Obsidian: Literature & Arts in the African Diaspora has been awarded a $15,000 Literary Arts Emergency Fund Award. Obsidian is among 313 literary arts organizations and publishers across the U.S. to receive funding awarded to the historically under-funded literary arts field.  

The Literary Arts Emergency Fund was launched and administered by the Academy of American Poets, the Community of Literary Magazine & Presses (CLMP), the National Book Foundation, and was made possible by a grant from the Mellon Foundation.  

“These grants remain vital because the impact of the emergency of COVID-19 remains very present in our lives,” said Elizabeth Alexander, president of the Mellon Foundation. “Throughout the United States, readers, writers, poets, students, and teachers rely on our country’s vibrant ecosystem of literary magazines, presses, and organizations—one that reveals the power and the possibility of the literary arts to the broader public. We are proud to continue our support for this emergency fund and look forward to the remarkable poetry and literature it will help cultivate.”  

“Literary magazines and small presses provide a first home to thousands of emerging writers each year, and they champion the work of poets, short story writers, and literary prose writers throughout their careers. They are essential to the publishing ecosystem,” said Mary Gannon, executive director of the Community of Literary Magazines & Presses.  

Obsidian’s vision includes providing a platform for the evolution of writers in the African Diaspora and the literary ecosystem of Black voices during what will likely be times of continued political violence, cycles of pandemic outbreak and recovery, and anti-racist uprising. Obsidian became an important cultural treasure of the African Diaspora, and a vital resource, through publishing current writing and remaining relevant to a contemporary, international set of writers and readers. We are committed to innovating ways to open new channels of communication with people who need to access the knowledge base we have been building for over four decades.  

Find the award announcement here