UCF is celebrating renowned author of African-American literature and anthropologist, Zora Neale Hurston. Leading up to the 30th anniversary of the festival in 2019, UCF students will be able to attend events that commemorate the writer. Information regarding events will continue to be added. 

Upcoming Events

Lunch & Learn with Dr. Simon Dickel


Join First Year Experience in welcoming literary author Simon Dickel to the UCF Campus in a Lunch and Learn. Dr. Dickel will discuss his research on The Harlem Renaissance and the connection of Zora Neale Hurston during this historical movement. This event will be limited to those who RSVP. Freshman and Transfer students who attend will earn 1,000 LINK Points.

Dust Tracks on a Road Scholarship

Due Friday, December 7, 2018

UCF students will showcase their lived narrative and identities through poetry, song, dance, and art in an intimate, safe supportive environment. Light refreshments will be served. Freshman and Transfer students who attend will earn 1,000 LINK Points.

ZORA! Festival

Saturday, January 26 – Sunday, February 3, 2019

Celebrate the 30th anniversary of the festival that honors Zora Neale Hurston. 

CAAR (Collegium for African American Research) Conference

January 30-February 2, 2019

The College of Arts and Humanities will host the biennial CAAR Conference. 

Zora Neale Hurston

Zora Neale Hurston (1891–1960) was a star of the Harlem Renaisance and called “one of the greatest writers of our time” by Toni Morrison. Hurston was a distinguished author and anthropologist who celebrated and preserved her African–American culture in both her scientific research and in her fiction. She wrote four acclaimed novels—including her most famous novel, Their Eyes Were Watching God—two books of anthropology and folklore, one memoir, and numerous short stories, essays, and works of journalism. 

Probably the most significant collector and interpreter of Southern, African American culture, Zora is the dominant female voice of the Harlem Renaissance era. In her works, she celebrated her hometown, Eatonville, as representative of the dignity and beauty of rural Southern, African-American life and culture. A consummate storyteller, she brought to her readers an authenticity based on her primary research.


Zora! Festival

First presented in 1990, the festival is a multi-day, multi-disciplinary, intergenerational event composed of public talks, museum exhibitions, theatrical productions, arts education programming, and a 3-day Outdoor Festival of the Arts. The event takes place primarily in Eatonville, Florida (10 miles north of Orlando) and throughout Orange County.  

The organizer of ZORA! Festival is the Association to Preserve the Eatonville Community, Inc., a 501 (c)3 historic preservation and arts organization. 

Click here to see a full list of partners and sponsors. 

Festival schedule coming soon 

Zora Initiatives

Common Read: Dust Tracks on a Road by Zora Neale Hurston

The University of Central Florida Common Read selection for 2018-19 is Dust Tracks on a Road (1942) by renowned author Zora Neale Hurston. The selection hits home for the UCF community and takes place in Eatonville, Florida—the first incorporated all-black city in the United States. Dust Tracks on a Road will challenge UCF students to think outside the box and allow them to self-reflect upon issues related to social justice, diversity, participation in undergraduate research and community engagement. Through poetic imagery and stories, students will learn about the life story of Zora Neale Hurston and be challenged to critically identify and evaluate themes of the text. 

This initiative is hosted by Student Development and Enrollment Services: First Year Experience office. For more information, contact Dr. Jamil D. Johnson at jamil.johnson@ucf.edu

Eatonville Mobile App and Digital Tour

Nicholson School of Communication and Media faculty member Dr. Christine Hanlon has received a grant from the Burnett Honors College to work with the Association to Preserve Eatonville Community-PEC (Dr. NY Nathiri, Executive Director) to create presentations for the community about structures, people, and events important to Eatonville’s history. Her Fundamentals of Oral Communication honors students will be working with Pec to curate the information that will be available via YouTube and a mobile application.

On Tuesday, August 28, Dr. Hanlon’s students will travel to Eatonville for a walking tour and have the opportunity to choose a research subject. The students will then create a poster and YouTube presentation about their subject to populate the mobile application and present at the Service Learning Showcase in November. The mobile application will geo-locate the user and provide them with information about the particular structure or area in their proximity through the students’ YouTube presentations about researched structures and people.

Common Read Course Offerings

In spring 2018, the following courses will be offered with College of Arts and Humanities faculty members in honor of the Common Read and the Year of ZORA!

  • ARH 3631: African American Art with Keri Watson
  • AMH 3572: Black American History II with Fon Gordon