Nikki Giovanni

Poet, activist and educator 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. Last week, she was named the recipient of the Maya Angelou Lifetime Achievement Award by the African Americans on the Move Book Club, an award that will be presented June 10 in Atlanta. Giovanni has also won seven NAACP Image Awards, been nominated for a Grammy and was a finalist for a National Book Award. She has written three New York Times and Los Angeles Times bestsellers and was named one of Oprah Winfrey’s 25 “Living Legends.” Giovanni 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 selected poet Nesha Ruther, a freshman at the University of Wisconsin, as the winner of 2017 Undergraduate MoRe Prize.

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

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

Missouri Western State University is a comprehensive regional university providing a blend of traditional liberal arts and professional degree programs. The university offers student-centered, high quality instruction that focuses on experience-based learning, community service, and state-of-the-art technology. Missouri Western is located in St. Joseph, Mo., and is committed to the educational, economic, cultural and social development of the region it serves. Visit