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News & Media

Hurston/Wright Foundation Announces 2016 Legacy Awards

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Zora Neale Hurston/Richard Wright Foundation announced the winners and finalists of the 2016 Legacy Awards and paid tribute to celebrated authors Ernest J. Gaines and Junot Díaz on Friday, October 21st in Washington, D.C.
More than 200 literary stars and representatives of the publishing industry, media, arts, politics, and academia attended. National Public Radio’s Michel Martin served as Mistress of Ceremony and novelist Dolen Perkins-Valdez delivered a tribute to the foundation’s namesakes. The highlight of the evening was the naming of the winners of the juried awards for books by Black authors published in 2015 in the categories of debut fiction, fiction, nonfiction, and poetry.
Mitchell Jackson, author of The Residue Years and a former Legacy Awards finalist, presented the North Star Award — the foundation’s highest honor for career accomplishment and inspiration to the writing community — to Ernest J. Gaines, the award-winning author of A Lesson Before Dying. Marita Golden, co-founder of the Hurston/Wright Foundation, presented Junot Díaz, the Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist and founder of Voices of Our Nation, with the Ella Baker Award for championing diversity in MFA programs, his leadership in creating workshops for writers of color, and social justice advocacy.
The winners and finalists of the Legacy Awards are as follows:
Debut Fiction
Mourner’s Bench by Sanderia Faye (The University of Arkansas Press) – Winner

Fiction
Delicious Foods by James Hannaham (Little, Brown and Company) – Winner
The Turner House by Angela Flournoy (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt) – Finalist
The Lost Child by Caryl Phillips (Farrar, Straus and Giroux) – Finalist

Nonfiction
Spectacle: The Astonishing Life of Ota Benga by Pamela Newkirk (Amistad) — Winner
The Light of the World by Elizabeth Alexander (Grand Central Publishing) — Finalist
Confronting Black Jacobins: The United States, the Haitian Revolution, and the Origins of the Dominican Republic by Gerald Horne (Monthly Review Press) – Finalist
Poetry
Forest Primeval by Vievee Francis (TriQuarterly Books/Northwestern University Press) –Winner
Honest Engine by Kyle Dargan (The University of Georgia Press) — Finalist
Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude by Ross Gay (University of Pittsburgh Press) – Finalist

The Award for College Writers, under the sponsorship of Amistad books, a division of Harper Collins Publishers, also was presented Friday night.  Princeton University’s John S. Wilson III won for fiction and Joy Priest of the University of South Carolina won for poetry, both of whom read from their winning works. Honorable mentions were awarded to Clynthia Burton Graham for fiction, and to Vanity Hendricks-Robinson and Latasha D. Johnson for poetry.
The 2016 Hurston/Wright Legacy Awards continue the foundation’s tradition of recognizing literary excellence by writers from the United States as well as the international Black writing community.
The additional nominees, all of whom were announced in June, were:
Debut Fiction
The Star Side of Bird Hill by Naomi Jackson (Penguin Press)
The Fishermen by Chigozie Obioma (Little, Brown and Company)

Fiction
The Sellout by Paul Beatty (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)
Welcome to Braggsville by T. Geronimo Johnson (William Morrow)
Under the Udala Trees by Chinelo Okparanta (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)

Nonfiction
Where Everybody Looks Like Me: At the Crossroads of America’s Black Colleges and Culture by Ron Stodghill (Amistad)
Infectious Madness: The Surprising Science of How We “Catch” Mental Illness by Harriet A. Washington (Little, Brown and Company)
The Beast Side: Living and Dying While Black in America by D. Watkins (Hot Books/Skyhorse Publishing)

Poetry
How to Be Drawn by Terrance Hayes (Penguin Books)
It Seems Like a Mighty Long Time by Angela Jackson (TriQuarterly Books/Northwestern University Press)
Voyage of the Sable Venus by Robin Coste Lewis (Alfred A. Knopf)

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Nunez and Eubanks

Elizabeth Nunez and Ralph Eubanks Present Free Reading

Elizabeth Nunez

Nunez, author of nine novels and a memoir, will be reading from and signing copies of her latest novel, “Even in Paradise.” Her memoir, “Not for Everyday Use,” won the Hurston/Wright 2015 Legacy Award for nonfiction.

