Ishmael Reed interviewed at 2015 National Book Festival

Video footage of Ishmael Reed’s interview at the 2015 National Book Festival below:

Celebrating Library Card Sign-up Month

September is national Library Card Sign-up Month. Support your local library by signing up for a card: resources available at


Armond White reviews Straight Outta Compton

American Book Award winner, Armond White, reviews hip-hop group N.W.A.’s biopic film Straight Outta Compton for the National Review.

Hisham Aidi on reparations for Namibia

2015 American Book Award winner, Hisham Aidi, discusses Namibia’s quest for reparations from Germany with Al Jazeera News.

Media Coverage of 2015 American Book Awards

See what some news outlets have been reporting about this year’s American Book Award recipients:

“Santana Memoir among winners of American Book Awards” – WRAL

“Anne Waldman receives Lifetime Achievement Award” – Lion’s Roar

“‘Brief History of Seven Killings’ wins another award” – Twin Cities



2015 American Book Awards

The recipients of the 2015 American Book Awards have been announced. Find the official press release linked here – contents copied below:

2015 American Book Awards Press Release

The Raymond House • 655 -13th Street • Suite 302 • Oakland, California 94612

July 20, 2015


Contact: Justin Desmangles, 916-425-7916

The Before Columbus Foundation announces the

Winners of the Thirty-Sixth Annual


Ceremonies, October 25, 2015, 2:00–5:00 p.m.

Oakland, CA—The Before Columbus Foundation announces the Winners of the Thirty-Sixth Annual AMERICAN BOOK AWARDS. The 2015 American Book Award winners will be formally recognized on Sunday, October 25th from 2:00-5:00 p.m. at the SF Jazz Center, Joe Henderson Lab, 201 Franklin Street (at Fell), San Francisco, CA. This event is open to the public.

The American Book Awards were created to provide recognition for outstanding literary achievement from the entire spectrum of America’s diverse literary community. The purpose of the awards is to recognize literary excellence without limitations or restrictions. There are no categories, no nominees, and therefore no losers. The award winners range from well-known and established writers to under-recognized authors and first works. There are no quotas for diversity, the winners list simply reflects it as a natural process. The Before Columbus Foundation views American culture as inclusive and has always considered the term “multicultural” to be not a description of various categories, groups, or “special interests,” but rather as the definition of all of American literature. The Awards are not bestowed by an industry organization, but rather are a writers’ award given by other writers.

The 2015 American Book Award Winners are:

Hisham Aidi

Rebel Music: Race, Empire, and the New Muslim Youth Culture (Vintage)

Arlene Biala

her beckoning hands (Word Poetry)

Arthur Dong

Forbidden City, USA: Chinese American Nightclubs, 1936-1970 (DeepFocus Productions)

Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz

An Indigenous People’s History of the United States (Beacon Press)

Peter J. Harris

The Black Man of Happiness (Black Man of Happiness Project)

Marlon James

A Brief History of Seven Killings (Riverhead Books)

Martin Kilson

Transformation of the African American Intelligentsia, 1880–2012 (Harvard University Press)

Naomi Klein

This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate (Simon & Schuster)

Laila Lalami

The Moor’s Account (Pantheon)

Manuel Luis Martinez

Los Duros (Floricanto Press)

Craig Santos Perez

from unincorporated territory [guma’] (Omnidawn)

Carlos Santana, with Ashley Kahn and Hal Miller

The Universal Tone: Bringing My Story to Light (Little, Brown and Company)

Ira Sukrungruang

Southside Buddhist (University of Tampa Press)

Astra Taylor

The People’s Platform: Taking Back Power and Culture in the Digital Age (Henry Holt)

Lifetime Achievement:

Anne Waldman

Wajahat Ali, Before Columbus Foundation board member, discusses origin and rise of Islamophobia with Washington Weekly

“In light of rising incidents of anti-Muslim bigotry, we decide to take a hard look at the root causes of Islamophobia in America and why it’s becoming more mainstream.

“Wajahat Ali, Journalist & Writer, Al Jazeera America and Rabia Chaudry, National Security Fellow, New America Foundation join Washington Weekly to chime in on the issue.”

The Daily Californian recaps the Oakland Book Festival including Before Columbus Foundation’s panel

“In the panel ‘Multiculturalism or Political Correctness?,’ pioneering Asian American novelist and UC Berkeley alumnus Shawn Wong described his experiences at UC Berkeley in the 1960s, a time when ‘no classes, no teachers, no credit’ existed for Asian American studies. Wong’s personal narrative speaks to systemic hurdles that distance ethnic minorities from the study of literature.”

SFGate highlights authors featured at the Oakland Book Festival

East Bay Express coverage of the Oakland Book Festival

“The Oakland Book Festival isn’t really about books. It’s about ideas — specifically, the ideas that resound throughout Oakland, and are echoed in similar cities across the globe. On May 31, for seven hours, the new annual event will occupy City Hall and Frank Ogawa Plaza. The hearing rooms and council chambers will fill up with authors, poets, activists, and philosophers discussing topics ranging from “Faith and Social Justice” to “Multiculturalism or Political Correctness?”

“Outside, authors and publishers will sell books, while children learn to make their own in workshops run by the Museum of Children’s Arts. Writers will give readings, and live music will emanate from the plaza amphitheater. At any given point in the day, there will be six events occurring simultaneously. And, like most gatherings staged at Frank Ogawa Plaza, the Oakland Book Festival will be booming with opinions.”