Congratulations to the 2023 Legacy Award Recipients 

The Zora Neale Hurston/Richard Wright Foundation returned to an in-person ceremony last night for the 22nd annual Legacy Awards ceremony that took place at the historic Lincoln Theatre in Washington, D.C.  The 2023 Legacy Award lifetime achievement honorees and the nominees for the Legacy Award in the various writing categories filled the room along with the winners of the 2023 College Award in Fiction and Poetry and the Crossover Award sponsored by ESPN's Andscape. We were pleased to once again present the E. Lynn Harris Impact Award to the two individuals who have contributed substantially to the mission-driven work of the Hurston/Wright Foundation.

The recipients of each Legacy Merit Award award are as follows:

North Star Award: Ishmael Reed

Ella Baker Award: Carol Anderson

Madam "CJ" Walker Award: Troy Johnson

E. Lynn Harris Impact Award: Kim Williams-Pulfer and Derrick Weston Brown


The recipients of each Legacy Book Award award are as follows:

Memoir Nonfiction: Inciting Joy by Ross Gay

Historical Nonfiction: By Hands Now Known by Margaret A. Burnham

Poetry: Concentrate by Courtney Faye Taylor

Debut Fiction: A Down Home Meal for These Difficult Times by Meron Hadero

Speculative Fiction: Our Lady of Mysterious Ailments by TL Huchu

General Fiction: Didn't Nobody Give a Shit What Happened to Carlotta by James Hannaham


The recipients of the College Awards in Fiction and Poetry and the Crossover Award presented by Andscape are as follows:

College Award in Poetry: Makshya Tolbert

College Award in Fiction: De'Andre Holmes

Crossover Award in Nonfiction: Agnes Redvil




Last Night Was a Splendid Evening of Literary Excellence Under One Roof!

Thank you to Everyone Who Came Out!

Before last night, the last in-person Legacy Awards ceremony was in 2019. What a joy to be in community with all of the beautiful writers and readers under one roof last night! Finalists traveled from all parts of the globe to join in on the festivities prefaced by a VIP reception that included a bevy of delicious eats provided by Busboys and Poets along with the opportunity to take a fun spinning video in the Perfect Spin 360 booth. 

The ceremony began with an introduction of the hosts, Damon Young and Panama Jackson, by Mahogany Books founders and CEOs, Ramunda Lark and Derek Young. Next, Hurston/Wright Writer-in-Residence, Imani Cezanne, presented an electrifying spoken word performance to jumpstart the evening. Highlights included a beautiful tribute to the writers we've lost that included a vocal performance by vocalist Tamara Wellons, along with powerful speeches by present awardees throughout the evening.

We would like to thank all of the people who helped last night happen! Without your dedication and hard work, last night would not have been the success that it was. Thank you to all of you who purchased ads for our program book and continue to support the Hurston/Wright Foundation as individual donors throughout the year. Your contributions help to sustain us financially so that we can continue to pay staff and writers to provide the meaningful services, supports and opportunities that mentor, discover and honor Black writers. Your ongoing support helps us to not only survive as an organization, but to THRIVE!

All of the photos above were shared via social media by various attendees of our Legacy Awards ceremony last night. If you have photos to share from the event and post them on social media, please tag us and use the hashtag #HWLegacyAwards2023 so that we can find them! Thank you for being a part of our community.



Submit Your Book for Consideration for the 2024 Legacy Awards

The portal is now open to submit your book for consideration for the 2024 Legacy Awards. 


  • The Hurston/Wright Legacy Awards are open to Black writers in America and across the globe.
  • Full-length books of fiction, speculative fiction, nonfiction, and poetry for adult audiences. For the 2024 award year, we have added two new categories: creative writing anthology and nonfiction anthology. When submitting an anthology, the anthology must include no more than 10 contributors and must include new work of individual chapter authors that is original to the submitted text and not reprinted from other publications.
  • Books must be published in the United States.
  • Books can be self-published by the author, published by a publishing house, or a small press.
  • Books considered for the 2024 Legacy Awards must have been published in 2023. No exceptions.
  • U.S. editions of foreign books published for the first time in the United States are acceptable.
  • Submitted books must have a visible ISBN number.
  • An English translation of a book originally written in another language is acceptable. The translator need not be a Black author.
  • Submissions must be in PDF form. We do not accept hard copies of books. Submitting a different format would disqualify submission for consideration.
  • Previous Legacy Award winners and nominees and college writing awardees may submit for consideration.

Become a Hurston/Wright Winter Fellow

We are debuting virtual Writers Weekend workshops that take place in January. Our first winter workshop takes place January 12-14, 2024 with Legacy Award honoree, Ladee Hubbard

Fiction Workshop Description:

 A significant portion of the writing process involves editing. Therefore, cultivating effective approaches to revision is vital in continuing progress with your writing. This workshop caters to individuals already engaged in long-form fiction endeavors. Our main objective will be to delve into various editing strategies and to devise methods for overcoming challenges when your narrative encounters obstacles or stagnation. Participants will examine the works of published authors. As a result, this workshop will help you get "unstuck."


Ladee Hubbard is the author of the novels The Talented Ribkins and The Rib King as well as the short story collection, The Last Suspicious Holdout. Her work has received a Hurston/Wright Legacy Award, an Ernest J. Gaines Award, a Guggenheim Award and the Berlin Prize. She has received fellowships from the American Library in Paris, the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Studies, the Rockefeller Foundation's Bellagio Center, Camargo, McDowell and Hedgebrook, among other organizations. She earned a MFA in Fiction from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, a MFA in Dramatic Writing from New York University's Tisch School of the Arts and a PhD in Folklore and Mythology from the University of California, Los Angeles. She teaches creative writing at Tulane University in New Orleans.


Thank You for Being a Part of Our Community

Thank you for attending all of our events this week for our Legacy Awards Celebration Week. Thank you for all that you do. We appreciate you!

(Photo above is from this past Sunday's event, Poets Day Party at National Harbor, hosted by our executive director, Khadijah Ali-Coleman, presented in partnership with the Prince George's Arts and Humanities Council)


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