Ladan Osman, Curdella Forbes, Jeffrey Colvin, and Albert Woodfox are the winners for the Hurston/Wright Foundation Legacy Awards 2020 announced on October 16, 2020.

The Hurston/Wright Legacy Award, named for US African American literary ancestors Zora Neale Hurston and Richard Wright, honours the best in Black literature in the United States and around the globe. Introduced in 2001, the Legacy Award for fiction, nonfiction and poetry was the first national award in the United States presented to Black writers by a national organization of Black writers. Some of the previous winners have been Alain Mabanckou, Colson Whitehead, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Chris Abani, Aminatta Forna, and Kwame Dawes.

The 2020 Hurston/Wright Legacy Awards were judged by Preston Allen, Ladee Hubbard, and Chigozie Obioma for Debut Fiction; Chris Abani, Sanderia Faye, and Alain Mabanckou for Fiction; Danielle Allen, Gerald Horne, and Noliwe Rooks for Nonfiction; and Kwoya Fagin Maples, Patricia Smith, Phillip Williams for Poetry. These panels of former honourees of the awards selected nominees from books by Black authors published in 2019 submitted by publishers and self-published authors.

The finalists for this year’s awards were announced on July 23. The winners for the 2020 Hurston/Wright Legacy Awards announced in the online ceremony are;

  • Debut Fiction: Africaville, Jeffrey Colvin (Amistad).
  • Fiction: A Tall History of Sugar, Curdella Forbes (Akashic Books)
  • Nonfiction: Solitary: My Story of Transformation and Hope, Albert Woodfox (Grove Press)
  • Poetry: Exiles of Eden, Ladan Osman (Coffee House Press)

Curdella Forbes on winning the award simply Tweeted, “A TALL HISTORY OF SUGAR wins The 2020 Hurston/Wright Legacy Award for Fiction!”

Ladan Osman said, “Thank you @HurstonWright for this tremendous honor. I’m humbled by this recognition, this knowing, this love. Many others called, pulled, and carried me forward. I’m grateful for that favor. Congratulations again to all the nominees and winners. Thank you for your artworks.”

Previously announced recipients of the Hurston/Wright Award for College Writers also were celebrated during the ceremony. Hurston/Wright Foundation Co-Founder Marita Golden presented Sakinah Hofler and Sadia Hassan awards for fiction and poetry. Jenisha Watts, culture editor for ESPN’s The Undefeated, presented the inaugural Crossover Award for nonfiction to Melanie Farmer.