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Event | Langston Hughes Festival 2021 Celebrates Jamaica Kincaid

The 2021 Langston Hughes Festival will be celebrating the legacy of Langston Hughes and Jamaica Kincaid’s original and essential work across two events on November 18, 2021:

Talking Stories: Celebrating the Legacy of Jamaica Kincaid
Award-winning Caribbean authors and students celebrate Jamaica Kincaid.
Thursday, November 18th.
12:30 PM EST
Register here.

CCNY’s Langston Hughes Festival Honors Jamaica Kincaid
Jamaica Kincaid will be presented with the Langston Hughes Medal, as well as a creative performance in tribute to the honoree and an interview of and reading by the honoree.
Thursday, November 18th.
6:00 PM EST
Register here.

More information about the event and participants below.

CCNY’s Langston Hughes Festival Honors Jamaica Kincaid

The Langston Hughes Festival has been in existence since 1978. Its mission is to celebrate and expand upon the literary legacy of the poet laureate of Harlem, James Langston Hughes . We award the Langston Hughes Medal to the most distinguished writers associated with the African diaspora. The medal is presented as the culmination of a day of salons, scholarly conferences and symposia in celebration of the legacy of Langston Hughes, as well as a creative performance in tribute to the honoree and an interview of and reading by the honoree. This year’s ceremony features:

The Honoree

Jamaica Kincaid was born in St. John’s, Antigua. She became a staff writer for The New Yorker magazine from 1974 to 1996, publishing her first book, At the Bottom of the River, a collection of short stories, in 1983. Her first novel, Annie John, followed in 1985 – the story of a willful ten-year-old growing up on Antigua. Further novels include Lucy (1990), the story of a teenage girl from the West Indies who comes to North America to work as an au pair for a wealthy family; The Autobiography of My Mother (1996), a novel set on Dominica and told by a seventy-year-old woman looking back on her life; and Mr. Potter (2007), which follows the life of an illiterate taxi chauffeur.

Her novel See Now Then (2013) won the Before Columbus Foundation America Book Award in 2014. Her other numerous awards include the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award, the Dan David Prize for Literature, the Lila Wallace-Reader’s Digest Fund Award, a Guggenheim Foundation award, and the Prix Femina Etranger award. She teaches in the English, African and African-American Studies departments at Harvard University and lives with her family in Vermont.

The Discussants:

Lauren K. Alleyne is the author of two collections of poetry, Difficult Fruit (2014) and Honeyfish (2019), as well as co-editor of Furious Flower: Seeding the Future of African American Poetry (2020).  Her most recent honors include a 2020 NAACP Image Award nomination for Outstanding Poetry, the longlist for the 2020 Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature, and the shortlist for Library of Virginia Literary Awards. Born and raised in Trinidad and Tobago, Alleyne currently resides in Harrisonburg, VA, where she is a professor of English at James Madison University, and the assistant director of the Furious Flower Poetry Center.

Maisy Card is the author of the novel These Ghosts are Family, which won an American Book Award, the 2021 OCM Bocas Prize in fiction and was a finalist for the PEN/Hemingway Award for Debut Novel, The Center for Fiction First Novel Prize, and the LA Times Book Prizes Art Seidenbaum Award for First Fiction.  Maisy was born in Portmore, Jamaica but was raised in Queens, NY. She is a graduate of the Brooklyn College MFA in Fiction program.

Kaiama L. Glover is Ann Whitney Olin Professor of French & Africana Studies and Faculty Director of the Digital Humanities Center at Barnard College. She is the author of A Regarded Self: Caribbean Womanhood and the Ethics of Disorderly Being (Duke UP 2020) and Haiti Unbound: A Spiralist Challenge to the Postcolonial Canon (Liverpool UP 2010).

Joanne C. Hillhouse is a writer from Ottos, Antigua. She has authored seven books of fiction – The Boy from Willow Bend, Dancing Nude in the Moonlight, Oh Gad!, Musical Youth, With Grace, Lost! A Caribbean Sea Adventure, and The Jungle Outside. She freelances as a writer, editor, course/workshop facilitator; is a blogger and vlogger; and is founder-coordinator of arts development project Wadadli Youth Pen Prize.

Naomi Jackson is the author of a novel, The Star Side of Bird Hill, which was nominated for an NAACP Image Award and the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award, and longlisted for the National Book Critics Circle’s John Leonard Prize, the Center for Fiction’s First Novel Prize, and the International Dublin Literary Award. Jackson is Assistant Professor of English at Rutgers University-Newark.

Helado Negro is a South Florida native, born to Ecuadorian immigrants and based in Brooklyn. His upbringing provides essential elements to his songwriting, including his consistently bilingual lyrics in English and Spanish. Exploring the expressivity within intense states of being, Latinx identity, and pluralistic sensibilities, his music can be characterized as lyrically personal and political avant pop music. He is a 2019 United States Artists Fellow in Music and the recipient of a Foundation for Contemporary Arts Grants to Artists Award (2019).

Linda Villarosa is a journalist in residence at the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at CUNY and also teaches journalism and English at CCNY. A former executive editor at Essence Magazine, Professor Villarosa is currently a contributing writer for the New York Times Magazine and her book Under the Skin: Racism, Inequality and the Health of a Nation will be published by Doubleday in June.

Kedon Willis is a professor of Latin American and Caribbean Literature at the City College of New York. His research largely focuses on how contemporary queer authors of Caribbean heritage are complicating depictions of queer lives within the Antillean region.

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