Family, allow me to introduce you to this month's bookclub spotlight-- The SistahFriend Book Club is a live and online reading and networking group for women that focuses on reading and discussing books by or about African-Americans and promoting unity through women empowerment and fellowship. Founded in November 2004 by Tasha Martin, the sisterhood began with four members in Columbia, SC. Once a month, members bond as sisters and discuss literary works in settings designed according to a theme, place, or character in a selected read.
In March of 2007, the SFBC opened its membership online, adding an interactive dimension to its website, http://www.sistahfriend.com/ . Online features include: book reviews, literary spotlights, book features, author and reader chats, and a message board for both readers and writers to stay connected. The group also publishes an online ezine to highlight authors and women leaders in the community. In 2008, the SFBC opened three new branches in Raleigh, NC, Greenwood, SC, and Spartanburg, SC. The SFBC will celebrate its fourth anniversary in January 2009.
Join Ella Curry of EDC Creations in an Intimate Conversation with SistahFriend president Tasha Martin.
EDC: Tasha Martin, what does your bookclub offer the readers and visitors to your site?
Tasha: Wow, this is a loaded question! The ultimate goal is for website goers to experience our group’s intimate nature and sense of womanhood. We also hope they’d see our pride in African-American literature.
Here’s our list of website features:
1. The Sistah Profiles: a peek into the lives of our fabulous members
2. Book Reviews from our dedicated members that go above and beyond
3. The Author Spot : an elite author directory
4. Literary Spotlights and Features: we highlight authors and literary groups monthly
5. Women’s Space : a directory for women-owned businesses
6. Forum : a message board for sistahs, readers, and authors to chat
7. Chats: scheduled online conversations with authors and literary groups
8. Meeting Photos: glam shots of our fabulous meetings
EDC: Tasha, what do you define as Quality Literature.
Tasha: A piece of work where the author takes the time to clearly write with proper story elements, edit, and properly package his work. It’s always refreshing to order a book or receive one for review that you can tell the author and his team spent time putting it together.
EDC: How did your organization develop? How many members are in the group?
Tasha: We developed as a very small group who were family and friends. In fact, there were three family members and one friend. The group grew by one person bringing another to a meeting. And, once that person became a member, she bought another . . . and the pattern continued. We’ve been fortunate to have some of our new sistahs join through our website. Currently, we’re 35 members and four branches strong!
EDC: What does a typical meeting consist of for the members?
Tasha: Good food, relaxation, and intimate sister chat. Of course, our #1 rules is no drama! We also have a surprise factor, where a sistah or group of sistahs design meetings according to a theme, character, place, or anything from the book of the month.
For example, one sistah transformed her living room into a night lounge, we’ve graced restaurants in 70’s attire, and we’ve had a private “Sexy in Black” masquerade with author Janet Stevens Cook. The latter was my favorite because we actually held the event in a semi-private room in a bar. It was semi-private because huge windows encased the room. Needless to say, in our sexy black outfits, men stood right outside the windows and watched us the whole night, LOL!
Also, with every meeting, the host sistah gives members tokens of love (favors). These are small gifts from the heart, and boy, our Sistahs are really creative! For example, with Donna Hill’s Rhythms, we’ve received compilation jazz cds; with Brenda Thomas’ Threesome, we’ve received handmade jewelry; and with Cydney Rax’s My Husband’s Girlfriend, we received cheeky pants :-), just to name a few.
All is done in the spirit of sisterhood!
EDC: Do you have an open membership? How can one join your network?
Tasha: Right now, our membership is open. Potential Sistahs can request to join by submitting an online form through our website, www.sistahfriend.com. Shortly after, a member will contact them. Sistahs, authors, and other literary groups can fellowship with us 24 hrs a day on our website’s forum.
EDC: Ultimately, what do you want members to gain from your union?
Tasha: A sense of connection to other beautifully-minded women who have a love and appreciation for African-American literature. Overall, a sense of true sisterhood.
Tasha Martin, Founder/President
This community leader interview was brought to you by EDC Creations Media Group. http://www.edc-creations.com/