Congratulations to Alice Randall, Caroline Randall Williams, and the Turner Publishing team! The Diary of B. B. Bright, Possible Princess, is a 2013 Phillis Wheatley Award Book Finalist. Presented annually at The Harlem Book Fair, The Phillis Wheatley Book Awards recognize the best African American books and writers in Fiction, Nonfiction, Poetry, and Children’s literature.
Phillis Wheatley (May 8, 1753 – December 5, 1784) was both the first published African-American poet and first published African-American woman. Born in Senegambia, she was sold into slavery at the age of 7 and transported to North America. She was purchased by the Wheatley family of Boston, who taught her to read and write, and encouraged her poetry when they saw her talent.
The publication of her Poems on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral (1773) brought her fame, both in England and the American colonies; figures such as George Washington praised her work. During Wheatley’s visit to England with her master’s son, the African-American poet Jupiter Hammon praised her work in his own poem. Wheatley was emancipated after the death of her master John Wheatley. She married soon after; she and her husband lost two children as infants. After her husband was imprisoned for debt in 1784, Wheatley fell into poverty and died of illness, quickly followed by the death of her surviving infant son.
The award ceremony will be held on July 19th, from 7-9PM at The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. Tickets are $20 and available to the public.
For a complete list of finalists please visit the Harlem Book Fair web site.