Marian Miner Cook

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Writing From the Heart: The Joys and Terrors of Being Vulnerable in Journalism

Mon, October 3, 2022
Dinner Program
Donna Britt

Award-winning essayist and syndicated columnist Donna Britt had written extensively in The Washington Post about being black, female, and spiritual in a society that often devalues all three. How does one successfully negotiate writing authentically and open-heartedly about sensitive subjects in a divided and judgmental world?

Ms. Britt's Athenaeum presentation is co-sponsored by the Gould Center for Humanistic Studies at CMC.

Former Washington Post columnist Donna Britt is the author of Brothers (and Me): A Memoir of Loving and Giving. Britt began her career as a city desk reporter and fashion writer at the Detroit Free Press. A stint as Los Angeles bureau chief and backup movie critic for USA Today led to her joining the Washington Post as a writer for the Style section.

After several powerful first-person pieces, including an award-winning essay on her older brother's killing by police, she was given a twice-weekly column in the paper's Metro section. Within weeks, Britt was getting sacks of mail, flowers, and hundreds of phone calls from readers applauding her courage, conviction and knack for addressing subjects no one else had touched. Her column, which was syndicated in more than 60 cities, won awards from organizations including the American Association of Sunday and Feature Editors, the American Society of Newspaper Editors' Distinguished Writing Award for commentary, and the National Association of Black Journalists.

Britt's 2011 memoir about the aftermath of her brother's killing, Brothers (& me): a Memoir of Loving and Giving, was honored by O: The Oprah Magazine as one of January 2012's "Ten Titles to Pick Up Now," and excerpted that same month by Essence magazine. More recently, she has written about a White man's obsession with saving a Black Lives Matter banner, what people got wrong in their judgments about Will Smith and The Slap, and finding gratitude during pandemic times.

A native of Gary, Indiana, Britt is a graduate of Hampton University and The University of Michigan.

Ms. Britt's Athenaeum presentation is co-sponsored by the Gould Center for Humanistic Studies at CMC.

Marian Miner Cook Athenaeum

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