Kwame
Mbalia

The New York Times bestselling author is the keynote speaker for the 2021 Black Ink Festival.

Jan. 16, 2021  

sponsor black ink festival 2021
Businesses and organizations may sign up to be a sponsor of the virtual festival that will help amplify the voices of black authors and connect them with readers
Published Oct. 13, 2020

The Black Ink Festival is currently looking for sponsors for its 2021 virtual event, which will amplify the voices of black authors. Sponsors will have the opportunity to reach beyond Charleston to attendees from the southeast region and the country, who will be invited to learn about dozens of black writers and their work as well as topics related to writing, publishing and reading. The Black Ink Committee believes the festival’s impact is even greater in its fifth year due to the public dialogue taking place regarding equality and race. 

 

Black writers have faced struggles in publishing for decades. In the fight for racial equality and social justice in the last year, change has never been more palpable. In June, largely in response to the demands of more than 1,000 publishing employees, three of the five major publishers issued statements with their intentions to diversify the workforce and publish more writers of color. Many underrepresented writers believe that 2020 could become that watershed moment, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

 

“America’s racial awakening in the wake of the police killing of George Floyd has resulted in a major shift for the book publishing industry, with titles by black authors and those dealing with race issues seeing an uptick in sales,” according to the New York Daily News.

 

Amid this movement, Black Ink will further highlight the importance of diversifying our literary landscape. In our 2021 festival, New York Times bestselling author Kwame Mbalia will be the featured presenter and providing the keynote address. Mbalia, who writes middle-grade titles, authored “Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky,” and has a sequel to be released later this year. His personable, energetic style will engage readers of all ages and the dozens of black authors who will be featured during the festival will be able to share their work with the world.

 

While the festival will be presented virtually, we are offering expanded content and workshops designed to reach a broader audience. With a virtual platform, we expect readers and authors from around the country and indeed, around the world, to participate in the festival that exposes them to black authors and new perspectives.

 

If your business or organization is interested in becoming a sponsor, please contact Susan Hoffius at 843-805-6882 or Director@CharlestonLibraryFriends.org. To make a donation, click here. For more information about the LAE, click here. Black Ink is hosted by the Charleston Friends of the Library in partnership with the Charleston County Public Library.

Black Ink Receives $5,000 in funding from Literary Arts Emergency Fund for 2021 Festival
Black Ink Festival goes virtual in January 2021; receives emergency relief funding
Published Sept. 30, 2020

Black Ink: A Charleston African American Book Festival is being awarded $5,000 from the Literary Arts Emergency Fund for its next festival, which is taking place Jan. 14-16, 2021. The event will be virtual in the interest of public health during the COVID-19 pandemic. While not in person,the free festival is still sure to inspire and enlighten participants. 
 

“Now more than ever, the festival’s impact is even greater due to the existing public dialogue taking place about equality and race,” said Black Ink’s Committee Chair Djuanna Brockington. “There is a current shift occurring in the book publishing industry with a greater focus on diversity among writers. Amid this movement, Black Ink is positioned to continue highlighting the importance of diversifying our literary landscape and amplifying those voices.” 
 

The free festival will host New York Times bestselling author Kwame Mbalia as its keynote speaker. Mbalia is a middle-grade writer who authored novel Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky. His sequel Tristan Strong Destroys the World will be published in October by Rick Riordan Presents/Disney-Hyperion. He is a graduate of Howard University and currently resides in North Carolina with his wife and children. Previous keynote speakers of the festival include Nikki Giovanni, Terry McMillan, Kwame Alexander and Marcus Amaker. 

In its fifth year, the annual event will feature dozens of African American authors, most from the Lowcountry and surrounding areas. It will also host workshops for authors and programs for readers throughout the two-day virtual event, which is free for the public. 
 

The application for the featured authors will be launched soon. Black Ink is made possible thanks to sponsorships, funding from the Charleston Friends of the Library, donations and grants. The $5,000 in funding from the Literary Arts Emergency Fund, which was announced last week, is administered by the Academy of American Poets, the Community of Literary Magazine and Presses and the National Book Foundation, which distributed more than $3.5 million in emergency funding to 282 nonprofit organizations, including Black Ink. 
 

“The Black Ink Festival planning committee is appreciative of the grant from the Literary Arts Emergency Fund, as this grant will allow us to continue to highlight and amplify the voices of local and regional Black authors, as we have done for the last four years,” said Brockington. “It will enable readers to engage with their favorite writers, as well as introduce Black writers, books and characters to a larger audience. Because of the LAE Fund, the Black Ink Festival can continue to demonstrate that diversity in storytelling is all around us. And you don't have to look far to find it.”
 

Black Ink is still in need of sponsorships. If your business or organization is interested in becoming a sponsor, please contact Susan Hoffius at 843-805-6882 or Director@CharlestonLibraryFriends.org. To make a donation, click here. For more information about the LAE, click here. Black Ink is hosted by the Charleston Friends of the Library in partnership with the Charleston County Public Library.

Black Ink Announces 2021 Keynote:
Kwame Mbalia
Published July 15, 2020

Black Ink: A Charleston African American Book Festival will host New York Times bestselling author Kwame Mbalia during its 2021 festival. The author of the middle-grade novel Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky will be featured as the keynote speaker.

Now more than ever, it is imperative to amplify Black voices. A middle-grade book featuring a young Black protagonist as the hero is a story that needs to be read by all ages-by everyone. We’re excited to have Mbalia inspire and interact with readers of the Charleston community.

Mbalia’s sequel Tristan Strong Destroys the World will be published in October by Rick Riordan Presents/Disney-Hyperion. He is a graduate of Howard University and currently resides in North Carolina with his wife and children. 

Get details about the 2021 event and the sponsorship opportunities available. 

© 2019 by Charleston Friends of the Library