Black Ink Festival goes virtual in January 2021; receives emergency relief funding
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.