Category Archives: Foundation News

Ishmael Reed Writes New Introduction for Author Charles S. Wright

The Collected Novels of Charles S. Wright has been republished in 2019 with a new introduction from Ishmael Reed containing an in depth and personal examination of the Author’s history.

From The Literary Hub:

San Francisco Library Hosts American Book Award Winner Tommy Orange

San Francisco Public Library is honored to announce its 15th Annual One City One Book main event, #ThereThere by Tommy Orange, presented in partnership with Litquake. Tommy Orange will be at the Main Library in conversation with San Francisco Poet Laureate Kim Shuck.

“There There” tells the story of urban Native Americans living in Oakland, CA, depicting a beautiful, compelling, heartbreaking and urgently real landscape of the Native experience living in the Bay Area past and present day.

Throughout the months of October and November 2019, “There There” will be widely available at all San Francisco libraries and at bookstores around the city. We are pleased to offer many events and programs related to #OneCityOneBook, including book talks, themed exhibits, related programs and speakers along with city-wide celebration of Indigenous heritage and the 50th anniversary of the Alcatraz Occupation.

This year’s One City One Book program is a joint partnership with the San Francisco Arts Commission, Oakland Public Library, City College of San Francisco, and June Jordan School of Equity. Key sponsors are Friends of the San Francisco Public Library and Litquake.

Koret Auditorium
San Francisco Public Library
100 Larkin St., San Francisco



All libraries are wheelchair accessible. To request other accommodations, call 415-557-4557 or contact Requesting 72 hours in advance will help ensure availability.

RSVP on Facebook:

Mercury News Covers Tommy Orange’s American Book Award

Orange’s debut novel There There has received the 2019 American Book Award. It plumbs the substance of Native American lives in Oakland, California.

Wales Bonner Profiled by Vogue and GQ Magazines

Designer Wales Bonner is a young rising star of fashion. Profiles of her work linked below highlight Bonner’s ongoing collaboration with Ishmael Reed.

Lorna Dee Cervantes and Ishmael Reed’s Band Perform

Lorna Dee Cervantes performs When Ishmael Cooks the Gumbo to a full house with accompaniment from the Ishmael Reed Band at Yoshi’s Jazz Club San Francisco on 11/14/11. This event was part of a benefit for the Before Columbus Foundation. Cervantes’ Emplumada earned considerable critical acclaim and continues to be an important work in Chicana literature. In 1982 it won the American Book Award.

2019 American Book Award Winners Announced

Download Official Press Release Here

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

August 19, 2019


Contact: Justin Desmangles, 916-425-7916

The Before Columbus Foundation announces the

Winners of the Fortieth Annual


Ceremonies, November 1, 2019, 1:00–4:00 p.m.

Oakland, CA—The Before Columbus Foundation announces the Winners of the Fortieth Annual AMERICAN BOOK AWARDS. The 2019 American Book Award winners will be formally recognized on Friday, November 1, 2019, from 1:00-4:00 p.m. at the Koret Auditorium, San Francisco Public Library, 100 Larkin St., 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 2019 American Book Award Winners are:

Frank Abe, Greg Robinson, and Floyd Cheung (editors)

John Okada: The Life & Rediscovered Work of the Author of No-No Boy

(University of Washington Press)

May-lee Chai

Useful Phrases for Immigrants: Stories



Louise DeSalvo

The House of Early Sorrows: A Memoir in Essays

(Fordham University Press)

Heid E. Erdrich (editor)

New Poets of Native Nations

(Graywolf Press)

Ángel García

Teeth Never Sleep: Poems

(University of Arkansas Press)

Tommy Orange

There There: A Novel


Halifu Osumare

Dancing in Blackness: A Memoir

(University Press of Florida)

Christopher Patton

Unlikeness Is Us: Fourteen from the Exeter Book

(Gaspereau Press)

Mark Sarvas

Memento Park: A Novel

(Farrar, Straus and Giroux)

Jeffrey C. Stewart

The New Negro: The Life of Alain Locke

(Oxford University Press)

William T. Vollmann

Carbon Ideologies: Volume I, No Immediate Danger, Volume II, No Good Alternative


G. Willow Wilson (author), Nico Leon (illustrator)

Ms. Marvel Vol. 9: Teenage Wasteland


Lifetime Achievement Award:

Nathan Hare

Editor/Publisher Award:

UCLA Chicano Studies Research Center

Oral Literature Award:

Moor Mother (Camae Ayewa)

The Nation reviews Ishmael Reed’s Play

Reed’s play The Haunting of Lin-Manuel Miranda examines Broadway hit Hamilton‘s misrepresentations of history. From The Nation:

The Knockturnal reviews Ishmael Reed’s latest play

Ishmael Reed’s play “The Haunting of Lin-Manuel Miranda” premiered at the Nuyorican Poets Café this past Thursday evening. The play aims to provide a historical counterpoint to ‘Hamilton,’ Lin-Manuel Miranda’s smash Broadway success. Read the review linked below:

Laila Lalami discusses new novel “The Other Americans”

Lalami’s The Moor’s Account received the American Book Award in 2016. She sits on Before Columbus Foundation’s Board of Directors. Via The Nation’s podcast, Start Making Sense:

Laila Lalami’s “The Other Americans” reviewed by New York Times

Lalami’s The Moor’s Account received the American Book Award in 2016. She sits on Before Columbus Foundation’s board of directors. The article appears in print today. Read it online here: