CityLit Project will honor educator and New York Times bestselling author D. Watkins with the 2021 Chic Dambach Award for Service to the Literary Arts on Thursday, June 17, 2021, from 7 to 8:15 pm EDT as a virtual event. The long-awaited celebration of D. Watkins as an exemplary literary citizen marks the end of a noteworthy but challenging year for CityLit. This celebration, which also serves as a fundraiser, regards Watkins as a champion of the literary arts. Most importantly, it recognizes his ongoing commitment to Baltimore youth.
The special occasion showcases musical guest artists J Pope and the HearNow and a special guest appearance by esteemed author Jason Reynolds, the Library of Congress Children’s Poet Laureate, among other notable guests. A special presentation from Watkins will be one of the evening’s highlights, Writing Like You: Staying True to Your Own Voice.
D. Watkins is Editor at Large for Salon. His work has been published in the New York Times, New York Times Magazine, The Guardian, Rolling Stone, among others. He is a college lecturer at the University of Baltimore and Arts and Social Justice Visiting Professor at Johns Hopkins University. He is the recipient of numerous awards including, BMe Genius Grant, and the Maryland Library Association William Wilson Maryland Author Award. He has lectured at countless universities and events around the world.
“With the success of our month-long virtual CityLit Festival, and receiving national recognition from both the National Endowment for the Arts and Amazon Literary Partnership, we couldn’t think of a better way to end this momentous year by honoring D. Watkins, whose impact on our youth will be felt for years to come,” says CityLit’s executive director Carla Du Pree.
The Dambach Award for Service to the Literary Arts is named in honor of CityLit founding Board Chair Charles (Chic) Dambach, and his commitment to supporting the literary community for over 16 years. His highly successful international career includes his work as a tenacious advocate and mediator. He was nominated for the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize, and was recently declared a Knight of the National Order of Mali.
Watkins is the author of the New York Times bestsellers “The Beast Side: Living (and Dying) While Black in America,” “The Cook Up: A Crack Rock Memoir,” and “We Speak for Ourselves: A Word from Forgotten Black America,” which was also the 2020 One Book Baltimore author, where Baltimore City’s 7th and 8th graders, their families, and community members made meaningful connections through literature. Watkins’ forthcoming memoir “Where Tomorrows Aren’t Promised”, co-written with Carmelo Anthony, will be released this fall.
Educator Jeffrey Lordi, who has taught two of Watkins’ books says, “each time students connected and engaged more with his (work), more than any other (books) we’d read. I find D brings the voice of Baltimore to the classroom, a voice that has mostly been stifled in those settings. His books allowed us to engage in deep discussions about our city, the structures that run it … His books and words inspire my students to think about the role that they will play — not just as students, but as leaders of their own stories.”
The Dambach award ceremony is CityLit’s only fundraiser, an online event with tickets ranging from $10 to $100 and up. Student admission is free. To register, go to https://citylitproject.