African American Builders of Topeka: Annette Billings


“My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style.”

—Maya Angelou

Annette Hope Billings is an award-winning poet/ playwright/actress dubbed by her fans as “Maya of the Midwest.” Her body of work includes poetry, short stories and plays. A nurse for decades before becoming a full-time writer, her broad range of life experiences and deep penchant for caring come through clearly in her writing.

As a nurse and a poet, she believes she has been a part of building the Topeka community. She believes pairing them will encourage people to think about the not-so-obvious connections in the life of an individual and in the community in which they live.

Her artwork that won an ARTY could be seen as multi-colored arms of art reaching upward and outward to touch the lives of people the same way the arms of a nurse do.