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Writing Toward Justice: Non-Fiction as a Call to Action

May 21, 2022 @ 10:00 am - 11:00 am


*All events are FREE, but we do ask that you please register so that we can monitor attendance and venue capacity.*

Journalists and writers from different backgrounds discuss the importance of engaging equity, criminal justice, and community. The press, and citizen journalists, provide witness on systemic issues impacting local communities.  A conversation with DR. BENJAMIN GILMER, WANDA SMALLS LLOYD and PHOEBE ZERWICK. Hosted by DEONNA KELLI SAYED. This panel is in partnership with the PEN America NC Piedmont Chapter.

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Writing Toward Justice: Non-Fiction as a Call to Action
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Images of Justice and Power
Truth Tellers documentary presentation

BENJAMIN GILMER, MD, is a family medicine physician and medical educator. He is an International Albert Schweitzer Fellow for Life and associate professor in the department of family medicine at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine at Chapel Hill and at the Mountain Area Health Education Center (MAHEC). A former neurobiologist turned rural family doctor, Dr. Gilmer has lectured widely about medical ethics, rural health, and the intersection of medicine and criminal justice reform. He is a passionate teacher of medical education and leads MAHEC’s Rural Health Initiative, a program to inspire and train students to pursue rural medicine. The Other Dr. Gilmer is his first book, resulting from a true story he told on This American Life with Sarah Koenig, now one of its most listened to podcasts. The story has inspired Benjamin to be an advocate for prison and mental health reform. He lives with his wife, Deirdre; their two children, Kai and Luya; and their dog, Prince Peanut Butter, in Asheville, North Carolina.

WANDA LLOYD parlayed her passion for storytelling when she transitioned from journalism to writing non-fiction. Her memoir, COMING FULL CIRCLE: From Jim Crow to Journalism, was published in 2020. The book is an engaging, charmingly written self-reflective volume of stories about growing up as an African American girl in the Jim Crow South, where despite her segregated circumstances, she dared to become a daily newspaper journalist. She not only became a journalist, but her career took her to some of the highest levels of newsroom positions, and included her work as an editor at The Washington Post and USA Today. She also launched and led university journalism programs as a way to prepare future journalists of color. When Lloyd retired after more than eight years as executive editor of the Montgomery Advertiser in Alabama’s capital city, she accepted a position as associate professor and chair of the Department of Journalism and Mass Communications at Savannah State University. A newspaper editor for more than four decades, she now writes from her home in Savannah, Georgia, the city where she grew up in the 1950s and 1960s. In 2020, Lloyd co-edited (with novelist Tina McElroy Ansa) MEETING AT THE TABLE: African-American Women Write on Race, Culture and Community, a collective of essays written after the tragic deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and others. Lloyd and Ansa are also co-executive producers and co-hosts of the podcast, 2 Old Chicks Who Know a Lot of Sh*t! on Spotify and YouTube. Spelman College, her alma mater, awarded Lloyd an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters in 2016. In 2019 she was inducted into the National Association of Black Journalists Hall of Fame.

PHOEBE ZERWICK is an award-winning investigative journalist, narrative writer, and college teacher. Her writing has appeared in O, The Oprah Magazine; National Geographic; The Nation; the Winston-Salem Journal; and Glamour, among other publications. Her work has been recognized by the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard University, Investigative Reporters and Editors, the Society of Professional Journalists, Columbia University, and the North Carolina Press Association and featured in the HBO documentary The Trials of Darryl Hunt. She is the director of the journalism program at Wake Forest University.

DEONNA KELLI SAYED is an author, TEDx speaker, and performer based in Greensboro, North Carolina. Her short stories and essays are featured in numerous online journals and anthologies. She is the PEN America North Carolina Piedmont Representative and works for the North Carolina Writers’ Network.





Sponsored by PEN America NC Piedmont Chapter


May 21, 2022
10:00 am - 11:00 am
Event Categories:
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Van Dyke Performance Space, Greensboro Cultural Center
200 N Davie Street
Greensboro, NC 27401 United States


Greensboro Bound
PEN America