Every year Inkstravaganza honors a San Antonio local literary legend at our annual gala. Writers who have achieved national recognition and represent the power and vitality of the literary arts and its importance to our community. Previous Inkstravaganza honorees include Dr. Tomás Ybarra-Frausto, Jan Jarboe Russell, Coleen Grissom, Nan Cuba, Carmen Tafolla, among others.
This year we are thrilled to honor journalist Cary Clack with the Literary Award for Excellence. The theme for the evening is Lift Every Voice.
Cary Clack was born and raised in San Antonio, Texas. He is a graduate of St. Gerard High School and St. Mary’s University from where he received a B.A. in Political Science. As a Scholar-Intern at the Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change, Clack wrote CNN commentaries for Coretta Scott King. Until 1995, he’d return to the King Center to teach workshops on nonviolence to high school and college students. Throughout his career, he has also taught nonviolence on college campuses, including Texas A&M and the University of Wisconsin at La Crosse as well as in local high schools and community centers. His TED Talk, recorded in 2013, is, “The Man Who Talked to Martin: A Blues Plea for Nonviolence.”
An achievement of Clack’s was becoming the first African-American on the San Antonio Express-News Editorial Board in 1988. He was an Express-News columnist between 1994-2011. When he left the paper in 2011, he’d won, for six consecutive years, the San Antonio Current’s Reader’s Choice poll for Best Columnist in the city and, for three years in a row, the San Antonio Magazine’s Editors’ and Readers’ Choice Polls for Best Columnist. Clack left the paper to join Joaquin Castro’s first congressional campaign, later serving as Rep. Castro’s district director. Later, he worked in Mayor Ivy Taylor’s office as communications director and spent four years with Merced Housing Texas.
Clack has been published in The New York Times, Texas Monthly, Texas Observer, and Texas Highways Magazine, among other places. His work has been anthologized in Literary San Antonio (Wings Press); Black is the Color of Strength; and 300 Years of San Antonio and Bexar County. His collection of columns, Clowns and Rats Scare Me, was published by Trinity University Press in 2009. Among his journalism awards, Clack has won the Dallas Press Club Award for Best General Columnist (1997), and the Friends of the San Antonio Public Library’s Arts and Letters Award for writing. In 2017 he was inducted into the Texas Institute of Letters. He is currently editing what will be the first anthology of black Texas writers. The book will be published as part of the Wittliff Collections’ book series through Texas A&M University Press. In December 2019, Cary Clack rejoined the San Antonio Express-News team as an editorial writer and Sunday columnist.
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