“Even in Paradise,” says Kirkus Reviews, is “an epic tale of family betrayal and manipulation couched in superbly engaging prose and peopled with deftly drawn characters. In a story structure as rhythmic as the ebb and flow of the water surrounding Trinidad and Barbados, this revisiting of the classic story of King Lear becomes a subtle, organic exploration of politics, class, race, and privilege. A dazzling, epic triumph.”

W. Ralph Eubanks

Eubanks will be reading from and signing “The House at the End of the Road.” The sequel to his acclaimed memoir, “Ever is a Long Time,” charts the nation’s complicated ideas of race through three generations of his own family.

“Eubanks’s story about his grandparents — an American mixed-race couple living openly (and precariously) in the cold heart of 1920s Jim Crow Alabama — enacts the liberating magic of literature: it finds truth in between conventional wisdom and sociological presumption, in between lies and faulty history. It is a story of race, of family, of place itself, and it tells us that compassion and the stirring force of individual human endeavor finally mean more than anything.” — Richard Ford

Presented by Politics and Prose Bookstore, in conjunction with The Hurston/Wright Foundation’s summer writing workshop, where Elizabeth Nunez and W. Ralph Eubanks are workshop leaders.

Date: August 10, 2016

Time: 6:30 p.m.

Location: Busboys & Poets Takoma
235 Carroll St. NW Washington

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Ernest J. Gaines

Ernest J. Gaines and Junot Díaz to Receive 2016 Legacy Awards

Nominees Announced for Debut Fiction, Fiction, Nonfiction, and Poetry

 

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Zora Neale Hurston/Richard Wright Foundation will present the 2016 Legacy Awards on Friday, October 21st at the historic Washington Plaza Hotel in Washington, D.C.

Receiving the North Star Award – the foundation’s highest honor for career accomplishment and inspiration to the writing community – is Ernest J. Gaines, the award-winning author of A Lesson Before Dying. Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Junot Díaz will receive the Ella Baker Award, which recognizes writers for work that advances social justice.

Gaines has received numerous awards, including the Presidential National Medal of Arts from President Barack Obama in 2012. Others honors include the National Humanities Medal, the National Book Critics Circle Award, the Louisiana Humanist of the Year and a MacArthur Foundation “Genius” Fellowship. In 2000, he was made a Chevalier (Knight) of the French Order of Arts and Letters. Gaines serves as writer-in-residence emeritus at University of Louisiana at Lafayette (formerly University of Southwestern Louisiana). Many of Gaines’ works are taught in schools and are celebrated in the canon of world literature. Some of his most-read are The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman and A Gathering of Old Men.

Díaz is the author of the critically acclaimed Drown and The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, which won the 2008 Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award. He is a co-founder of Voices of Our Nation Arts (VONA) workshop and advocates for writers of color. He also is the recipient of a MacArthur Foundation “Genius” Fellowship, PEN/Malamud Award, Dayton Literary Peace Prize, Guggenheim Fellowship and PEN/O. Henry Award.

The evening will culminate in the announcement of the winners of the juried awards for books by Black authors published in 2015 in the categories of debut fiction, fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. The ceremony draws an audience of more than 200 literary stars and representatives of the publishing industry, media, arts, politics, and academia. The 2016 Hurston/Wright Legacy Awards continue the foundation’s tradition of recognizing literary excellence by writers from the United States as well as the international Black writing community. Winners of the Hurston/Wright Award for College Writers, under the sponsorship of Amistad books, a division of Harper Collins Publishers, also will be honored.

