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Stetson Law Alumna to speak at Zora Neale Hurston Writers’ Conference at B-CU


CP Patrick
Photo by Norman E. Jones

Stetson Law alumna CP Patrick will give the keynote address during Bethune-Cookman University’s annual “Rags to Riches” Zora Neale Hurston Writers’ Conference on Friday, Feb. 2, from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. in the Performing Arts Center President’s Banquet Room.

With a Bachelor of Arts degree in Africana Studies, a Master of Arts in African Studies and a Juris Doctor, Patrick is a science fiction writer who weaves the African Diaspora experience and Afrofuturism into her storytelling.

“Their influences are so diverse, so vast,” said Patrick in a GoodReads interview. “I love incorporating elements of fiction and fantasy into their realities.”

Patrick’s books, “Dear Ancestors: poems and reflections on the african diaspora” and “The Truth About Awiti,” point out seemingly timeless themes of racial inequity.

Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune

Activist Mary McLeod Bethune, Ph.D., sought to bridge that racial inequity through education and, in 1904, opened the training school for young black girls that would later become Bethune-Cookman University.

Zora Neale Hurston

As the namesake of the writer’s conference, Zora Neale Hurston, Harlem Renaissance author and Eatonville native, staged her play From Sun to Sun through the invitation of Mary Bethune and was asked to start a school of dramatic arts in 1933. Though the drama school plan didn’t materialize, both women were dedicated to what Hurston coined as “pure Negro expression” in one of her letters in 1932.

The mission of the conference 84 years later remains the same. Through literary workshops and lecture, “Rags to Riches” seeks to celebrate black art.

-Veronica Faison

-Admission is free to all events at the Zora Neale Hurston Writers’ Conference on the campus of Bethune-Cookman University, 640 Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune Blvd., Daytona Beach, Florida. For more information, email freckled@cookman.edu or call 386-481-2000. (Events may be cancelled or rescheduled without notice.)