Bojan Luis’ “Currents” wins American Book Award

KCUR highlights the book of stories from BkMk press.

“Louis, a member of the Navajo Nation, tells stories in “Currents” in three languages: English, Diné and Spanish. Inspired by his work as an electrician, enriched by his love for the Navajo and Spanish languages, and marked by his fearless look at how the big cultural questions affect our daily lives, Bojan Louis has given us a stunning debut book.”

Valeria Luiselli’s ‘Tell Me How It Ends: An Essay in Forty Questions’ wins American Book Award

Telesur TV covers Luiselli’s critical investigation of immigration policy. “Distributed to both English and Spanish readers, the collection of short stories was published to its Latin audience under the title ‘Los Niños Perdidos’ (The Lost Children).”

Thi Bui, American Book Award winner, named Best of the East Bay

The East Bay Express names Thi Bui “Best Graphic Novelist Fighting For The Underdog”  in their annual Best of the East Bay list, including biographical article:

2018 American Book Awards

The Press Release for the 2018 American Book Awards has been released: American Book Award 2018 Press Release

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

August 13, 2018


Contact: Justin Desmangles, 916-425-7916

The Before Columbus Foundation announces the

Winners of the Thirty-Ninth Annual


Ceremonies, October 28, 2018, 12:00–2:30 p.m.

Oakland, CA—The Before Columbus Foundation announces the Winners of the Thirty-Ninth Annual AMERICAN BOOK AWARDS. The 2018 American Book Award winners will be formally recognized on Sunday, October 28, 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 2018 American Book Award Winners are:

Thi Bui, The Best That We Could Do: An Illustrated Memoir (Harry N. Abrams)

Rachelle Cruz, God’s Will for Monsters (Inlandia Books)

Tommy Curry, The Man-Not: Race, Class, Genre, and the Dilemmas of Black Manhood
(Temple University Press)

Tongo Eisen-Martin, Heaven Is All Goodbyes (City Lights)

Dana Naone Hall, Life of the Land: Articulations of a Native Writer (‘Ai Pohaku Press)

Kelly Lytle Hernández, City of Inmates: Conquest, Rebellion, and the Rise of Human Caging in Los Angeles, 1771-1965 (University of North Carolina)

Victor LaValle, The Changeling: A Novel (Spiegel & Grau)

Bojan Louis, Currents (BkMk Press at the University of Missouri-Kansas City)

Valeria Luiselli, Tell Me How It Ends: An Essay in Forty Questions (Coffee House)

Cathryn Josefina Merla-Watson and B. V. Olguín, Altermundos Latin@ Speculative Literature, Film, and Popular Culture (UCLA Chicano Studies Research Center Press)

Tiya Miles, The Dawn of Detroit: A Chronicle of Slavery and Freedom in the City of the Straits (The New Press)

Tommy Pico, Nature Poem (Tin House Books)

Rena Priest, Patriarchy Blues (MoonPath Press)

Joseph Rios, Shadowboxing: poems & impersonations (Omnidawn)

Sunaura Taylor, Beasts of Burden: Animal and Disability Liberation (The New Press)

Lifetime Achievement

Sequoyah Guess

Walter & Lillian Lowenfels Criticism Award

Kellie Jones, South of Pico: African American Artists in Los Angeles in the 1960s and 1970s

(Duke University)

Editor/Publisher Award

Charles F. Harris

Anti-Censorship Award

Rob Rogers

Oral Literature Award

Heroes Are Gang Leaders



San Francisco Chronicle covers Ishmael Reed’s film “Personal Problems”

“Personal Problems,” a 1980 experimental domestic drama directed by the late Bill Gunn (“Ganja and Hess”) and written by Bay Area poet and novelist Ishmael Reed, debuts Aug. 16-22, Alamo Drafthouse New Mission, SF. . Article from the San Francisco Chronicle:

Laila Lalami criticizes US immigrant detention policy

Lalami has received the American Book Award in 2016 for novel The Moor’s Account. From The Nation:

Roscoe Mitchell to perform musical tribute to poet Bob Kaufman

(This event is free and open to the public)
Before Columbus Foundation Presents
In Association with The African-American Center of The San Francisco Public Library and Justin Desmangles, Chair of Before Columbus Foundation

Does the Secret Mind Whisper?
A Celebration of Poet Bob Kaufman with Roscoe Mitchell

Where: San Francisco Public Library’s Koret Auditorium, 100 Larkin St. San Francisco, California

A towering presence in Afro-American classical music for over five decades, Roscoe Mitchell (Art Ensemble of Chicago) presents a program of music and poetry celebrating Bob Kaufman.

