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I'm Speaking Now - Author Talk with Breena Clarke

Award-winning author of best-selling historical fiction, Breena Clarke. Ms. Clarke set two of her novels in historic Georgetown before she knew that the characters in her well-researched tales paralleled the lives of her own ancestors in many ways. Breena Clarke is a direct descendant of three generations of the Clarke family who were enslaved in the historic City Tavern building when it was operated in the nineteenth century as The Georgetown Hotel.

Breena will talk about the emotional and creative impact of this revelation, plus how she blends fact and fiction to let her characters carry the reader to experience an earlier era. She learned about the enslavement of her ancestors from research conducted by Yvette LaGonterie, who is now a Director on the Board of the City Tavern Preservation Foundation.

Breena Clarke, a native Washingtonian and graduate of Howard University, is the author of three novels, most recently, Angels Make Their Hope Here, set in an imagined mixed-race community in 19th century New Jersey. Breena's debut novel, River, Cross My Heart, was an October 1999 Oprah Book Club selection. Her critically reviewed second novel, Stand The Storm, is set in mid-19th century Washington, D.C. Her short fiction has appeared in Kweli Journal, Stonecoast Review, Nervous Breakdown, Mom/Egg review, Catapult, and Like Light: 25 Years of Poetry & Prose by Bright Hill Poets & Writers. She has contributed to the anthology, Idol Talk: Women Writers on the Teenage Infatuations That Changed Their Lives.

Breena is co-editor of Chicken Soup for the Soul, I’m Speaking Now: Black Women Share Their Truths in 101 Stories of Love, Courage and Hope (2021) to which she contributed two personal narratives. Breena Clarke has been a member of the fiction faculty of Stonecoast MFA in Creative Writing since 2013 and is co-founder and co-organizer of The Hobart Festival of Women Writers, an annual celebration of the work of women authors.

This program is presented by the City Tavern Preservation Foundation.

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