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Poet Nikki Giovanni to headline Black Ink book festival

Nikki Giovanni

Poet Nikki Giovanni will headline the 2019 Black Ink book festival at Memminger Auditorium. File

Poet-activist Nikki Giovanni will be the keynote speaker at the Black Ink book festival, slated for 2 p.m. Oct. 5 at Memminger Auditorium, 56 Beaufain St.

The festival, a program of the Charleston Friends of the Library and a part of the MOJA Arts Festival, celebrates African American authors.

Admission is free, though advance registration is required for attending the keynote address. Reserve tickets are available at

Giovanni, a veteran of the civil rights movement, has written more than two dozen books, including volumes of poetry, illustrated children’s books and three collections of essays. She is a distinguished professor at Virginia Tech.

She has received 21 honorary doctorates and a host of other awards, including the Governors’ Awards in the Arts from both Tennessee and Virginia.

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"Rosa," her biography of civil rights activist Rosa Parks, won Caldecott Honors and the Coretta Scott King Medal for best illustrated book.

Three of her volumes of poetry — "Love Poems," "Blues: For All the Changes" and "Quilting the Black-Eyed Pea" — were winners of the NAACP Image Award in 1998, 2000 and 2003.

The Nikki Giovanni Poetry Collection, a spoken-word CD, was a finalist for the 2003 Grammy Award in the category of spoken word.

“She’s one of the most noted poets in America today and an inspiration for many," said Jeanell Marvin, director of the Charleston Friends of the Library, in a statement. "Whether she’s reading her own works or talking about contemporary issues, Nikki Giovanni has something to say that we all should pay attention to.”

In addition to Giovanni’s keynote address, Black Ink will feature dozens of African American authors, most from the Charleston area. They will display and sell books. Authors are encouraged to sign up for Black Ink at

Contact Adam Parker at or 843-937-5902.

Adam Parker has covered many beats and topics for The Post and Courier, including race in America, religion, and the arts. He is the author of "Outside Agitator: The Civil Rights Struggle of Cleveland Sellers Jr.," published by Hub City Press.

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