CCNY’s Langston Hughes Festival Honors Jamaica Kincaid

The City College of New York and the Black Studies Program presents the Langston Hughes Festival ceremony, celebrating legendary author Jamaica Kincaid. Including tributes, performances, and a reading by the author, the event takes place this evening, November 18, 2021, at 6:00pm (EST). See link at the end of this post to register.

About this event: 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:

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. Her essay on Medicine will appear in the 1619 Project Book which was released this month, and her book Under the Skin: Racism, Inequality and the Health of a Nation will be published by Doubleday in June.

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 work has appeared in numerous publications including the New York Times, The AtlanticMs. Muse, Tin House, and The Caribbean Writer, among others. 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. 

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, and has been published in international anthologies like New Daughters of Africa. 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. 

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).

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.

Kincaid released A Small Place in 1988, a short, powerful book about the effects of colonialism, and My Brother in 1997, a chronicle of her brother’s battle with Aids. Her love of gardening has also led to several books on the subject, including My Garden (2000) and Among Flowers: A Walk in the Himalaya (2005), a memoir about a seed-gathering trek with three botanist friends. Among Flowers was rereleased in late 2020 with a new introduction by the author.

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 étranger award. She teaches in the English, African and African-American Studies departments at Harvard University and lives with her family in Vermont.

To register, go to

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