By Rolling Out
Many have a deep and abiding love for North Minneapolis and an appreciation of Black literature and Black authors. That love and appreciation spawned the idea for the Minnesota Black Authors Expo.
De’Vonna Pittman is a community engagement guru and co-founder of the Minnesota Black Authors Expo. She and co-founder Jasmine Boudah had the vision to create an environment that supports writers, promotes literacy and stimulates the income of authors of color. They wanted a space that celebrates and caters to Black literature and its readers, so they decided to create it themselves in the Minnesota Black Authors Expo.
Bibliophiles from across the Twin Cities will gather at this year’s third annual Minnesota Black Authors Expo, which will be held from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 19, 2019, at DeLaSalle High School, 1 DeLaSalle Drive, in Minneapolis.
Pittman, who owns The Haven Publishing and is the author of three books, recently spoke with rolling out about her brand and what motivates her.
How would you describe your brand?
I’m focused on providing solutions to problems. Every endeavor I have launched was the result of a problem that needed to be resolved. In 2012 when I published my first book, there weren’t many people self-publishing. It was a new thing, and people were still trying to figure it out. I wanted to make the process less challenging for new authors, and that is how The Haven Publishing Minneapolis came to be.
How did you determine your career path?
didn’t plan any of this. I was a young mom and a high school dropout. One day, a social worker told me I had potential, and it was as if my path was set aflame. I began to believe I could achieve anything I set my mind to. Not to say that it has been easy. It hasn’t been. In fact, there were times I wanted to quit.
Were you always interested in being a motivational speaker?
Contrary to popular belief, I’m an introvert. I am a writer, and that brings me joy and comfort. I am a freelance writer and enjoy ranting and writing short stories, political pieces and poetry. The doors that opened as a result of me publishing my memoir, My Pretty and Its Ugly Truth, required I step from behind the curtain of shame and introversion.
Describe how you set goals and evaluate your success.
I am not in denial about the demanding life I live. It is said that we technically have 12 productive hours in one day; I can’t afford to waste a single minute. I am a bit old-fashioned. I still use notebooks, and I create to-do lists. Seeing things written down etches them in my brain. I check things off my list when they are done, and that gives me immense satisfaction.
How does music impact and influence you?
I really don’t know where I would be if I didn’t always have songs to inspire and lift my spirits. I listen to music all the time. I love to sing, and on my low days, I sing to my soul. I sing gospel, neo-soul and R&B. It’s my way of self-medicating, and it has gotten me through some critical times in my life.
This article originally appeared in RollingOut.com.