Category Archives: American Book Awards

New Poetry and Interview from Joy Harjo, via the Poetry Foundation

Joy Harjo received an American Book Award in 2013 for Crazy Brave. The Poetry Foundation has published two recent poems, and an in-depth interview.

“How to Write a Poem in a Time of War”:

“Tobacco Origin Story, Because Tobacco Was a Gift Intended to Walk Alongside Us to the Stars”:

Interview with Layli Long Soldier: “Beyond Language: Joy Harjo, on writing her life in poetry.”

Nick Turse, American Book Award recipient, critiques Ken Burns’ Vietnam War film

Nick Turse has received American Book Awards in 2014 for Kill Anything That Moves: The Real American War in Vietnam, and in 2016 for Tomorrow’s Battlefield: U.S. Proxy Wars and Secret Ops in Africa.

From the Intercept:

Coverage of the 2017 American Book Awards, from the Graduate Center

Professor Ammiel Alcalay (GC/Queens, English) has won an American Book Award in recognition of his work as the founder and general editor of Lost & Found: The CUNY Poetics Document Initiative, a chapbook series that features genre-bending writing.

The American Book Awards, awarded annually by the Before Columbus Foundation since 1978, honor outstanding achievement and contributions to diversity in American literature. Other winners of this year’s awards include the novelist Yaa Gyasi and author-activist Nancy Mercado.

2017 American Book Awards announced!

PDF File of Press Release

The Before Columbus Foundation announces the

Winners of the Thirty-Eighth Annual


Ceremonies, October 22, 2017, 12:00–2:30 p.m.

Oakland, CA—The Before Columbus Foundation announces the Winners of the Thirty-Eighth Annual AMERICAN BOOK AWARDS. The 2017 American Book Award winners will be formally recognized on Sunday, October 22nd, from 12:00-2:30 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 2017 American Book Award Winners are:


Rabia Chaudry

Adnan’s Story: The Search for Truth and Justice After Serial

(St. Martin’s Press)


Flores A. Forbes

Invisible Men: A Contemporary Slave Narrative in

the Era of Mass Incarceration (Skyhorse Publishing)


Yaa Gyasi

Homegoing (Knopf)


Holly Hughes

Passings (Expedition Press)


Randa Jarrar

Him, Me, Muhammad Ali (Sarabande Books)


Bernice L. McFadden

The Book of Harlan (Akashic Books)


Brian D. McInnes

Sounding Thunder: The Stories of Francis Pegahmagabow

(Michigan State University Press)


Patrick Phillips

Blood at the Root: A Racial Cleansing in America

(W. W. Norton & Company)


Vaughn Rasberry

Race and the Totalitarian Century: Geopolitics in

the Black Literary Imagination (Harvard University Press)


Marc Anthony Richardson

Year of the Rat (Fiction Collective Two)


Shawna Yang Ryan

Green Island (Knopf)


Ruth Sergel

See You in the Streets: Art, Action, and Remembering the

Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire (University of Iowa Press)


Solmaz Sharif

Look (Graywolf Press)


Adam Soldofsky

Memory Foam (Disorder Press)


Alfredo Véa

The Mexican Flyboy (University of Oklahoma Press)


Dean Wong

Seeing the Light: Four Decades in Chinatown (Chin Music Press)


Lifetime AchievementNancy Mercado


Editor/Publisher Award: Lost & Found: The CUNY Poetics

Document Initiative, Ammiel Alcalay, General Editor

Astra Taylor, American Book Award winner, gives EMMA talk

You can see video of her talk “Where Are The Gears? Thoughts on Resisting the (Neoliberal, Networked) Machine” here.

Deepa Iyer on the impact of ICE in courtrooms for Colorlines

Iyer won the 2016 American Book Award for “We Too Sing America”. With Archi Pyati:

Cambridge Scholarly Publishing releases “American Multiculturalism in Context”, a compilation helmed by Ishmael Reed

Cambridge Scholars Publishing is pleased to announce the publication of American Multiculturalism in Context: Views from at Home and Abroad, edited by Sämi Ludwig.

In March 2015, a group of experts from four continents and a wide range of disciplines met with the leading African American writer Ishmael Reed in Mulhouse, France, and Basel, Switzerland. Guided by Swiss cultural and literary theorist Sämi Ludwig, and deliberately migrating back and forth across a political border in the heart of Europe, they not only listened to Reed and discussed his work, but also looked more widely at the different meanings assigned to “multiculturalism” in the United States, Europe, and other parts of the world. This volume brings together their reflections.

To read a full summary of the book and to read a 30-page sample extract, which includes the table of contents, please visit the following link:

American Multiculturalism in Context: Views from at Home and Abroad can be purchased directly from Cambridge Scholars, through Amazon and other online retailers, or through our global network of distributors. Our partners include Bertram, Gardners, Baker & Taylor, Ingram, YBP, Inspirees and MHM Limited. An e-book version will be available for purchase through the Google Play store in due course.

For further information on placing an order for this title, please contact

About the Editor

Sämi Ludwig is a Professeur des Universités at the University of Upper Alsace Mulhouse, France. He received his education at the University of Berne, Switzerland, and has published in REAL, AmerikaStudien, Mosaic, the Cambridge Companion to Toni Morrison, The African American Review, and The Journal for Asian American Studies. In his PhD thesis on intercultural communication in the work of Maxine Hong Kingston and Ishmael Reed, he outlined a theory of the metaphorical tracing of the intention constructions of the other. His second book, titled Cognitive Realism: The Pragmatist Paradigm in American Literary Realism, focuses on the convergences of American Realism and pragmatist theory, and was published in 2002. In addition to intercultural issues and questions of cognitive and pragmatist approaches to literature, he is also interested in the big picture of literary history and colonial American culture, and occasionally writes about poetry.

Table of contents linked from AEDEAN (Spanish Association for Anglo-American Studies):


Laila Lalami speaks at Catawba College

Author Laila Lalami received an American Book Award in 2016 for The Moor’s Account. She appeared at Catawba College to speak this March. Coverage from the Salisbury Post:

Video Footage from the 2016 American Book Awards ceremony

Justin Desmangles presenting the award for Nick Turse’s Tomorrow’s Battlefield:

Playwright and author Genny Lim presents Arthur Dong with the American Book Award for Forbidden City, USA: Chinatown Nightclubs, 1936-1970:

Lauret Savoy interview discusses connection between locations’ names and history

Savoy receieved an American Book Award in 2016 for Trace: Memory, History, and the American Landscape. She speaks with High Country News about the book here: