American Book Award Winners Announced

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Posted 9.24.12 by Prize Reporter

The Before Columbus Foundation has announced the winners of its thirty-third annual American Book Awards. The prizes are given for outstanding books of any genre that encompass themes of American diversity.

The winners are: Annia Ciezadlo for Day of Honey: A Memoir of Food, Love, and War (Free Press); Arlene Kim for What Have You Done to Our Ears to Make Us Hear Echoes? (Milkweed Editions); Ed Bok Lee for Whorled (Coffee House Press); Adilifu Nama for Super Black: American Pop Culture and Black Superheroes (University of Texas Press); Rob Nixon for Slow Violence and the Environmentalism of the Poor (Harvard University Press); Shann Ray for American Masculine (Graywolf Press); Alice Rearden for her translation Our Nelson Island Stories (University of Washington Press); Touré for Who’s Afraid of Post-Blackness? What It Means to Be Black Now (Free Press); Amy Waldman for The Submission (Farrar, Straus and Giroux); Mary Winegarden for The Translator’s Sister (Mayapple Press); and Kevin Young for Ardency: A Chronicle of the Amistad Rebels (Knopf).

Eugene B. Redmond, the poet laureate of East St. Louis, Illinois, received the Lifetime Achievement Award. The award follows his first American Book Award, which he received in 1993 for his poetry collection The Eye in the Ceiling (Harlem River Press). An emeritus professor of English and founding editor of Drumvoices Revue at Southern Illinois University in Edwardsville, Redmond has written seven books of poetry and one book of nonfiction, and his work has appeared in over a dozen magazines and anthologies.

The American Book Awards, established to “recognize outstanding literary achievement from the entire spectrum of America's diverse literary community,” have been given annually since 1978 to emerging and established writers, for books published in the previous year. Winners are nominated and selected by a panel of writers, editors, and publishers.

Founded in 1976, the Oakland, California-based Before Columbus Foundation is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the promotion of contemporary American multicultural literature. “Recognizing literary excellence demands a panoramic perspective,” states the organization’s mission. “American literature is not one tradition but all traditions. From those who have been here for thousands of years to the most recent immigrants, we are all contributing to American culture. We are all being translated into a new language.”

The winners will be recognized on Sunday, October 7 at the University of California in Berkeley. The submission deadline for the 2013 American Book Awards is December 31. For complete guidelines and more information on the awards, visit the Before Columbus Foundation website. 

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