Go On Girl! Book Club Awards Weekend 2018
Indiana is rich with literary history and full of passionate booklovers. Case in point – the recent gathering of hundreds of women from across the country for the Go On Girl! Awards Weekend in Indianapolis last month. The Go On Girl! Book Club is a nationally-recognized reading club committed to fostering an awareness of and appreciation for the diverse literary works by authors of the Black Diaspora. There are more than 30 chapters with more than 300 members, including a large group in Indy. Stephanie Groves, a member of the club and one of the organizers of the event, shares more on the whirlwind weekend:
I tried to prepare Indianapolis for the second coming of the Go On Girl book club (GOGs). You see, they were here in 2001 and like that year they again were all over town. Most of our women are from the East Coast and as far away as California...many of whom have not been to the Midwest, let alone Indiana. So trying to convince big city women to travel to little ole’ Indy was a feat in itself, but come they did. Our host hotel was the Hyatt-downtown and they rolled out the red carpet for the ladies.
Warning, lunch time patrons and hotel guests! - the ladies are starting to arrive and the lobby is bustling with laughter and love.
Thursday night was informal and the plan was to play games and teach line dancing, but the ladies were so busy trying to catch up that we never got around to either. We had prepared a list of Indy Hotspots and the ladies headed out to ride on the gondolas, get in some shopping (of course) and then to the Jazz Kitchen for Salsa lessons and dancing.
Friday morning, the ladies boarded the bus for the Madame C. J Walker tour, a presentation by Freetown Village, lunch, then a tour of historic downtown sites. The afternoon included meetings for Executive Board and Facilitators and the evening flowed into a mixer with comedian Robert ”Sweaty Hands” Day, rapper Lisa Holland and DJ Gitlive, who got everybody on the dance floor.
Saturday, Author of the Year Victoria Christopher Murray conducted a Young Writer’s Workshop for students aged 11 – 21, while Midwest authors sold books and vendors sold items from clothing to skin care products. Many of the vendors/authors inquired about joining us next year. That evening, Judge Tanya Walton-Pratt was our emcee for the banquet. She was beautiful, eloquent and surprisingly funny. Our theme was Renaissance of Indy so we asked the guest to dress in period clothing from the 1920s to the 1960s. We took every opportunity to expose the ladies to our rich history by featuring bookseller/historian Dona Lucas Stokes and music by Wes Montgomery during the banquet. We honored Victoria Christopher Murray, Author of the Year, Yaa Gyasi, New Author of the Year and Anya Carr, unpublished author award. Howard Unviersity student Jessica Daniels, Chicago, IL. was presented a scholarship and Delores Thornton was honored as a literary legend. After the banquet, the group was serenaded by the soulful sounds of Bashiri Asad and then to check out Indy nightlife.
Sunday morning began with our Health Fitness session, led by local fitness instructor, Colela Grundy. Our Fareweel Breakfast was one of our highlights, where one of our members received the Phenomenal Woman Award. Lastly was the presentation that let the group know where we are headed next! Get ready, Fort Lauderdale - we headed your way!!!
If you’d like to learn more about Go On Girl! book club and how you can celebrate the legacy of Black literature, check out www.goongirl.org.