Award-winning poet and Virginia Tech professor Nikki Giovanni will give a free talk at Hampton's Thomas Nelson Community College Oct. 4 as part of a series organized by Virginia Peninsula Literary Consortium.
Giovanni has been called the "Princess of Black Poetry" and one of Oprah Winfrey's 25 "Living Legends."
While her talk at Dr. Mary T. Christian Auditorium will be free, those wanting to attend will need to pick up a free ticket. Those will be available from area public librarires starting Sept. 4.
What follows is a press release giving details about Giovanni's talk.
Literary Consortium to present author, poet Nikki Giovanni free to the public
NEWPORT NEWS, VA – Nikki Giovanni, the award-winning author of more than 30 volumes of poetry and prose, will present an author talk and book signing, 7 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 4, on the campus of Thomas Nelson Community College in Hampton. Her appearance is free to the public, but tickets are required.
Giovanni is a world-renowned poet, writer, commentator, activist and educator. One of the most widely read American poets of the past 30 years, she has been called a "national treasure" and, most recently, one of Oprah Winfrey's 25 "Living Legends." The author of 30 books for both adults and children, Giovanni is a university distinguished professor at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg.
Free tickets for the author talk, question-and-answer session and book signing are available beginning Tuesday, Sept. 4, at the sponsoring libraries of the Virginia Peninsula Literary Consortium, which consists of the public libraries of Newport News, Hampton, Poquoson and York County and the academic libraries of Christopher Newport University, Hampton University and Thomas Nelson Community College.
Tickets will be provided on a first-come, first-served basis and limited to two per person while supplies last. Open seating at the event, to be held in the Dr. Mary T. Christian Auditorium, is limited, and attendees are advised to arrive early. Ticket holders will be seated first. Any remaining seats will then be open to the general public.
The Giovanni event is the sixth free author event sponsored by the Virginia Peninsula Literary Consortium, which presented the best-selling authors Amy Tan in 2007, Walter Mosley in 2008, David Baldacci in 2009, Orson Scott Card in 2010 and Catherine Coulter in 2011. The Consortium formed in 2006 to encourage the study and enjoyment of books and to foster cooperation among all types of libraries on the Peninsula.
More about Giovanni
Nikki Giovanni is a world-renowned poet, writer, commentator, activist and educator. Over the past 30 years, her outspokenness, in her writing and in lectures, has brought the eyes of the world upon her. One of the most widely read American poets, she prides herself on being "a black American, a daughter, a mother, a professor of English." Giovanni remains as determined and committed as ever to the fight for civil rights and equality. Always insisting on presenting the truth as she sees it, she has maintained a prominent place as a strong voice of the black community. Her focus is on the individual, specifically, on the power one has to make a difference in oneself, and thus, in the lives of others.
Giovanni was born in Knoxville, Tenn., and grew up in Lincoln Heights, an all-black suburb of Cincinnati, Ohio. She and her sister spent their summers with their grandparents in Knoxville, and she graduated with honors from Fisk University, her grandfather's alma mater, in 1968; after graduating from Fisk, she attended the University of Pennsylvania and Columbia University. She published her first book of poetry, “Black Feeling Black Talk,” in 1968, and within the next year published a second book, thus launching her career as a writer. Early in her career she was dubbed the "Princess of Black Poetry," and over the course of more than three decades of publishing and lecturing she has come to be called both a "National Treasure" and, most recently, one of Oprah Winfrey's 25 "Living Legends."
Many of Giovanni's books have received honors and awards. Her autobiography, “Gemini,” was a finalist for the National Book Award; “Love Poems,” “Blues: For All the Changes,” “Quilting the Black-Eyed Pea,” “Acolytes,” and “Hip Hop Speaks to Children: A Celebration of Poetry with a Beat” were all honored with NAACP Image Awards. “Blues: For All the Changes” reached No. 4 on the Los Angeles Times Bestseller list, a rare achievement for a book of poems. Most recently, her children's picture book “Rosa,” about the civil rights legend Rosa Parks, became a Caldecott Honors Book, and Bryan Collier, the illustrator, was given the Coretta Scott King award for best illustration. “Rosa” also reached No. 3 on The New York Times Bestseller list. Shortly after its release, “Bicycles: Love Poems” reached No. 1 on Amazon.com for Poetry.
Giovanni's spoken word recordings have also achieved widespread recognition and honors. Her album “Truth Is On Its Way,” on which she reads her poetry against a background of gospel music, was a top 100 album and received the Best Spoken Word Album given by the National Association of Radio and Television Announcers. Her “Nikki Giovanni Poetry Collection,” on which she reads and talks about her poetry, was one of five finalists for a Grammy Award.
Giovanni's honors and awards have been steady and plentiful throughout her career. The recipient of 25 honorary degrees, she has been named Woman of the Year by Mademoiselle Magazine, The Ladies Home Journal, and Ebony Magazine. She was tapped for the Ohio Women's Hall of Fame and named an Outstanding Woman of Tennessee. Giovanni has also received Governor's Awards from Tennessee and Virginia. She was the first recipient of the Rosa L. Parks Woman of Courage Award, and she has also been awarded the Langston Hughes Medal for poetry. She is an honorary member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority and has received Life Membership and Scroll from The National Council of Negro Women. A member of PEN, she was honored for her life and career by The History Makers. She has received the keys to more than two dozen cities. A scientist who admires her work even named a new species of bat he discovered for her. Black Enterprise named her a Women of Power Legacy Award winner for work that expands opportunities for other women of color.
Giovanni is a University Distinguished Professor at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Virginia.