On Friday October 20th the Zora Neale Hurston/Richard Wright Legacy awards were held in Washington DC at the Washington Plaza hotel. Colson Whitehead’s The Underground Railroad won for fiction and Kali Nicole Gross won the non fiction award for Hannah Mary Tabbs and the Disembodied Torso: A Tale of Race, Sex, and Violence in America. The debut fiction award went to Damnificados by J.J. Amaworo Wilson and Donika Kelly’s Bestiary won the award for poetry.
“The Hurston/Wright Legacy Award honors the best in Black literature in the United States and around the globe. Introduced in 2001, the Legacy Award was the first national award presented to Black writers by a national organization of Black writers. ” The shortlist and winners are selected by several judges.
The Librarian of Congress, Carla Hayden, received the North Star Award which is given to those with outstanding writing careers and a commitment to helping the writing community. Rep. John Lewis received the Ella Baker Award which is given to artists and writers who advocate for social justice. Third World press founder Haki Madhubuti won the Madam C.J. Walker Award which honors businesses that have shown exceptional innovation in supporting and sustaining Black literature.