Black Ink Book Festival Celebrates and Supports African American Authors

The Charleston Friends of the Library 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. By giving Black authors a space to share their craft, network, and connect with readers, Black Ink is making waves in a literary ocean,” Charleston Friends of the Library Executive Director Jeanell Marvin said. “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 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. at Memminger Auditorium, 56 Beaufain St., Charleston. 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 #1 poet for the spring of 2007. In addition to Giovanni, who will speak at 2 p.m., 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 Charleston Friends of the Library are proud to present this year’s Black Ink Book Festival, along with the following sponsors: MOJA Arts Festival; College of Charleston’s Race and Social Justice Initiative, Charleston County Public Library; South Carolina Humanities; The College of Charleston’s Avery Research Center for African American History and Culture; College of Charleston’s Friends of the Library; Evening Post Books; Rotary Club of Charleston; YMCA of Greater Charleston; USC Press; Kindle Direct Publishing; Palmetto Surety Corporation; Synovus Bank; and EBSCO. For more information, visit or email Jeanell Marvin at [email protected]

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