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IBC and AmeriHealth Mercy Family of Companies to present Celebration of Black Writing

Art Sanctuary festival aims to increase literacy, promote reading and writing

Philadelphia, PA – Independence Blue Cross (IBC) and the AmeriHealth Mercy Family of Companies are the presenting sponsors for Art Sanctuary’s 28th Annual Celebration of Black Writing.  Running from May 21 to June 2, Celebration of Black Writing is the nation’s only literary festival of its kind, offering 13 days of literary discussions and workshops, music showcases, and film screenings.

Celebration of Black Writing brings acclaimed authors, scholars, and performance artists from across the U.S. to meet, teach, and interact with festival attendees through lectures, readings, workshops, panel discussions, family activities, and performances. It connects established authors, emerging talent, novice writers, and performance artists, with avid readers and local audiences spanning race, gender, and background. The festival offers family-friendly events as well.

Writers and artists will discuss their work with up to 2,000 students, and another 3,000 people will participate in panels, workshops, and other events. The celebration features 75 professional and aspiring writers, editors, publishers, scholars, spoken-word artists, performance artists, playwrights, and filmmakers. This year, selected panels and workshops will be streamed live for the first time online, and will also be archived so that new and enthusiast readers and writers can access them anytime.

“We take great pride in our support of the Celebration of Black Writing festival, and in partnering with Art Sanctuary,” said Daniel Hilferty, president and CEO of IBC. “This exceptional and innovative organization educates and nurtures so many aspiring writers and other artists, and it improves the lives of thousands through promoting the arts.”

This year’s Celebration includes:

  • Children and young adult author Jacqueline Woodson, with Philadelphia Reading Olympics
  • A public conversation with artist and cultural planner Theaster Gates and Chicago’s Museum of Contemporary Art curator Naomi Beckwith
  • Photographer Sed Miles and the Wanderlust International travel exhibition
  • Philly Youth Rising: Standing on the Shoulders with performances by the Philadelphia Youth Poetry Movement, 215 Spoken Soul, and In the Company of Poets
  • Panel of female authors including Aliya S. King, author of Platinum and Diamond Life
  • Panel discussions on Advocacy Journalism featuring author Bernice McFadden,  journalist Akiba Solomon, Atria books editor Malaika Adero, and activist and agent April Silver

One of the major highlights of the festival is the Lifetime Achievement Award ceremony to be held Friday, June 1. With Art Sanctuary’s yearlong theme of “Growing from Good to Great,” the organization will honor JET and Ebony magazines, with JET’s editor-in-chief Mitzi Miller accepting on behalf of both, and Marita Golden of the Hurston/Wright Foundation.

The festival takes place at several locations around the city, including Art Sanctuary, The Historic Church of the Advocate, The Kimmel Center, and Temple University.  The all-day festival taking place at Temple University on June 2 is free. Some events taking place during the 13-day festival are offered at a low ticket price.  For more information and to get a full listing of the festival’s lineup, visit or call 215-232-4485.

About AmeriHealth Mercy Family of Companies
The AmeriHealth Mercy Family of Companies is one of the nation’s leaders in health care solutions for the underserved. AmeriHealth operates in 11 states and serves more than 4.5 million Medicaid, Medicare and SCHIP members through its Medicaid managed care products, pharmaceutical benefit management services, behavioral health services, and other administrative services. Headquartered in Philadelphia, AmeriHealth Mercy is a mission-driven company with more than 25 years of experience serving low-income and chronically ill populations.