LEWISBURG, W.Va. (WVDN) – As part of Carnegie Hall’s Appalachian Heritage Lecture Series, Carnegie Hall and Greenbrier Historical Society, with additional support from the Lewisburg Literary Festival and A New Chapter Bookstore, present “Affrilachian: Selected Readings by Nikki Giovanni” on Sunday, March 19, at 3 p.m.
Giovanni is an award-winning poet, author and civil rights activist, and has even been named as one of Oprah Winfrey’s 25 “Living Legends.” She will also be available following the lecture, as guests are invited to the North House Museum’s Tavern and Parlor for a book signing/meet the author reception.
Giovanni was born in Knoxville, Tennessee, on June 7, 1943, and grew up in Cincinnati, Ohio. She graduated with a degree in history from Fisk University. A world-renowned poet and one of the foremost authors of the Black Arts Movement, her notable books of poetry are “Black Judgment” (1968) and “Those Who Ride the Night Winds” (1983), which were influenced by her participation in the Black Arts Movement and Black Power movement in the 1960s.
Giovanni has published numerous collections of poetry — from her first self-published volume, “Black Feeling Black Talk” (1968), to New York Times best seller “Bicycles: Love Poems” (2009). She has written several works of nonfiction and children’s literature and made multiple recordings including the Emmy-award nominated “The Nikki Giovanni Poetry Collection” (2004). Her most recent publications include “Make Me Rain: Poems & Prose” (2020); “Chasing Utopia: A Hybrid” (2013); and, as editor, “The 100 Best African American Poems” (2010). She has published more than two dozen volumes of poetry, essays, and edited anthologies and 11 illustrated children’s books, including “Rosa,” an award-winning biography of Rosa Parks.
Giovanni has received numerous awards, including the 2022 Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize, the inaugural Rosa L. Parks Woman of Courage Award, the American Book Award, the Langston Hughes Award, the Virginia Governor’s Award for the Arts, the Emily Couric Leadership Award and a Literary Excellence Award. She is a seven-time recipient of the NAACP Image Award. Her autobiography, “Gemini,” was a finalist for the 1973 National Book Award. In 2004, her album, “The Nikki Giovanni Poetry Collection,” was a Grammy finalist for Best Spoken Word Album.
Giovanni’s work explores race, gender, sexuality and the African American family. Her poetry was political and worked to uplift the Black experience in the arts and as part of the Black Arts Movement. Giovanni also dedicated herself to uplifting other Black writers, especially Black women writers, such as by editing and publishing “Night Comes Softly” (1970), an anthology of poetry written by Black women. She also advocates for the right to vote worldwide and supports the right of incarcerated people to vote. She continues to write poetry and recently made headlines for penning a poem titled “Vote” on the importance of voting.
Giovanni has taught at many universities, including Rutgers, Ohio State and Queens College, City University of New York. She was on the faculty at Virginia Tech since 1987, where she was a University Distinguished Professor. Following the Virginia Tech shooting in 2007, she delivered a chant-poem at a memorial for the shooting victims.
Doors to the Hamilton Auditorium will open at 2 p.m. The lecture begins at 3 p.m.
A New Chapter bookstore now has selected works by Giovanni available at its location, and a selection of Giovanni’s work will also be available for purchase at the reception.