Mariam Williams is a Kentucky writer and educator living in Philadelphia and pursuing an MFA in creative writing and a certificate in public history. She writes a biweekly column for National Catholic Reporter, wrote a column for several years in the Courier-Journal, and has been published in Cosmonauts Avenue; Bozalta.com; Salon.com; the anthology, Faithfully Feminist: Jewish, Christian and Muslim Feminists on Why They Stay; EBONY.com; Calliope: The Journal of Women Who Write; and The Huffington Post. Mariam has received writing awards from the Society of Professional Journalists, University of Louisville, University of Kentucky Women Writers Conference, Kentucky Arts Council, and Kentucky Foundation for Women, and is a Trustees Fellow at Rutgers University. As an educator and teaching artist, she has taught creative writing workshops in grades K-12 in Philadelphia and Camden, NJ, and has trained adults in oral histories, documentary research, and storytelling for business.
Mariam’s writing is informed by feminism, womanism, black studies, spirituality, and the black church. Her knowledge bases don’t always get along, but she uses her blog and her column at National Catholic Reporter to rigorously explore those and other conflicting ideologies. She is seeking representation and looks forward to publishing more of her work after completing her MFA and certificate in 2017.
To contact Mariam for readings, speaking engagements, assignments, writing workshops, or public history projects, please email her at redboneafropuff at gmail.com.
My Mission and Vision
My personal mission is to help Black women and girls in my community discover the power and importance of their own voices by sharing my story and the histories of other Black women. Through blog posts, books, radio documentaries and podcasts, I hope to create in these women and girls a sense of belonging that inspires them to share their own stories and own their destinies. To that end, I’ve resolved to use my blog as a space to tell my story as I transition from a religious woman to a spiritual woman, from a perspective academic to a creative writer and, I hope, from a single feminist to a married one. (Read below the line to learn more about the origins of this blog.)
More broadly, I want my writing to help guide readers to new revelations, speak the unspeakable, and heal deeply shadowed wounds by using various literary forms to connect history, spirituality, and critical analysis of the present, and to interweave these connections with autobiography.
Excited about the new mission and vision? Then please consider supporting my work with a donation. The more I money I can bring in from writing, the less I’ll have to work on things unrelated to the mission. In other words, I’m daring to imagine a world where there are still patrons and sponsors out there for individual artists and writers. Producing content requires time and money for materials and subscriptions (web space and domains are not free). If you would like to be a patron, just click on the button below or email me at mariamwrites at gmail dot com for a physical address. Note: donations are not tax-deductible, but they are very much appreciated.
Monetary support doesn’t appeal to you? That’s okay. Consider becoming a subscriber to my blog or share posts you like with others. More subscribers and readers will make my blog more attractive to paid advertisers and my future books more appealing to literary agents.
A Brief History of Redbone Afropuff & Black GRITS
In 2009, as more of my grandparents’ siblings and peers began to pass away and at the thought that their entire generation would soon disappear, I began to take a strong interest in not only spending time with my remaining grandparents, but also in recording their wisdom.
With the positive experience of The Pink Slip Blog – Living Life Laid Off, I got the idea to use a blog to honor my female elders in a large and public way and to bring living history to light in a way that inspires other people, especially women younger than I, to respect, talk to, and listen to their elders.
I was awarded an Artist Enrichment Grant from the Kentucky Foundation for Women to create Redbone Afropuff, a blog that would combine commentary, essays and other nonfiction, creative non-fiction, poems, fictional accounts, family histories, and video and other multi-media outlets from various artists. The blog’s larger purpose is to raise the artistic quality of blogs, to celebrate and empower black women and to lend more unique black female voices to the growing field of alternative media. The blog’s name is a nod to me and my heritage; “redbone” is a term often used in the south to refer to fair-skinned black women. Afropuff is a style unique to people with truly kinky hair, and a style in which I often wear my hair.
If you are a female artist and you would like to share your unique perspective on Redbone Afropuff, please contact me. After a few months of posts, the blog’s voice will become more clear to you, and while the medium of expression is open, I do ask that all posts from guest artists maintain the integrity of the grant and of the blog’s purpose. The recruitment of artists is open and is not limited to black females.
I sincerely hope you are inspired and informed by the stories you find here. As always, I thank you for reading.