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Author Insights: World Book Day 2024

This World Book Day, authors joined Magnet and IBM to showcase the importance of Storytelling and have answered a few of the thought-provoking questions provided by our LinkedIn Live audience.

During World Book Day 2024, authors joined Magnet and IBM to share their stories and answer questions from our LinkedIn Live and in-person audiences. Find a few of the questions and answers below and revisit the full event here.

Tricia Romano, content strategist, journalist, storyteller, and author of The Freaks Came Out To Write shared the history of the Village Voice and some of the voices of its legendary writers, editors, and photographers.

You mentioned that you were a nightlife writer in your 20s when you were first covering The Village Voice. Were you always planning on writing a long-running historical perspective, or were you inspired to compile this story more recently?

Tricia: I decided to write the book long after I left, in 2017 after attending a reunion for the paper where all the older folks were in attendance, and realized that many of those people had first hand views of what the paper was like in the 50s and 60s and thought that it was crucial to capture those memories before it was too late.

While it was a nearly impossible task, I felt it was necessary to cover as much of the paper’s entire history as possible; as large as it it, it could have been even bigger! I wish I knew what I know now about the paper and its writers and photographers and artists when I was first starting there. I would have been even more in awe of it.

Salima Lin,  Vice President and Senior Partner, Global Strategy, Transformation and Thought 

Leadership (IBV) at IBM Consulting spoke to our audience about The CEO’s Guide To Generative AI, an offering from IBM that leads executives through making the right strategic decisions and investments in AI and accelerating the adoption of generative AI, and incorporating it into your company, safely and responsibly.

For smaller companies interested in gen AI, how would you recommend reassuring clients that their data is safe and that the algorithms used are inclusive? We’ve noticed that gen AI can be an especially hard sell for regulation-minded finance clients.

Salima: All businesses need confidence that the AI they’re using for mission-critical decisions and outputs is trustworthy and reliable – from securely working only off their proprietary data, to offering views into how the system reached a decision and that it’s compliant with business and regulatory requirements and not perpetuating biased or inflammatory behavior. Scaling responsible AI requires AI governance, which is the process of defining policies and establishing accountability throughout the AI lifecycle. Governing Large Language Models (LLMs) – the underlying models for gen AI -- is complex, and organizations need to proactively detect and mitigate risk associated with AI to avoid reputational damage, audits, fines and litigation. It’s important for businesses to have a comprehensive AI governance strategy that spans people, process and technology. These elements include establishing a structure and understanding of accountability; ensuring diversity of thought is reflected in AI model selection, training, deployment, and monitoring; and establishing AI ethics boards, Centers of Excellence, iterative training and communications strategies to operationalize North Star principles.

Kai Naima Williams is a multi-disciplinary writer and performer based in Harlem who joined us in conversation to discuss her debut Children’s book, The Bridges Yuri Built: How Yuri Kochiyama Marched Across Movements and highlighted her storytelling journey and the story of her book’s namesake, Yuri Kochiyama, Kai’s great grandmother who was an activist across social movements. 

For writers who may have interests as diverse as yours, what advice would you give them so that theory can focus on one story at a time and get past decision paralysis?

Kai: This is a really excellent question that I am probably not the most qualified person to answer, as decision paralysis is something I struggle with quite consistently! I do think that it can be helpful to follow your gut instincts about what you feel like writing at any given moment and also balance writing work time with writing play time. For example, if you want to execute and follow through on a story but keep getting distracted by other ideas, carving out time that is devoted purely to creative play, and not generating/ executing work that you've committed to, can help get those thoughts out on the page so they're not blocking you from progressing with your main project of the moment. If I allow myself to pursue whatever I feel like writing, then I can more clearly identify which stories I want to stick with. 

Dr. Rebecca Katz is a professor and the director of the Center for Global Health Science and Security and holds joint appointments at Georgetown University Medical Center and the School of Foreign Service. In January she worked with the Department of State 2021 as a senior advisor on the global COVID-19 response and global health security. This World Book Day, she spoke with us about her latest book, Outbreak Atlas, written in partnership with Mackenzie Moore.  Dr. Katz shared her expertise on the complexity involved in outbreak preparedness, response, and recovery as well as how to stay prepared in a pandemic.

With the politicization of public health throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, how would you suggest informing people with books like this while avoiding political considerations?

Rebecca: I think the politicization of public health is exactly one of the reasons we wrote this book.  We are trying to raise public literacy and ensure that the basic information around outbreak response is available to everyone, so they can make decisions for themselves and their families and better understand where government guidance comes from. 

Denise Domina  & Julia Andresakis are two contributors to On The Art Of Craft: A Guidebook to Collaborative Storytelling, a recently published book from Girls Write Now and they shared their unique perspectives on how to approach storytelling, getting out of one's comfort, and the importance of mentorship with our in-person and LinkedIn Live audience. 

For young writers who are worried about their stories being judged, what advice would you give to help them feel empowered enough to publish?

Denise Domina: I would tell young writers worried about their stories being judged that their voices matter and deserve a platform. There is at least one person out there who will walk away from their story feeling moved and seen. I would encourage writers to consider that person when crafting their literary work to motivate themselves. I would also tell young writers to turn inward and publish for themselves. Write what they wish to read. Toni Morison once said, "If there's a book that you want to read, but it hasn't been written yet, then you must write it”, and I would encourage young readers to keep that in mind.

Julia Andresakis: Nobody has lived your life, and the lens through which you see the world is yours alone entirely. This is reason enough to tell your stories. The magic of your unique voice is that the more specific you can get, the more universal and resonant you become. Consider, also, the times you’ve been moved by a story, and the words, scenes, and characters that you hold close to your heart, that make you feel like you understand yourself and your surroundings better. Your stories can hold that same power for someone else.

Click here to check out the full event be sure to reach out to our team to learn more about the Future of Storytelling, Event marketing, and more!

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