Help inspire hundreds of readers

and encourage local African-American authors








For its fifth year, the Black Ink Festival will amplify the voices of black authors and expose the public to the diversity that exists among writers of the region. In January 2021, the festival will be hosted virtually in the interest of public health during the COVID-19 pandemic. While not in person, the festival is still sure to inspire and enlighten participants. 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.


New for the January 2021 Festival:

  • Hosted virtually with programming offered for three days (January 14-16).

  • Private Facebook Group for authors and sponsors to improve networking and to facilitate outreach and collaboration.

  • Targeted programming for readers and authors:

    • The programs aimed at readers will include access to book clubs and authors reading from their works.

    • The programs designed for authors will feature workshops on craft, publishing, and marketing. 

About Black Ink:

Black Ink: A Charleston African-American Book Festival is the first and only annual celebration of African-American literature in South Carolina. Celebrating its fifth year in January 2021, Black Ink serves as a platform to support local Black writers, creating a space for them to share their work, discuss their craft, and expose readers of all ages to the great variety of African-American authors in the area. With the support of community-conscious sponsors, Black Ink: A Charleston African-American Book Festival will impact the lives of hundreds of readers, both young and old.


Black Ink is presented by the Charleston Friends of the Library, a non-profit organization dedicated to increasing the Charleston County Public Library’s resources, stimulating use of the Library, and developing and supporting educational and literacy programs. Previous Black Ink sponsors have included the Charleston County Public Library, College of Charleston’s Race and Social Justice Initiative, Library Foundation of the Lowcountry, College of Charleston Friends of the Library, South Carolina Humanities, Avery Research Center of the College of Charleston, T-Mobile, Lagunitas Brewery, Law Offices of David Aylor, Palmetto Surety, Statehouse Report, South State Bank, Rotary Club Charleston, and YWCA and YMCA of Greater Charleston.


Previous festivals have welcomed hundreds of attendees and garnered positive publicity. The previous keynote speakers have included Nikki Giovanni, Terry McMillan, Kwame Alexander, and Marcus Amaker. In 2020, the Black Ink Committee created new programming and adjusted the date of its major annual event. To maintain engagement and momentum during this time of transition, we have been hosting smaller, but more regular, events including cohosting National Book Award nominees Akwaeke Emezi and Jericho Brown, an African-American Poetry Panel discussion, a book giveaway and virtual book club discussion with Kwame Mbalia and more.


In this sponsorship packet you will find detailed information about the Festival and how you, as a sponsor, can receive the maximum benefits and exposure. If you have any questions or require our assistance, please do not hesitate to contact us at the phone number or e-mail address above. For more information about Black Ink, visit



Djuanna Brockington                                                                   Susan Hoffius

Co-chair, Black Ink Festival                                                           President, Charleston Friends of the Library

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