of Iowa. He co-founded the literary magazine Black Art; Real Stories, and has been published in the Little Village Magazine. As a performer he is the winner of the Des Moines Poetry Slam, the Iowa City Poetry Slam, and a two-time winner of the Fire & Ice Poetry Slam. He has done spoken word around the country, including New York City, Nebraska, Missouri, Illinois, and Iowa. He was the opening poet for Dan Brown, featured on the album Blk Boi Joy, and acted in the Iowa debut of the plays, Exit Strategy and Luna Gale. When he is not writing and performing he is actively producing local events, like Drop The Mic, to showcase the immense talent in the Iowa City community, as well as workshops to teach youth how to write and use spoken word.

Book: Look, Black Boy


August 3, 2019
11:00 am - 12:00 pm
Event Category:


Prairie Lights
15 S. Dubuque St.
Iowa City, IA 52240 United States
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