Aug 7, 2015

Mari Evans to receive Indiana Authors Lifetime Achievement Award

From the Gary Crusader:

Influential Indiana poet receives Award

Story Posted:08/08/2015
Mari Evans will participate in Oct. 10 Indiana Authors Award celebration 

The Indianapolis Public Library Foundation recently announced that poet and Indianapolis resident Mari Evans is the recipient of the 2015 Indiana Authors Award Lifetime Achievement Award.

This marks only the second time an author has received this award from the Library Foundation. Evans will participate in the Indy Author Fair and Indiana Authors Award Dinner on Oct. 10, and she will select an Indiana library to receive a $2,500 grant on behalf of the Library Foundation. This award is in addition to the five Indiana Authors Award winners and finalists announced in July.

Evans’ monumental career spans decades, and has shaped women’s history, politics, music and drama. She is the author of numerous articles and children's books, and her work has been included in hundreds of anthologies and textbooks, including translations into many other languages. Much of Evans’ work focuses on the celebration of Africa and the struggles of the Civil Rights Movement, as well as other themes that bring to light the reality of the African-American experience. Evans became a well-respected figure in the Black Arts Movement during the late 1960s and early 1970s. Her impact on Africa was reflected in 1997 when the Ugandan government issued a commemorative postage stamp in her honor.

Born in Toledo, Ohio, Evans attended the University of Toledo where she studied fashion design, but left without a degree. Her interests shifted to writing poetry and, by 1969, she was a writer in residence at Indiana University-Purdue at Indianapolis where she taught courses in African- American Literature. In 1969, she published her first work, “Where Is All the Music?” followed by “I Am a Black Woman” (1970). During this time, Evans worked as a producer, writer, and director of The Black Experience (1968-1973), a pioneering sociopolitical television show that aired on prime time in Indianapolis. She also worked in theater, adapting the musical “Eyes” (1979) from Zora Neale Hurston’s novel “Their Eyes Were Watching God,” from which Evans created the words and music for 20 songs, as well as wrote a choreopoem, “River of My Song,” and a one-woman theater piece, “Boochie,” which was about child abuse. Evans served as a consultant to the National Endowment for the Arts from 1969 to 1970 and has published a number of poetry collections including “Nightstar: 1973-1978” (1981) and “A Dark and Splendid Mass” (1992). Evans has taught at a number of colleges and universities, including Cornell, Northwestern, Washington University in St. Louis, Spelman College, the University of Miami at Coral Gables, and the State University of New York at Albany. She resides in Indianapolis.

A celebration of Evans’ life and work will be held at 10:15 a.m. at the annual Indy Author Fair, a day of free public programming at the Central Library in downtown Indianapolis on Sat., Oct. 10. Teens are invited to participate in a special poetry workshop immediately following the celebration. The Author Fair will include opportunities to purchase books, participate in book signings and take part in workshops and one-on-one interactions with accomplished authors. Among other topics, workshops will focus on subjects such as Writing and Publishing Nonfiction Books, Blogging for Writers, Getting Started with Writing and Writing for Young Authors.

The Eugene & Marilyn Glick Indiana Authors Award recognizes Indiana authors’ contributions to the literary landscape in Indiana and across the nation. The Award is a program of The Indianapolis Public Library Foundation and is funded through the generosity of The Glick Fund, a fund of Central Indiana Community Foundation. The 2015 Award winners and finalists include:

· Lifetime Achievement Honoree: Mari Evans

· National Author Winner: Marianne Boruch

· Regional Author Winner: Adrian Matejka

· Emerging Author Finalists: Laura Bates, Skila Brown and Clifford Garstang (*Winner will be announced at Oct. 10 Award Dinner.)

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