Darwin T. Turner edited more than a dozen works of African American literature and published his own writing, including a collection of his poems in Katharsis in 1964, a book on American writer Nathaniel Hawthorne’s novel The Scarlet Letter in 1967, and a literary critique, In a Minor Chord: Three Afro-American Writers and Their Search for Identity in 1971. In a Minor Chord was an analysis on the writings of Jean Toomer, Countee Cullen, and Zora Neale Hurston. Turner edited The Wayward and the Seeking: A Collection of Writings by Jean Toomer in 1980, co-edited The Art of the Slave Narrative: Original Essays in Criticism and Theory in 1982, and wrote for Haki R Madhubuti’s Earthquakes and Sun Rise Missions in 1982. His other major edited anthologies are Black Dramas in America and Black American Literature. Turner wrote dozens of articles for academic journals and anthologies as a literary critic of African American literature.

First awarded in 2018, the Darwin T. Turner Best Essay Award will be given to an essay author chosen from CLAJ within a given period based upon the following criteria:

  1. effective engagement with the history of ideas (i.e., use of secondary sources),
  2. strength of argument analysis,
  3. advancement of conventional scholarship,
  4. soundness/criticality of scholarly intervention,
  5. and articulation/presentation of ideas.

Past Recipients

Year Recipient Affiliation Article Title Vol/Iss
2019 Dr. Emily Lordi
University of Massachusetts, Amherst "Between the World and the Addressee: Epistolary Nonfiction by Ta-Nahesi Coates and His Peers" 60.4
2018 Dr. Theri Pickens Bates College "The Verb is No: Towards a Grammar of Black Women's Anger" 60.1