One of the most celebrated and revered African American poets, Nikki Giovanni, has been named the PVAMU 2021-2022 Writer-in-Residence in the Toni Morrison Writing Program. The appointment will officially begin with a virtual series taking place September 27 – 29.
Ms. Giovanni has won numerous awards, including the Langston Hughes Medal and the NAACP Image Award. Named a “Living Legend” by Oprah Winfrey, her diverse body of work includes poetry anthologies, poetry recordings, nonfiction essays, and children’s literature.
Giovanni’s early work gained attention as part of the Black Arts Movement; she was called the “Poet of the Black Revolution” because of her forceful and passionate writing about civil rights. Her varied activism has included providing support for other African American women writers. Giovanni currently serves as a University Distinguished Professor at Virginia Tech University.
Established by PVAMU President Ruth Simmons, The Toni Morrison Writing Program seeks to bring visibility to African American writing in the literary canon. Led by Provost Emerita and Professor E. Johanne Thomas-Smith, the program will feature writers reading from their works, conducting masterclasses, teaching, and mentoring other writers. The program will also focus on opportunities to develop the literary interests and talents of young writers. Components include a partnership with area high school English departments, an annual writing contest for K-12 students, and elementary school readings accompanied by informal book discussions with the author.