Hurston/Wright Foundation Legacy Awards

Hurston/Wright Foundation Legacy Awards 2023 nominees announced

The nominees for the Hurston/Wright Foundation 2023 Legacy Awards were announced on Wednesday, June 28, 2023.

The Hurston/Wright Foundation is named for US African American literary icons 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. The Legacy Award was the first national award in the USA presented to Black writers by a national organization of Black writers since 2001. Fiction, nonfiction and poetry honourees are selected in a juried competition. Some of the previous winners include Alain Mabanckou, Colson Whitehead, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Chris Abani, Aminatta Forna, Kwame Dawes, and Uwem Akpan.

The nominees for this year’s awards were announced last Wednesday and they are;

Debut Fiction

Judges: Amina Gautier, Ron A. Austin and Preston Allen

  • A Down Home Meal for These Difficult Times: Stories, Meron Hadero (Restless Books)
  • Nightcrawling, Leila Mottley (Alfred A. Knopf)
  • Finding La Negrita, Natasha Gordon-Chipembere (Jaded Ibis Press)

Speculative Fiction

Judge: B. Sharise Moore

  • Our Lady of Mysterious Ailments, T.L. Huchu (Macmillan)
  • The Last Dreamwalker, Rita Woods (Macmillan) Goliath by Tochi Onyebuchi (Macmillan)

General Fiction

Judges: Morgan Christie, Lauren Francis-Sharma and Kim McLarin

  • Didn’t Nobody Give a Shit About Carlotta, James Hannaham (Little Brown)
  • Take My Hand, Dolen Perkins-Valdez (Berkley)
  • The Islands, Dionne Irving (Catapult)
  • People Person, Candice Carty-Williams (Simon & Schuster)
  • Mother Country, Jacinda Townsend (Graywolf Press)

Historical Nonfiction

Judges: Gerald Horne and Ron Stodghill

  • By Hands Now Known, Margaret Burnham (W.W. Norton & Company)
  • Antagonistic Cooperation: Jazz, Collage, Fiction, and the Shaping of African American Culture, Robert O’Meally (Columbia University Press)
  • We Refuse to Forget: A True Story of Black Creeks, American Identity, and Power, Caleb Gayle, (Riverhead Books)
  • Claude McKay: The Making of a Black Bolshevik, Winston James (Columbia University Press)

Memoir Nonfiction

Judges: Laurie Jean Carter and Sheri Booker

  • Inciting Joy, Ross Gay (Algonquin Books)
  • This Boy We Made, Taylor Harris, (Catapult)
  • Black Boy Smile, D. Watkins, (Legacy Lit)
  • Invisible Boy: A Memoir of Self-Discovery, Harrison Mooney, (Steerforth Press)


Judges: Asiya Wadud, Brian Gilmore and Chanda Feldman

  • Concentrate, Courtney Faye Taylor, (Graywolf Press)
  • Best Barbarian, Roger Reeves (W.W. Norton)
  • To the Realization of Perfect Helplessness, Robin Coste Lewis (Knopf)
  • Null Landing, Isaiah A. Hines (Slope Editions)
  • Plans for Sentences, Renee Gladman (Wave Books)
  • We Are Not Wearing Helmets, Cheryl Boyce-Taylor

The lifetime achievement honourees are;

The North Star Award: Ishmael Reed  

The Ella Baker Award: Carol Anderson

Madam “CJ” Walker Award: Troy Johnson

The winners of the Legacy Awards will be announced in Washington D.C., USA on Thursday, October 26, 2023.


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