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
The sixth annual Black Ink: A Charleston African American Book Festival will be held Thursday, January 13, 2022, through Saturday, January 15, 2022. While 2020 proved to be a challenging year for many, it provided a watershed moment for Black Ink Book Festival. Since hosting an in-person event was not an option due to safety protocols, the Planning Committee decided to host our first-ever virtual festival in January 2021. Instead of the traditional one-day event with author and sponsor tables and a live keynote address, we held a three-day virtual conference with panels for authors, readers, and the general public. Black Ink Book Festival was able to reach over 368 registered attendees and hundreds more who viewed the conference panels and workshops via Facebook Live, YouTube, and Instagram.
Black Ink Book Festival will follow up 2021’s success with another virtual event in 2022. Virtual panels and workshops will be held on Thursday and Friday, culminating with a virtual keynote address from the renowned romance author Beverly Jenkins.
While the overarching goal of the Black Ink Book Festival is to amplify the voices of Black authors and expose the public to the diversity that exists among writers of the region, this year’s event focuses on Black women in romance. According to the 2020 Book Ad Report, the romance genre is a $1.45 billion industry, with the closest genres (mysteries, thrillers, and suspense) coming in at $720 million a year. And yet, of the total numbers of romance books traditionally published in 2020, only 8.3% of them were by authors who are Black, Indigenous, or Persons of Color (BIPOC). In 2014, TheAtlanta.com published a piece that proclaimed college-educated Black women were most likely to read a book in any format (https://archive.is/4axYQ). With this in mind, the Black Ink Book Festival Planning Committee felt it was beyond time to highlight Black women in romance.
Beverly Jenkins is an author of historical and contemporary romance, with a focus on nineteenth-century African American life. She has published over 40 books since 1994, and she continues to be a source of great writing and inspiration in both the Black reader community and the romance community as a whole.
New for the January 2022 Festival:
Virtual conference platform “rooms” for featured authors and sponsors to improve networking and to facilitate outreach and collaboration.
Targeted programming for readers and authors:
o 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 sixth year in January 2022, Black Ink Book Festival 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 nonprofit 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 Kwame Mbalia, Nikki Giovanni, Terry McMillan, Kwame Alexander, and Marcus Amaker. In 2020, the Black Ink Planning 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.
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.