Roscoe Mitchell, reeds
Brett Carson, keyboard
Justin Desmangles, voice

You can RSVP to the event on Facebook here:

Ishmael Reed Discusses New Novel “Conjugating Hindi” in San Francisco, July 8

Sunday, July 8, 1pm-4pm
San Francisco Public Library’s Koret Auditorium

(This event is free and open to the public)

Before Columbus Foundation Presents
In Association with The African-American Center of The San Francisco Public Library and Justin Desmangles

Ishmael Reed discussing his most recent novel, Conjugating Hindi, new from Dalkey Archive Press.

Program begins with an in-depth conversation featuring special guests Carla Blank and Melanie Masterton Sherazi on the subject of William Demby’s posthumous work, King Comus, which Ms. Sherazi edited and reassembled, published for the first time last year by Ishmael Reed Publishing Company.

RSVP to the event & find details on Facebook:

On Conjugating Hindi:

Chappie Puttbutt has moved to North Oakland, still a mixed neighborhood in a rapidly gentrifying city. In need of money and a boost in profile, he agrees to a series of public debates with the right-wing Indian intellectual Shashi Parmar on the topic, ‘Was Slavery All That Bad’? Content to be paid to play the foil, Chappie’s new job doesn’t last long however. An overseas plane crash ignites political tensions between the US and India, and when a hysterical Congress passes a Fugitive Indian Law soon afterward, Shashi looks to Chappie for refuge.

“One of the most inventive and prolific of contemporary American writers . . . Reed’s prose style resembles the youthful Ali’s ring style. It is unorthodox, brash, yet controlled.” (New York Times)

“His own groundbreaking literary output over six decades, in multiple languages and every form―essays, fiction, poetry, film, even editorial cartoons―has infected a generation of artists.” (The Paris Review)

“Reed’s gift is for the outrageous, for giving vivid expression to cultural controversies very much in the air . . . He is one of the most underrated writers in America. Certainly no other contemporary black writer, male or female, has used the language and beliefs of folk culture so imaginatively, and few have been so stinging about the absurdity of American racism.” (New York Review of Books)

On King Comus:
“KING COMUS: REDISCOVERED NOVEL OF THE YEAR” Jeff Biggers writes in the Huffington Post
“Once every decade or so, a classic novel is rediscovered from the heap pile of obscurity, casting new light on an author who has been grievously overlooked, undervalued or simply unpublished.
“Ambitious in scope, epic in its timebend narratives that range from the Congress of Vienna in 1815 to World War II in Italy to modern-day neo-slave narratives and black speculative fiction, and absolutely dazzling in its comical clash between debauchery and redemption, William Demby’s posthumously published King Comus is such a novel for our generation.”
“….Demby’s reexamination of the cycles of history, its mythological antecedents, and his role in it, remained his identifiable literary mission—and our incredible joy as readers.”

“While Demby is not as well known today as his friends Richard Wright and Ishmael Reed, the publication of King Comus will surely bring renewed interest to his work and his contribution to both neo-slave narratives and black speculative fiction. As Demby demonstrates, the neo-slave narrative is necessarily speculative since we cannot imagine the conditions of slavery as practiced in the US South. Rather than attempt a realist depiction of slavery in the 19th century, Demby offers a narrative that hinges on our inability to know history in any form. That said, he also suggests that we must continue to write it for ourselves because …. [as one character observes] we don’t belong to ourselves no more; we belong to a larger community with all the responsibilities that entails. “

Resisting Disaster Capitalism in Puerto Rico

On Wednesday, June 6, The Intercept co-hosted “The Battle for Paradise: Resisting Disaster Capitalism in Puerto Rico,” an event focused on how the forces of disaster capitalism are seeking to undermine the Puerto Rican people’s vision for a just and renewable future. Video of the discussion can be seen on The Intercept‘s website:

The event features Naomi Klein alongside various other esteemed scholars and journalists. Klein received the American Book Award in 2015 for This Changes Everything: Capitalism Vs The Climate.


Ishmael Reed criticizes media’s racial irresponsibility

Following recent controversy surrounding Roseanne Barr, Reed examines how “The Segregated Media” uses scapegoats to deflect from its own inadequate attempts to address racism. Via Counterpunch