 

The Nominees for the 2016 Hurston/Wright Legacy Awards are:

Debut Fiction

Mourner’s Bench by Sanderia Faye (The University of Arkansas Press)

The Star Side of Bird Hill by Naomi Jackson (Penguin Press)

The Fishermen by Chigozie Obioma (Little, Brown and Company)

Fiction

The Sellout by Paul Beatty (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)

The Turner House by Angela Flournoy (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)

Delicious Foods by James Hannaham (Little, Brown and Company)

Welcome to Braggsville by T. Geronimo Johnson (William Morrow)

Under the Udala Trees by Chinelo Okparanta (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)

The Lost Child by Caryl Phillips (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)

Nonfiction

The Light of the World by Elizabeth Alexander (Grand Central Publishing)

Confronting Black Jacobins: The United States, the Haitian Revolution, and the Origins of the Dominican Republic by Gerald Horne (Monthly Review Press)

Spectacle: The Astonishing Life of Ota Benga by Pamela Newkirk (Amistad)

Where Everybody Looks Like Me: At the Crossroads of America’s Black Colleges and Culture by Ron Stodghill (Amistad)

Infectious Madness: The Surprising Science of How We “Catch” Mental Illness by Harriet A. Washington (Little, Brown and Company)

The Beast Side: Living and Dying While Black in America by D. Watkins (Hot Books/Skyhorse Publishing)

Poetry

Honest Engine by Kyle Dargan (The University of Georgia Press)

Forest Primeval by Vievee Francis (TriQuarterly Books/Northwestern University Press)

Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude by Ross Gay (University of Pittsburgh Press)

How to Be Drawn by Terrance Hayes (Penguin Books)

It Seems Like a Mighty Long Time by Angela Jackson (TriQuarterly Books/Northwestern University Press)

Voyage of the Sable Venus by Robin Coste Lewis (Alfred A. Knopf)

The judges:

Debut Fiction — Mitchell S. Jackson, Laila Lalami and Nelly Rosario

Fiction — Jeffery Renard Allen, April Mosolino and Nancy Rawles

Nonfiction — Charles E. Cobb Jr., Natalie Hopkinson and Lawrence P. Jackson

Poetry — Amaud Jamaul Johnson, Evie Shockley and Patricia Smith

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Winners Announced in the 2016 Hurston/Wright Award for College Writers

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Zora Neale Hurston/Richard Wright Foundation announces the winners of the 2016 Award for College Writers in fiction and poetry.
In the fiction category, John S. Wilson III of Princeton University wins the $1,000 prize for his story “4, 6, 8.” The honorable mention in fiction and $250 goes to Clynthia Burton Graham of the University of Baltimore for her story “Miss Sage’s Anniversary Celebration.”
In the poetry category, Joy Priest of Rutgers University-Newark wins the $1,000 prize for her collection of eight poems. Two honorable mention prizes of $250 go to Vanity Hendricks-Robinson of Manhattanville College and Latasha D. Johnson of SUNY College at Brockport.
The fiction judge was Tiphanie Yanique, a novelist, 2015 Legacy Award honoree, and a professor in the MFA program at the New School in New York City. Commenting on the winning selection, Yanique said, “The prose was lovely and often bold on the level both of word choice and sentence.”
The poetry judge was Roger Reeves, a poet, 2015 Legacy Award honoree in poetry, and assistant professor of poetry at the University of Chicago. Reeves said, Priest’s work “exhibited an amazing amount of formal range and figurative rigor.”
The Hurston/Wright Award for College Writers is presented to Black college writers in the genres of fiction and poetry. For the third year, the award will be presented through the sponsorship of Amistad books, a division of Harper Collins Publishers. Tracy Sherrod, editorial director of Amistad said, “Amistad is invested in the growth of young writers. One of the ways we proudly show our support is by funding the College Writers Award.”
The award – the longest running program of the Hurston/Wright Foundation – encourages college creative writers with support early in their writing careers. Deborah Heard, executive director of the foundation, said “This early recognition has been rewarding for many young writers who go on to successful publishing careers.” Former Hurston/Wright college writers who have found publishing success include Brittany Bennett, Nate Marshall, Natalie Baszile, Mitchell S. Jackson, Jacinda Townsend, Tayari Jones, Ravi Howard, and David Anthony Durham.

