The book, "How We Do It," features advice from some of the nation's top Black writers on craft and establishing a writing practice. Credit: HarperCollins Publishers

Lit Louisiana highlights the state’s contemporary literature and brings significant books and authors from the past to the readers of Verite.

Jericho Brown, a Shreveport native, is well known for his poetry. His collection,“The Tradition,” won the Pulitzer Prize in 2020 and was named among the 100 Notable Books of the Year by The New York Times in 2019. It also garnered a nomination for the National Book Award. The noted author, who received a Ph.D. in creative writing and literature from the University of Houston, taught at the University of San Diego and is currently an associate professor and director of the creative writing program at Emory University. 

With that reputation, Brown is undoubtedly a good judge of writing. His skills are apparent in the 2023 publication “How We Do It: Black Writers on Craft, Practice, and Skill.” 

Brown co-edited the volume with author Darlene Taylor. Amistad, the book’s publisher, describes “How We Do It” as “a thoughtful and welcome tool that offers direction to help Black artists establish their own creative practice while celebrating and widening the scope of the Black writer’s role in art, history and culture.” The book contains essays by some of the top writers working today: Rita Dove, former U.S. Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress and a Pulitzer winner; Nikki Giovanni, NAACP Image Award winner and one of Oprah’s 25 Living Legends; Marita Golden, novelist and co-founder of an African American writers’ resource and mentoring organization called the Hurston/Wright Foundation;  and other writers worth knowing such as Mitchell S. Jackson, Charles Johnson, Jamaica Kincaid, Tony Medina, E. Ethelbert Miller, and many more. 

Brown participated in the 2022 Louisiana Book Festival and will make a presentation to Rita Dove at this year’s National Book Award ceremony on November 15, 2023. 


Black Women Writers at Work” was one of the first books that gave advice to African American authors. Black published poets and fiction writers described their practice through interviews by Claudia Tate. She also asked about the role of social responsibility to their work. Among the important writers that Tate interviewed were Toni Morrison, Maya Angelou, Alice Walker, Toni Cade Bambara and Gwendolyn Brooks. Interestingly, poet Nikki Giovanni was also in this book, published in 1984.

Creative Commons License

Republish our articles for free, online or in print, under a Creative Commons license.

Help inform our coverage as we build a newsroom for and by the people of New Orleans:

Please take a few minutes to share your thoughts with us by answering each question.

Fatima Shaik is the author of seven books including "Economy Hall: The Hidden History of a Free Black Brotherhood," the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities 2022 Book of the Year. She is a native of...