Alain Mabanckou is the Zora Neale Hurston/ Richard Wright Legacy Award 2018 winner for his novel Black Moses. The announcement was made at a ceremony in Washington, USA on October 19, 2018.
The Hurston/Wright Foundation is named for US African American literary icons Zora Neale Hurston and Richard Wright. The Hurston/Wright Legacy Award honours the best in Black literature in the United States and around the globe.
Introduced in 2001, the Legacy Award was the first national award in the USA presented to Black writers by a national organization of Black writers. Fiction, nonfiction and poetry honorees are selected in a juried competition. Some of the previous winners include Colson Whitehead, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Chris Abani, Aminatta Forna, Kwame Dawes, and Uwem Akpan.
Those in the running for the awards in 2018 were announced in July and the shortlists included Lesley Nneka Arimah, Peter Kimani, Alain Mabanckou, Zinzi Clemmons, Yewande Omotoso, and Kwame Dawes.
Alain Mabanckou was announced as the 2018 Zora Neale Hurston/ Richard Wright Legacy Award for fiction for Black Moses, a novel that follows the journey of an orphan from Loango through a revolution in the Congo to Pointe-Noire and the home of a madam with “ten girls, each more beautiful than the last.”
The judges called the book “a funny, efficiently-rendered picaresque tale” that “superbly traces the hero’s psychic collapse.”
The poetry award went to Evie Shockley while the debut novel award went to Ladee Hubbard.