Remarkable Receptions

Frequently Featured Authors in African American Review -- ep. by Kenton Rambsy and Howard Rambsy II

January 31, 2023 Kenton Rambsy and Howard Rambsy II Season 9 Episode 1
Remarkable Receptions
Frequently Featured Authors in African American Review -- ep. by Kenton Rambsy and Howard Rambsy II
Show Notes Transcript

A short take on six frequently featured authors in African American Review.

Written by Kenton Rambsy and Howard Rambsy II

Read by Kassandra Timm.

Since 1967, African American Review, a leading journal in the study of black literature, published more than 3,000 articles, bibliographies, and creative compositions. 

And among the many authors covered in the journal, six black novelists were focal subjects much more than others. 

You’re listening to Remarkable Receptions – a podcast about popular and critical responses to African American novels. 

African American Review was previously known as Negro American Literature Forum from 1967-1976, and Black American Literature Forum from 1976 -1991. The journal has published hundreds of scholars and over the decades established itself as a leader in the field of African American literary studies. 

So, who have been the six most frequently featured novelists in African American Review

Well, for scholars of literature, the names might not be surprising: James Baldwin, Ralph Ellison, Zora Neale Hurston, Toni Morrison, Alice Walker, and Richard Wright.

Taken together, those six novelists were featured in 300 different articles, published since 1967 in African American Review.

With 112 scholarly articles, Toni Morrison has been a featured author more than any other writer in the scholarly journal. But she wasn’t always the most popular author examined. During the 1970s, Richard Wright was the most featured novelist. Scholars wrote about Wright more than any other novelist. By the late 1980s, however, scholars began to write about Morrison more than Wright and others.

Scholarship on Hurston and Ellison varies in the journal. Scholars produced the most articles on Hurston during the 1990s and 2000s, and they produced the most articles on Ellison during the 1970s and 2000s. 

Although scholars have written about Walker more than many other authors, she appears far less than Wright, Hurston, and Morrison in African American Review. The majority of articles on Walker appear during a somewhat concentrated period between 1984 and 1997. 

The largest number of articles on those six authors were written during the 1990s and 2000s. In this period, Hurston and Morrison were the subject of scholarly articles more than ever before and ever since that time. The large number of articles produced on the writers signaled a notably generative moment in the history of African American literary studies.

In the pages of African American Review, in the world of black literary scholarship, James Baldwin, Ralph Ellison, Zora Neale Hurston, Alice Walker, Richard Wright, and most notably Toni Morrison received a remarkable reception. 


This episode was written by Howard Rambsy and Kenton Rambsy. The episode was edited by Elizabeth Cali. 


This podcast, Remarkable Receptions, is part of the Black Literature Network, a joint project from African American literary studies at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville and the History of Black Writing at the University of Kansas. The project was made possible by the generous support of the Mellon Foundation.  For more information, visit