The prize is awarded annually by Poets & Writers to an American poet of exceptional talent who deserves wider recognition, and aims to provide what poets need: time and encouragement to write. There is no application process; poets are nominated by a panel of their peers who remain anonymous.
Joy Harjo’s Crazy Brave received the American Book Award in 2013. She sits on Before Columbus Foundation’s Board of Directors
Ishmael Reed has been critical of the Broadway performance Hamilton since its debut. He summarizes his perspective on a recent viewing of its performance in an article in The San Francisco Chronicle‘s Datebook:
A full production of my play, ” The Haunting of Lin-Manuel Miranda,” beginning May 23 at the Nuyorican Poets Café in New York, and directed by the award-winning Rome Neal, will not only present voices that are missing from “Hamilton: The Revolution” — Native Americans, slaves and white indentured servants — but also expose an upheaval that is happening in the American Historical Establishment as women, blacks, Native American and Latinx have their say.
Ishmael Reed’s 1980 film Personal Problemsis a black soap opera unfolding in the melancholy of the blues. Enlisting legendary Bill Gunn as director, Reed and producer Walter Cotton sketched out an improvisatory scenario exploring the moody tribulations of a group of Harlem residents. – Steve Seid
Long-time friends, Cecilia Vicuña and Will Alexander came together for the first time to read and discuss their many varied involvements. Alexander’s Singing In Magnetic Hoofbeat: Essays, Prose, Texts, Interviews, and a Lecture received the 2013 American Book Award, and he sits on Before Columbus Foundation’s board of directors. Coverage of the event from Entropy Magazine.
The two authors discuss topics relevant to their writing in a candid and insightful conversation. Marlon James received the American Book Award in 2015 for his novel A Brief History Of Seven Killings, and subsequently joined Before Columbus Foundation’s board of directors. Victor LaValle’s The Changeling received the American Book Award in 2018.