INKPEN believes books inspire. We connect readers and writers by building audiences for writers of color, giving books to teens, sharing stories and ideas, creating conversations, and inspiring cultural exchange.
Through partnerships with public school libraries and community library programs, INKPEN strengthens the voices of city youth and their ability to craft stories. Craft talks and workshops with teaching artists and library read-ins with diverse writers share the experience of storytelling.
Storytelling is a powerful agent. Through Girl Hood, we share stories of journeys, memories, and connect one storyteller to another.
Breena Clarke, author of Angels Make Their Hope Here, Stand the Storm, and River, Cross My Heart, on research, history, and imagination:
"I nourish myself by undertaking research to uncover details about daily life for my characters. But for this writing tool to be successful, I have to begin by imagining how a human being lives in the moments I've constructed because a novel is a composition of moments just as a play is a composition of beats, small actions."
On writing speculative fiction, Tara Campbell says:
"Questions and curiosity are definitely what get my fingers typing, especially the question “What if?”
Simba Sana, the author of Never Stop, recalls DC street life, music, and friendship.
“Boys all around the city created little junkyard bands with fake instruments –buckets to serve as the drums, STP motor oil cans to fill in for the timbales, and a thick plastic cup or bottle to give off the sound of a cowbell.
The guys on H Place created their own little band, and they played in the wide alley behind H Place."
Author Karine Jean-Pierre tells students at Roosevelt High School:
“There’s a whole world waiting for you, filled with possibilities."
On reading Esperanza Rising by Pam Munoz Ryan, literature professor Renee Latchman says:
"I read this book for the first time during my graduate studies in my multicultural literature course. At this point in my life, I had only been living in the US for a year and was facing some personal challenges. When I read this book, I learned about a young girl whose life got turned upside down overnight. She faced tremendous obstacles when she moved to America, and her ability to rise above it gave me hope because her situation made mine seem so trivial that I had to get over myself. It pushed me to find strength in myself and it made me more sensitive to the struggles of other immigrants and their families."
Petworth Library: Fiction Writers on Creating Landscapes and Emotion Through Historical Imagination
Theodore Roosevelt High School Library: The Songs and Stories of D.C. Streets Read-In
Paul L. Dunbar High School Library: Researching and Writing D.C. History Read-In
"The evolution of libraries is essentially the evolution of people and their needs -- libraries remain necessary to our society."
Petworth Librarian Darryl Wilson