By Norma Stanley | November 2022
Tamika Newhouse knew she wanted to be a writer at an early age, and published her first book at age 12, Now, just a couple of decades later, Newhouse is not only a writer, but an award-winning, national bestselling author of nearly 20 books.
Over the past 13 years, Newhouse created a growing publishing enterprise that has ushered in much needed national recognition and opportunities for hundreds of aspiring and established Black writers across the country. These writers include authors, poets, as well as screenwriters for film and television.
“I’ve always been about making connections and providing real opportunities for aspiring and established writers in our community, and I am so very thankful that we have been able to honor and recognize hundreds of writers since 2009 with the AAMBC Awards,” shared Newhouse, founder of six companies, including Delphine Publications, which produces the highly anticipated annual Black Writers Festival Weekend, featuring a number of events like the AAMBC Awards, Cre8tivCon and the Urban Book Bash.
Newhouse says her mission with her publication company and its programs, is to develop interactive, literary-based programs centered around African-American books and their authors, as well as to advocate for literary arts, literacy and bridging the opportunity gap for black writers.
“We created the Black Writers Weekend in 2008, which has attracted thousands of attendees in cities like Baltimore, Chicago and San Antonio, before we found a home for the Festival and AAMBC Awards in Atlanta, and we are proud to be the nation’s only awards show for African American creatives in publishing, film and television,” she said.
In addition to sharing critical information on navigating the publishing world for both aspiring and established writers, as well as recognizing those who are forging a path of success in the industry, Newhouse has also honored some Black literary legends. These include culturally popular authors like Nikki Giovanni, Zane, Francis Ray at past AAMBC Awards events. This year, she honored best-selling author, Terry McMillan, who wrote books which were turned into super successful movies which resonated with Black women, like “Waiting to Exhale” and “When Stella Got Her Groove Back.”
“We were all so excited to have Ms. McMillan share a bit of her journey and literary wisdom with attendees at the Black Writers Weekend’s AAMBC Awards,” shared Newhouse. “She has achieved the kind of success we would all love to experience and it was an honor to both meet her and present her with our Literary Legend Award for her extraordinary work at the AAMBC this year,” she said.
A teenage mother who became a CEO by the age of 20, Newhouse has herself become a reliable staple in the rise of black fiction authors over the past 13 years. Her early success includes landing a contract with a major publisher just nine months after self-publishing her first novel, without having an agent. Her books share stories of success, self-love, romance and passion, and has resulted in her being honored with eight African American Literary Awards.
“Teaching people how to be great is a big part of my personal and professional mission, and that’s what we work to do as part of the Black Writers Weekend,” shared Newhouse. “You can’t be afraid of the challenge before you, you have to give it your best shot,” she said. “I have six different businesses now, but at age 23, when I first started Delphine Publications, I did just that and before long had 30 writers signed to my publishing company,” Newhouse continued. “At the time I was a struggling single mother with a four-year-old daughter and nine-month-old son. They are now 15 and 20 and are themselves pursuing entrepreneurship, so the legacy continues,” she said.
Always creating new opportunities for herself and her literary tribe to grow and expand, Newhouse has been described as the Shonda Rimes of Black Publishing by Adweek. She tours the country curating literary-infused events to heighten interest and awareness in the importance of literacy in our communities, as well as the works of African-American writers. She currently leads a team of writers developing original films, TV shows and reality programming through her media company, Delphine Legacy Media.
In addition, Newhouse is the producer and host of the Traces of Mika podcast and audio series on society and culture, designed for Black girls who dare to dream. The podcast shares her journey as a single mother and entrepreneur, and features unscripted conversations with Newhouse’s friends, family and celebrity writers. The creative, producer and entrepreneur shows no signs of slowing down any time soon and plans are already in the works for the 2023 Black Writers Weekend and the AAMBC Awards, which is scheduled to take place August 4-6 in Atlanta.
As she positions herself for a successful 2023, Newhouse says she isn’t afraid to dream of what’s next and what’s possible to build on what she’s accomplished to date, and strongly encourages others to do the same.
“We should never be intimidated by those who may share the same dream…there’s room for all of us to be successful and we can all have what we dream about. It all comes down to connections, relationships and looking out for one another,” said Newhouse, “We’re thankful that we have been able to help some Black writers achieve some of their dreams, including getting recognized for their work and even helping writers who now have Netflix deals,” she continued. “We are really just scratching the surface and look forward to what the future holds for writers of color in the literary arts space,” she said.