Ruth Lilly Prize Awarded to Black Fire This Time Poets

The Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize, awarded annually to one living US poet with an award of $100,000 in recognition of their outstanding lifetime achievement, was awarded to three poets anthologized in Black Fire This Time, Nikki Giovanni, Sonia Sanchez and Haki Madhubuti. The award was extended to 11 recipients for this year.

The critically acclaimed anthology Black Fire This Time features over 100 poets and writers on the history and legacy of the Black Arts Movement. The intergenerational collection bridges award-winning contributors from across the U.S., Caribbean and Africa. The collection is on tour through 2024.

Nikki Giovanni is a poet and the author of several works of nonfiction and children’s literature, and multiple recordings, including the Emmy-award nominated The Nikki Giovanni Poetry Collection. Giovanni’s honors include a Langston Hughes Award for Distinguished Contributions to Arts and Letters, seven NAACP Image Awards and 21 honorary doctorates.

Sonia Sanchez is a poet, playwright, professor, activist, and one of the foremost leaders of the Black Studies movement. The author of over 20 books, including Morning HaikuShake Loose My Skin, and her Collected Poems, Sonia’s honors include an American Book Award, an Anisfield-Wolf Lifetime Achievement Award, a Langston Hughes Poetry Award, and a Robert Frost Medal, among others. The first Poet Laureate of Philadelphia, Sanchez was awarded the MacDowell Medal in 2022.

Haki Madhubuti is a poet, author, publisher, and educator. Widely regarded as one of the architects of the Black Arts Movement, Madhubuti is the founder and publisher of Chicago’s Third World Press. He has published more than 36 books. His honors include an American Book Award, a Hurston/Wright Legacy Prize, and a Studs Terkel Humanities Service Award, among others.

Poetry by all three Ruth Lilly awardees appear in Black Fire This Time (2022). For more on the collection, visit the Black Fire This Time page.