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Artist in Residence: Sandra Jackson-Opoku Black Rice: A Sino-Black Diaspora Presentation & Reading

September 20, 2022

Sinologist, Keisha Brown originated the term “Sino-Black relations” to describe historical connections between China and people of African descent. This presentation will explore some of the global contact zones and cultural experiences where China and Africa have intersected. This slide presentation will be followed by a reading from the novel-in-progress, Black Rice and a brief Q&A session.

This event is for Ossiing High School Black Culture Club & Human Rights Club

Residency Plan:
BLACK RICE is a historical novel exploring centuries-old connections between China and people of African descent. In this family saga sprawling across five novella-length chapters, a chorus of voices speak in the dramatic, interior, and epistolary monologue as the narrators tell their life stories aloud, in thought, or in writing. These encounters begin with an East African woman sold into concubinage in Ming Dynasty Guangzhou. A Cantonese descendant is later transported to Cuba in the 19th-century “coolie” trade to the Americas, where he meets and marries an African-American woman. Additional generations flow from this descent: a boxer, a blues singer, and a descendant teaching in modern China. I will use a Bethany Arts residency to incorporate research findings and polish final revisions to prepare Black Rice for submission.

Sandra Jackson-Opoku is the author of the award-winning novel, The River Where Blood is Born and Hot Johnny (and the Women Whom Loved Him), an Essence Magazine Bestseller in Hardcover Fiction. She also co-edited the anthology, Revise the Psalm: Work Celebrating the Writing of Gwendolyn Brooks. Her fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and dramatic works are widely published and produced, appearing in such outlets as Secrets, An Oddsized Coffin, eMerge Magazine, Both Sides: Stories from the Border, the Anthology of Appalachian Heritage, storySouth, Another Chicago Magazine, New Daughters of Africa, Ms. Magazine, Ocotillo Review, Obsidian, the Chicago Humanities Festival, Lifeline Theatre, and many others.

Professional recognition includes a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, the General Electric-Coordinating Council of Literary Magazines Award for Younger Writers, an American Library Association Black Caucus Award for Fiction, Ragdale Foundation US/Africa Writers Fellowship, a William Randolph Hearst Research Visiting Fellowship at the American Antiquarian Society, a listing in Newcity Lit50: Who Really Books in Chicago, and an inaugural Esteemed Literary Artist Award from the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events. Her work has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize in Fiction.

Jackson-Opoku has been a resident fellow at many national and international arts communities. She teaches literature and writing at workshops, conferences, colleges, and universities across the country and around the world.

Image: © Zeng Xianfang from the Little North Road project by Daniel Traub.

Residencies and programs at Bethany Arts Community are made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of the Governor’s office and the New York State Legislature, the National Endowment for the Arts, Arts Westchester, and numerous individual donors.

National Endowment for the Arts     The New York State Council on the Arts   National Endowment for the Arts


September 20, 2022
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Bethany Arts Community
914 944-4278
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Bethany Arts Community
40 Somerstown Rd.
Ossining, NY 10562 United States
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