Literary Activism

Marita Golden has distinguished herself as a literary activist. She founded the Washington D.C. based African-American Writers Guild. In 1990 with bibliophile Clyde McElvene she co-founded the Hurston/Wright Foundation which has established a remarkable record of innovative service to the national and international community of Black writers.

Despite a prodigious and productive career as an author, Marita Golden worked to build the Hurston/Wright Foundation, as an expression of literary activism, carrying on the tradition of literary institution building of African-American writers, from Langston Hughes to Amiri Baraka. Of her work with the Foundation Marita has said “I am most proud of the new opportunities and new possibilities the Foundation creates for Black writers, both new and established. I am also happy to see that the example the Foundation provided is being emulated by the emerging generation of Black writers.”

The Foundation’s summer week-long writers’ workshop has hosted and trained over 1,000 Black writers who have worked with premier poets, novelists and nonfiction writers. The Hurston/Wright College Award has recognized emerging Black writers early in their careers, including, Tayari Jones, author of Leaving Atlanta and The Untelling, as well as Ravi Howard author of the novel Like Trees Walking.