Writer’s Paradise

Saturday, July 15 · 11:00 am - 2:00 pm EDT

Writers & Books 740 University Avenue Rochester, NY 14607 United States


Whether you’re an aspiring author seeking to publish traditionally, or a self-published author seeking knowledge and guidance, you’ll find in-depth sessions offering up information you need to know.


We’ve locked in a publisher, poet, spoken word artist, and PR manager.

CaTyra Polland, the mastermind behind Writer’s Paradise is the CEO/Founder of Love for Words, an author, speaker, and editor.

Entertainment, education, and food are all in the works, but right now is the best time to reserve your spot at Writer’s Paradise—the best pricing ends June 2023.

Your ticket includes brunch, refreshments, networking, workshops, and a small gift!

*This project is made possible with funds from the Statewide Community Regrants Program, a regrant program of the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of The Office of the Governor and the New York State Legislature and administered by the Genesee Valley Council on the Arts.*

Meet Our Presenters

Ebony Nicole Smith

Ebony Nicole is the founder and CEO of Ebony Nicole Smith Consulting, LLC, a writing and publishing company based in Rochester, New York. She specializes in coaching and guiding faith-based individuals to bring their book ideas to life.

Ebony Nicole has received numerous awards and recognition for her work, including being nominated for the 2015 ROC Awards for Author of the Year and receiving the 2019 and 2020 Kingdom Visionary Society Honors award. She is also an accomplished author herself, having written 10 books, and has helped over 45 aspiring authors publish their works. In addition to her business, Ebony Nicole is actively involved in various organizations and initiatives, such as co-founding the Rochester Black Authors Association and hosting her own podcast and live show focused on storytelling and empowerment.

Rashad J. Smith

Rashad J. Smith is a highly skilled creative communications consultant with a focus on organizing and promoting events, programs, and campaigns for Black and Brown audiences. He has a successful track record of pitching positive news stories to both local and national media outlets. Rashad specializes in public relations, marketing, media sales, and event planning. He is known for his resourcefulness and ability to bring together talented individuals to execute innovative ideas, helping brands effectively connect with their target audiences. In addition,

Rashad has made significant contributions as a creative consultant for The Beat 105.5 FM Rochester, a Hip Hop and R&B station, where he supports advertising and marketing campaigns across various sectors such as education, events, health/wellness, and youth programming. He is a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., and holds a B.A. in Communications from Johnson C. Smith University, a Historically Black College in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Lu Highsmith

Rochester, NY native Lu Highsmith is a writer, publisher, promoter and spoken artist. Whatever form she chooses is always reflective of her passion for spirituality, sensuality, and social consciousness. Lu self-published two poetry books, Vicissitudes: The Ups and Downs of Life, in 2008, and Ascension into Love in 2010. Mood Makers Bookstore named her a featured poet in Poetry On the Wall in 2006, and her poem “From Whence We Came” was named Poem of Distinction. Her spoken word can be heard on Jimmie Highsmith Jr.’s 2009 CD, entitled “Jacquin” , his Grammy-nominated 2011 “Anthology of Sound” CD and Lu’s very-own spoken word CD, “Ascension”, released by Variance Records in late 2012.

 For the past 10 years, she has been co-host of one of the longest consecutively-running Open Mic’s in Rochester, “Flowetic Rhythms,” at Gallery one. She founded Roc Bottom Slam Poetry Team and is the founder of the Roc Poetry Collective. Lu is currently a member of the dynamic writing consortium “We All Write”. Highsmith received the 2018 Big Pencil Award from Writers & Books for inspiring the creation and appreciation of literature

Writer’s Paradise 2023 Press Release