Gwen and Willie Richardson (center), Co-Founders of NBBF

The National Black Book Festival (NBBF), known as the largest African-American book event in the south will celebrate it 15th anniversary in Houston on Oct. 20-22.

The festival with feature more than 100 authors from across the nation representing over 20 genres. Special guests include R&B artist and author Omarion, CNN Analyst Bakari Sellers, Actress Kayrn Parsons, and Houston’s one and only best-selling award-winning author, ReShonda Tate Billingsley. 

Award-Winning Author ReShonda Tate

NBBF started in 2007 and is sponsored by, a Houston-based company that specializes in marketing and retailing Black literature. The founders Willie and Gwen Richardson launched this event in response to their interaction with Black authors and publishers and their desire to find additional ways to expand their reading audience. 

“We anticipate at least 2,000 people in attendance (within the two-day span). It is always based in Houston because it’s cost effective to host events of this caliber here and we want this event is free and open to the public, said Gwen Richardson. “It will be located at Fallbrook Church in their sports facility where attendees can enjoy different exhibitions and seminars and connect with high profiled authors.”

Richardson says this event has opened the perspective of many in the Black community.

“The feedback we get mostly is the fact that most people have no idea that there are this many quality Black authors that even exist,” Richardson said. “This is an excellent demonstration of just how many African-Americans are writing books and we need to support and buy their work.”

Defender Managing Editor, ReShonda Tate at NBBF

Richardson also says there are a few tangible things to take away from attending the NBBF.

Aspiring authors will have the access to the experts and resources to launch their literary careers. Attendees can purchase books directly from the authors rather than buying them from large big-name brick and mortar and online stores. Also, if there were any concerns about censored or banned books, Richardson confidently states that “certain books may be banned from schools due to the state’s political climate but it can’t be banned from existence. If a book is not in the school system, you can still buy it online or a bookstore.”

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Laura Onyeneho

I cover Houston's education system as it relates to the Black community for the Defender as a Report for America corps member. I'm a multimedia journalist and have reported on social, cultural, lifestyle,...