Category Logo

Big Ears Festival announces Nikki Giovanni and Hanif Abdurraqib talks open to the public

March 15, 2022


The Big Ears Festival is further expanding its offering of free public events to include the readings and talks by Nikki Giovanni and Hanif Abdurraqib, scheduled during the festival at the Mill and Mine. Nikki Giovanni will appear on Saturday, March 26, at 11:00 am; Hanif Abdurraqib will appear on Sunday afternoon, March 27, at 1:00 pm.

“We’re proud to be hosting two of the most vital and compelling literary voices of our time at this year’s festival,” says Big Ears Founder and Director, Ashley Capps. “Both of these great writers are profound and inspirational thinkers with deeply important observations. We want as many people as possible to hear what they have to say.”

Poet, writer, activist, educator, and Knoxville-native Nikki Giovanni is, of course, a legend whose powerful and original work now spans six decades. Poet, essayist, and cultural critic Hanif Abdurraqib was awarded a MacArthur “Genius” Fellowship in 2021 and shortlisted for the National Book Award for his latest, A Little Devil in America: In Praise of Black Performances. Music and art are at the essential core of each writer’s work.

Both events are presented in conjunction with the Beck Cultural Center of Knoxville.

Last week, Big Ears announced a series of free concerts at the World’s Fair Park Amphitheater featuring New Orleans Jazz legends, Preservation Hall Jazz Band; Latin Rock Grammy nominee Lido Pimienta; contemporary classical legends, Kronos Quartet and Sō Percussion, and many others – along with the Krewe du Cattywampus New Orleans- style Parade and Street Party on Saturday, March 27.

More details about these events and others at the Big Ears Festival can be found at

About Big Ears
The mission of Big Ears, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, is to work with artists, audiences, and communities to create joyful and transcendent cultural experiences that defy boundaries, fuel curiosity, ignite the spirit, and nourish the soul.

Described as both as “one of the world’s greatest music bashes” by The New York Times “one of the most quietly earth-shattering, subtly luminous festivals the world over” by the Oxford American, the Big Ears Festival has established itself as one of the most exciting and imaginative cultural gatherings in the world, bringing together a virtual Who’s Who of established and acclaimed iconoclasts, innovators and influencers with younger artists who are synthesizing their own experiences into fresh, new creative work. Located in the heart of downtown Knoxville – and taking place in its world-class historic theaters, excellent clubs, and unique alternative performance spaces – all within easy walking distance of one another and intermingled with superb restaurants, bars, and shops – Big Ears offers an unparalleled experience for adventurous artists and audiences alike. While primarily focused on music, Big Ears also has a strong independent/experimental film component and presents installations, exhibitions, and interactive experiences.

The 2022 Big Ears Festival is made possible by the generous support of The Aslan Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, Visit Knoxville, the Pilot Company, the City of Knoxville, Knox County, the Tennessee Arts Commission, and additional devoted sponsors, foundations, and individual donors.