The college winners and honorable mentions will be honored at the Hurston/Wright Legacy Awards ceremony in Washington, D.C., on Friday October 21st. The evening features the announcement of the winners of the juried awards for debut fiction, fiction, nonfiction, and poetry, as well as the presentation of awards for career achievements, before an audience of more than 200 literary stars and representatives of the publishing industry, media, politics, arts,  and academia. The 2016 Hurston/Wright Legacy Awards continue the foundation’s tradition of recognizing literary excellence by writers from the United States as well as the international Black writing community

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Publishers Weekly covers the 2015 Hurston/Wright Legacy Awards

Founded to support African-American literature and named after celebrated black writers Zora Neal Hurston and Richard Wright, the nonprofit Hurston/Wright Foundation marked its 25th anniversary with the appointment of a new executive director. The foundation also announced the winners of the annual H/W Legacy Awards, given for literary achievement.

One of the foundation’s activities is sponsoring the H/W Legacy Awards, annual literary prizes presented to the best African-American-focused books of the year. The awards were presented last week at a gala ceremony at the Washington Plaza Hotel in Washington, D.C.

Read the article

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Washington Post covers the 2015 Hurston/Wright Legacy Awards

National Book Award-winning poet Nikky Finney and Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Yusef Komunyakaa read works they wrote in tribute to Richard Wright and Zora Neale Hurston, who once said that black writers “passed nations through their mouths.”

“Her two calico dresses are with her for sure. A good strong bonnet, one jar of sea shells all stuffed away,” Finney read, her voice booming into the mic. “You will find the indigo swirling from neck to him to rim on every bit of everything. The same color of the southern sky that is impossible to wash out.”

Read the article

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Hurston/Wright Foundation
Presents 2015 Legacy Awards

The Zora Neale Hurston/Richard Wright Foundation announces the 2015 Hurston/Wright Legacy Awards Winners and Finalists:

Legacy Award winners and finalists FICTION

Winner: Laila Lalami, The Moor’s Account
Finalist: Roxane Gay, An Untamed State
Finalist: Tiphanie Yanique, Land of Love and Drowning

Legacy Award winners and finalists NONFICTION

Winner: Elizabeth Nunez, Not for Everyday Use
Finalist: Charles M. Blow, Fire Shut Up in My Bones
Finalist: Charles Cobb, This Nonviolent Stuff’ll Get You Killed

Legacy Award winners and finalists POETRY

Winner: Claudia Rankine, Citizen
Finalist: Geffrey Davis, Revising the Storm
Finalist: Roger Reeves, King Me

Winners of the Hurston/Wright Founding Members Award for College Writers

POETRY
Winner: 
Renia White for poetry

FICTON
Winner: Grace Jean-Pierre
Honorable Mention: 
Sarah Daniele Dickerson
Honorable Mention: Jasmine Evans

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The 14th Annual Legacy Awards on Friday, October 23, 2015

The 14th Annual Legacy Awards

Friday, October 23, 2015

7:30 pm

The Washington Plaza Hotel
10 Thomas Circle, NW

Washington, DC 20015

 

Honoring:
North Star Award Recipient
Edwidge Danticat
and winners of the Legacy Awards
in Fiction, Nonfiction, and Poetry
and the College Writers Awards
Literary Salutes by Special Guests:
Poets Nikky Finney
and
Yusef Komunyakaa
Mistress of Ceremonies:
S. Epatha Merkerson

Dessert Reception and Authors Pavilion
immediately following
the awards ceremony

Purchase Your Ticket

Meet the family of Hurston/Wright writers,
the top Black writers in literature
Doors open at 7pm
Self-parking garage is available
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Legacy Award Nominees Reading at Busboys and Poets on October 22, 2015

We Celebrate the 2015 Hurston/Wright Legacy Awards

Nominees for the Hurston/Wright Legacy Awards
in fiction, nonfiction, and poetry read from their nominated books on
the eve of the Legacy Awards Ceremony

Thursday October 22, 6:30 p. m.

