Hurston/Wright Foundation Legacy Awards

Hurston/Wright Foundation Legacy Awards 2020 nominees announced.

The nominees for the Hurston/Wright Foundation Legacy Awards 2020 featuring writers and poets with African roots were announced on July 23, 2020.

The Hurston/Wright Legacy Award, named for US African American literary ancestors Zora Neale Hurston and Richard Wright, honours the best in Black literature in the United States and around the globe. Introduced in 2001, the Legacy Award for fiction, nonfiction and poetry was the first national award in the United States presented to Black writers by a national organization of Black writers. Some of the previous winners have been Alain Mabanckou, Colson Whitehead, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Chris Abani, Aminatta Forna, and Kwame Dawes.

The 2020 Hurston/Wright Legacy Awards are being judged by Preston Allen, Ladee Hubbard, and Chigozie Obioma for Debut Fiction; Chris Abani, Sanderia Faye, and Alain Mabanckou for Fiction; Danielle Allen, Gerald Horne, and Noliwe Rooks for Nonfiction; and Kwoya Fagin Maples, Patricia Smith, Phillip Williams for Poetry. These panels of former honourees of the awards have selected nominees from books by Black authors published in 2019 submitted by publishers and self-published authors.

The Nominees for the 2020 Hurston/Wright Legacy Awards are:

Debut Fiction

  • Avery Colt is a Snake, a Thief, a Liar, Ron A. Austin (Southeast Missouri State University Press).
  • Africaville, Jeffrey Colvin (Amistad).
  • As a River, Sion Dayson (Jaded Ibis Press)


  • Speaking of Summer, Kalisha Buckhanon (Counterpoint)
  • Patsy, Nicole Dennis-Benn (Liveright)
  • A Tall History of Sugar, Curdella Forbes (Akashic Books)
  • Gingerbread, Helen Oyeyemi (Riverhead Books)
  • The World Doesn’t Require You, Rion Amilcar Scott (Liveright)
  • The Revisioners, Margaret Wilkerson Sexton (Counterpoint)


  • Open Season: Legalized Genocide of Colored People, Ben Crump (Amistad)
  • Think Black: A Memoir, Clyde Ford (Amistad)
  • Wayward Lives, Beautiful Experiments: Intimate Histories of Riotous Black Girls, Troublesome Women, and Queer Radicals, Saidiya Hartman (W. W. Norton & Company)
  • We Live for the We: The Political Power of Black Motherhood, Dani McClain (Bold Type Books)
  • Solitary: My Story of Transformation and Hope, Albert Woodfox (Grove Press)
  • What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Blacker: A Memoir in Essays, Damon Young (Ecco)


  • Night Angler (American Poets Continuum), Geffrey Davis (BOA Editions, LTD)
  • 1919, Eve L. Ewing (Haymarket Books)
  • & More Black, t’ai freedom ford (Augury Books)
  • Exiles of Eden, Ladan Osman (Coffee House Press)
  • Library of Small Catastrophes, Alison Rollins (Copper Canyon Press)
  • Syncope, Asiya Wadud (Ugly Duckling Presse)

The winners of the awards will be announced at a date to be communicated.



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