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4th Annual Black Ink African American Book Festival to be held Saturday



Press Release

The Charleston Friends of the Library (CFOL) aims to answer the call to diversify reading by celebrating and supporting Black authors. With Black authors being underrepresented at book festivals and the lack of Black authored books present at our branch book sales, CFOL strives to make a change by offering a space where Black authors can connect and showcase their work. 

On Saturday, October 5, 2019, the Charleston Friends of the Library will present the 4th annual Black Ink African American Book Festival to ensure that black authors get the same fighting chance at literary glory as anyone else.

This yearly festival is the city’s annual celebration of African American literature in the Charleston area and serves as a platform to support local Black writers, creating a space for them to sell their work, discuss their craft, and expose readers of all ages to the great variety of African-American authors in the area. The event also attracts publishers, book clubs, libraries, and individual readers from the Lowcountry and nationwide.

For the first time, CFOL will partner with the MOJA Arts Festival and the College of Charleston’s Race and Social Justice Initiative to host the event.

“As an adolescent, finding books with characters that looked like me was rare, and the handful of Black authors that were represented at the bookstore or school library were the ones I clung to,” Jeanell Marvin, executive director of the festival, said. “By giving Black authors a space to share their craft, network, and connect with readers, Black Ink is making waves in a literary ocean. This event will inspire writers and readers of all ages.”

The fourth annual Black Ink: A Charleston African American Book Festival will be held on Saturday, October 5, 2019, from 11 am to 5 pm at Memminger Auditorium (56 Beaufain St.). The event is free and open to the public, and the keynote speaker is acclaimed poet and author Nikki Giovanni.

One of the most widely read American poets, Giovanni has written more than two dozen books, including volumes of poetry, illustrated children’s books, and three collections of essays. The Academy of American Poets voted Giovanni the number one poet for the spring of 2007. In addition to Giovanni, who will speak at 2 pm, more than 60 other authors will offer their fiction and histories, poetry and spoken word, self-help and inspirational, children’s and young adult books.

The night before the book festival, a reception will take place at the City Gallery at Waterfront Park (34 Prioleau Street) from 6 pm to 8 pm. All of the festival’s authors and sponsors have been invited to connect with guests one-on-one. Tickets for the public are limited and can be purchased online here.

For more information, visit

The Charleston Friends of the Library is an organization dedicated to increasing the Charleston County Public Library’s resources, stimulating the use of the Library, and developing and supporting educational and literacy programs.

Library Presents Panel Discussions for Authors 

In support of Black Ink, the Charleston County Public Library is presenting three panel discussions for local authors and aspiring authors. All panels will take place at the Main Branch of the library, on 68 Calhoun Street in downtown Charleston. They are free and open to all.

On Wednesday, October 2nd, at 5 pm, representatives from Arbordale Publishing, the University of South Carolina Press, Arcadia Publishing, and Evening Post Books will discuss “So You Want To Be Published.” They’ll explain what they look for in submissions and provide a real-life glimpse into today’s publishing industry.

On that same day at 6:30 pm, local fiction writers D. M. Brockington and Savannah J. Frierson will discuss many aspects of self-publishing, including book designs and layouts, editing, marketing, and distribution.

On Friday, October 4th at 4 pm, authors Joyce Hansen and Angel Harriott will address “Representation and Inclusivity in Children’s and Young Adult Literature,” alongside local librarian Deborah Wheeler. Hansen has published more than a dozen books for young adult readers and children and has won a number of national awards. Harriott has published two history titles for young readers, Journey to the Sea Islands: Gullah Geechee Good! and Journey to Nubia and Kemet: Exploring African History, Cultu

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