Thursday, October 7, 2021

HBW receives $800k Mellon Foundation Grant to Illuminate African American Novels

The Mellon Foundation just awarded the Project on the History of Black Writing (HBW) funding for a three-year, $800,000 grant to implement a project showcasing black literary art in new and exciting ways. The project promises to enrich the study of African American literature.

The Black Literature Network will include four interrelated projects -- a podcast series, a book recommendation resource, a data visualization gallery, and a keyword guide -- all designed to illuminate aspects of African American novels. The Network will also include a program for undergraduates and graduate students to learn more about African American literary studies using technology.  

Among other outcomes, the varied portals for the Network will address several basic yet enduring questions: What's a good African American novel to read? What's the story behind the publication of some famous novels by black writers? What's the relationship of one novel to dozens of other novels? What key terms assist us in understanding the works of black writers?

Founded by Maryemma Graham in 1983, HBW has facilitated dozens of black literature projects for 
students, teachers, scholars, and general audiences. This recent Mellon grant represents an especially important endeavor as a variety of collaborators -- literary scholars, technology specialists, illustrators, voice actors, and sound engineers -- will work together to highlight the histories of African American novels and novelists.


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