Black Ink Looks Ahead with Afrofuturism

Black Ink: A Charleston African American Book Festival has announced the keynote speaker for the free hybrid festival, which will take place January 12-14, 2023. The 2023 Black Ink Book Festival theme is Black to the Future, and the festival will feature New York Times best-selling author Namina Forna as the keynote speaker. Other notable guests include renowned authors Steven Barnes and Tananarive Due. This free festival, celebrating Lowcountry Black authors and beyond, will feature Forna’s keynote address along with programs, panels, and workshops.

Namina Forna is the author of the instant New York Times bestsellers The Gilded Ones and The Merciless Ones, the first two books in an epic fantasy trilogy. She has an MFA in film and TV production from USC School of Cinematic Arts and a BA from Spelman College. Originally from Sierra Leone, West Africa, she moved to the US when she was nine and has been traveling back and forth ever since. She now works as a screenwriter in Los Angeles and loves building fantastical worlds and telling stories with fierce female leads.

“The Black Ink Book Festival has quickly become a staple event in Charleston as we highlight and uplift the work of Black authors to local and national audiences,” says Black Ink Committee Chair, Djuanna Brockington. “Our romance theme for the 2022 festival was such a hit, it was hard to know where to go next. But the success of Marvel's Black Panther franchise made it a no brainer to make Afrofuturism the focus of the 2023 festival. We are excited to examine the different aspects of Black speculative fiction on our culture, both now and in the future.”

In its seventh year, Black Ink: A Charleston African American Book Festival will take place  from Thursday, January 12, 2023, to  Saturday, January 14, 2023, with an in-person book signing on Saturday, January 14 at Trident Technical College in North Charleston (7000 Rivers Avenue, Bldg 920). Because this year's festival will be presented in a hybrid, we are able to offer expanded content and workshops designed to reach a broader audience. On the virtual platform, we expect readers and authors from around the country and, indeed, around the world, to participate in the festival that exposes them to Black authors and new perspectives. For the in-person book signing, we hope to welcome hundreds of local and regional attendees interested in learning more about Black Ink Book Festival authors.

For sponsorship opportunities or for more information about the Black Ink Book Festival and events, which is hosted by the Charleston Friends of the Library in partnership with the Charleston County Public Library and the College of Charleston’s Avery Research Center for African American History and Culture, visit

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