Award-winning poet Nikki Giovanni will give a public reading of her work at 7 p.m. Thursday, April 6, in the Potter Hall Theater on the campus of Missouri Western State University. “The Mochila Review Presents: In the Shadow of Nikki Giovanni” is free and open to the public. Giovanni will sign copies of her books during a reception following the reading.

Giovanni is one of the world’s most well-known African-American poets, with more than 30 published books of poetry, nonfiction, and children’s literature. A seven-time recipient of the NAACP Image Award, she has authored three New York Times and Los Angeles Times bestsellers, been a finalist for the National Book Award, and been named one of Oprah Winfrey’s “25 Living Legends.” She is a University Distinguished Professor at Virginia Tech University.

Copies of the Spring 2017 issue of The Mochila Review, Missouri Western’s national undergraduate journal, will also be available at the event. The issue features an interview with Giovanni, who served as guest judge for Mochila’s annual contest for undergraduate writers. Giovanni will announce the contest winner, from more than 80 applicants, in January 2017.

“We’re star-struck that one of our staff’s very favorite authors will not only appear in our journal, but also at Missouri Western,” said Dr. Marianne Kunkel, editor of The Mochila Review. “This event is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for our students to meet a successful writer whose poetry is as relevant as ever, and I’m thrilled to carry on a tradition at our university of supporting and celebrating the arts.”

Giovanni’s appearance is made possible through generous support from Missouri Western’s President’s and Provost’s Offices, its Department of English and Modern Languages, its Center for Multicultural Education, and the St. Joseph Public Library.

To learn more about Giovanni, visit For more information about The Mochila Review, visit

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