2021 Right to Write Award Recipient: Lucille Freeman
2021 Right to Write Award Recipient:
“One of my fellow writing friends asked me what inspires me to write when I don’t especially feel like picking up pen and paper. My answer to her was: ‘It’s like asking a bird, what inspires you to fly. It’s part of what and who I am. I can’t help myself; it is something I was created to do.’ ” (Lucille Freeman lives in Matteson, Illinois)
In her own words:
“There is something inspirational about looking at a picture of my grandmother’s biological family. So many of them are dressed up, but shoeless. My grandmother used to tell me to count my blessings (and at times I’ve been known to count my shoes, too.) I shudder when I think that it was against the law for past generations of people of color to learn to read and write, because reading and writing could have become their tickets to freedom.
When dementia became a reality for my aunt, Ruby L. Oliver, who had been a counselor, exceptional businesswoman, and one of my mentors, and I longed to hear her voice, I found myself reading her autobiography, which she had written years prior. I found it soothing and therapeutic as I harvested wisdom and family history from the pages. We must preserve our history through writing. We are not writing for ourselves, but for generations to come.
Diversity in publishing is paramount. When we walk into literary rooms, conferences and publishing houses that are void of diversity, it sends a clear message about our failures of diversification and inclusion in the publishing industry. All of our histories, viewpoints and voices are important. My grandchildren (who have published almost 50 low-content books: journals, comic books, animal groups, and coloring books) will have opportunities I never had. I’d like to think they picked up some of their interest in reading, writing, and publishing from me, through my actions and genes.
When I think about what my books and stories have in common, two words surface: courage and change. I’ll conclude with one of my favorite quotes from Margaret Atwood: ‘In the end, we’ll all become stories.’ ”
Read more about Writeability and the Right to Write Awards here.