Hurston/Wright Foundation Legacy Awards 2018 nominees announced.

The Hurston/Wright Foundation Legacy Awards 2018 nominees have been announced and feature writers and poets with African roots. They include Lesley Nneka Arimah, Peter Kimani, Alain Mabanckou, Zinzi Clemmons, Yewande Omotoso, and Kwame Dawes.

The Hurston/Wright Foundation is named for US African American literary geniuses Zora Neale Hurston and Richard Wright. The Hurston/Wright Legacy Award honours the best in Black literature in the United States and around the globe. Introduced in 2001, the Legacy Award was the first national award in the USA presented to Black writers by a national organization of Black writers. Fiction, nonfiction and poetry honorees are selected in a juried competition. Some of the previous winners include Colson Whitehead, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Chris Abani, Aminatta Forna, Kwame Dawes, and Uwem Akpan.

The class of 2018 nominees were announced and they include names that have been featured on this blog quite a bit in the last few moons. The judges for the prizes are Angela Flournoy, Donna Hemans, and Ravi Howard for Debut Novel; Amina Gautier, Chinelo Okparanta, and JJ Amaworo Wilson for Fiction; Gretchen Holbrook Gerzina, E. Patrick Johnson, and William P. Jones for Nonfiction; and Lillian-Yvonne Bertram, A.Van Jordan, and Willie Perdomo for Poetry. Here are the names that have featured in this year’s list with those with ties to the continent bolded.

Debut Novel.

  • What We Lose, Zinzi Clemmons (Viking).
  • The Talented Ribkins, Ladee Hubbard (Melville House Publishing).
  • An Unkindness of Ghosts, Rivers Solomon (Akashic Books)


  • What It Means When a Man Falls from the Sky, Lesley Nneka Arimah (Riverhead Books).
  • The Tragedy of Brady Sims, Ernest J. Gaines (Vintage Contemporaries).
  • Dance of the Jakaranda, Peter Kimani (Akashic Books).
  • Black Moses, Alain Mabanckou (The New Press).
  • The Woman Next Door, Yewande Omotoso (Picador).
  • Sing, Unburied, Sing, Jesmyn Ward (Scribner)


  • City of Bones, Kwame Dawes (TriQuarterly Books/Northwestern University Press).
  • Trophic Cascade, Camille T. Dungy (Wesleyan University Press).
  • In the Language of My Captor, Shane McCrae (Wesleyan University Press).
  • Ordinary Beast, Nicole Sealey (Ecco).
  • Semiautomatic, Evie Shockley (Wesleyan University Press).
  • Incendiary Art, Patricia Smith (TriQuarterly Books/Northwestern University Press).

The winner will be announced at a ceremony in Washington DC, USA on Friday, October 19th.


2 responses to “Hurston/Wright Foundation Legacy Awards 2018 nominees announced.”

  1. Lee Jenkins avatar
    Lee Jenkins

    How does one make a submission to the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award?

    1. James Murua avatar
      James Murua

      You can learn more about the awards here

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