Busboys and Poets Brookland 625 Monroe Street N.E.

  • Ishmael Beah author of the novel Radiance of Tomorrow
  • Saladin Ambar author of Malcolm X at Oxford Union
  • Geffrey Davis author of the poetry collection Revising the Storm
  • Brian Gilmore author of the poetry collection We Didn’t Know Any Gangsters

Busboys and Poets 14th and V Street N.W.

  • Tiphanie Yanique author of the novel Land of Love and Drowning
  • Laila Lalami author of the novel The Moor’s Account
  • Charles E. Cobb author of This Nonviolent Stuff’ll Get You Killed
  • Roger Reeves author of the poetry collection King Me

 

Please note that the readings at each location will begin at 6:30

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Showdown

A Conversation with Wil Haygood on September 21 at 6:00 pm

Join Us for a Conversation with Wil Haygood

author of

Showdown Thurgood Marshall and the Supreme Court Nomination That Changed America

Wil Haygood will be Interviewed by Sheryll Cashin, former Clerk to Justice Marshall.

Featuring Special Guest Congressman Elijah E. Cummings.

Monday, September 21, 2015

6:00 pm: Reception

7:00 pm: Conversation with author Wil Haygood

 

Howard University School of Law – Dunbarton Chapel

2900 Van Ness Street N.W./ Houston Hall – 355

(off Connecticut Avenue)

Washington, D.C 20008

Books will be available for purchase

Donate

 

 

Wil HaygoodWil Haygood

A Guggenheim and National Endowment for the Humanities fellow and a former writer for the Washington Post, Wil Haygood has been described as a cultural historian. He is the author of a trio of iconic biographies. His King of the Cats: The Life and Times of Adam Clayton Powell, Jr., told the story of the enigmatic New York congressman and was named a New York Times Notable Book of the Year. That was followed—after publication of a family memoir—by In Black and White: The Life of Sammy Davis, Jr., which was awarded the ASCAP Deems Taylor Music Biography Award, the Zora Neale Hurston-Richard Wright Legacy Award, and the Nonfiction Book of the Year Award from the Black Caucus of the American Library Association. In 2009, he wrote Sweet Thunder: The Life and Times of Sugar Ray Robinson, which told the story of the famed New York pugilist known as much for his prowess in the ring as his elegant style outside of it. Haygood is an associate producer of Lee Daniels’ The Butler. Wil is a Distinguished Professor at Miami University of Ohio.

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CummingsElijah Cummings

Since 1996, Congressman Elijah E. Cummings has served as the Representative of Maryland’s 7th Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives. He was born and raised in Baltimore and obtained his Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science from Howard University, graduating Phi Beta Kappa. He is a graduate of the University of Maryland School of Law.

Congressman Cummings is dedicated to uplifting and empowering the people he is sworn to represent. He began his career of public service in the Maryland House of Delegates, where he served for 14 years and became the first African American in Maryland history to be named Speaker Pro Tem.  Congressman Cummings often says that our children are the living messages that we send to a future we will never see. Congressman Cummings serves as the Ranking Member of the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. He is also a senior member of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure.

Congressman Cummings serves on numerous boards and commissions. He holds the 2014-2015 Gwendolyn S. and Colbert I. King Endowed Chair in Public Policy Lecture Series at Howard University.

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CashinHeadshot13Sheryll Cashin

Sheryll Cashin is a Professor of Law at Georgetown University and the author, most recently, of Place, Not Race: A New Vision of Opportunity in America. Her first book, The Failures of Integration, was an Editors’ Choice in the New York Times Book Review and a nominee for the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award. Her memoir, The Agitator’s Daughter, was a Legacy Award nominee as well. Cashin’s writing also has appeared in the New York Times, the L.A. Times and the Washington Post.

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