Tag: National Book Foundation

Jeffrey C. Stewart, Elizabeth Acevedo and more Authors of Color Sweep National Book Awards

“The Poet X” and “The New Negro: The Life of Alaine Locke” cover art

by Sameer Rao via colorlines.com

The National Book Foundation announced Thursday that five literary works by writers of color earned all of its 2018 National Book Awards. Here are the winning novels and collections, as noted on the foundation’s website:

Fiction: “The Friend,” by Sigrid Nunez. The novel explores a woman’s grief after her best friend and mentor dies and leaves her his Great Dane.

Nonfiction: “The New Negro: The Life of Alain Locke,” by Jeffrey C. Stewart. The Black studies scholar chronicles the life and relationships of the first African-American Rhodes Scholar and Harlem Renaissance leader.

Poetry: “Indecency,” by Justin Phillip Reed. This collection features several poems of varying forms that explore incarceration, White supremacy, masculinity and other social and racial justice issues.

Translated Literature: “The Emissary,” by Yoko Tawada and translated from original Japanese by Margaret Mitsutani. This novel takes place in Japan, after a major disaster prompts the country to isolate itself from the world. In this society, children like Mumei are born frail, while elderly people like his great-grandfather Yoshiro have the energy to care for the youth. “The Emissary” follows the pair’s day-to-day activities and fun in the face of dystopia.

Young People’s Literature: “The Poet X,” by Elizabeth Acevedo. A Dominican-American teenage girl navigates adolescence, crushes, harassment and her Harlem community while finding her voice through slam poetry.

Source: Authors of Color Sweep National Book Awards

Lisa Lucas Named Executive Director of National Book Foundation

Lisa Lucas (photo via nytimes.com)
Lisa Lucas (photo via nytimes.com)

article by Zon D’Amour via hellobeautiful.com

Avid reader and magazine publisher Lisa Lucas has been named the new Executive Director of the National Book Foundation. Lucas is only the third executive director and first African American woman in the history of the literary organization which was formally established in 1986.

Its first executive director, Neil Baldwin, served until 2003. His successor, Harold Augenbraum, announced he would be retiring in the spring. Lucas will begin her position on Monday, March 14.

According to the New York Times, a part of Lucas’ initiatives as Executive Director will be overseeing the inclusion of more women and authors of color as recipients of the National Book Awards. The coveted prize has been honoring literary excellence since 1950.

“Readers are everything, readers are everyone. It should be about building one big massive audience that’s reflective of where we live” said Lucas.

Her literary background includes serving as the publisher of Guernica, an arts magazine with an international and often political focus. Prior to that, the 36-year-old worked for several nonprofit cultural institutions, including the Tribeca Film Festival and the Steppenwolf Theater in Chicago.

In an interview with NPR, she shared her excitement for her new position, “It has just been an ecstatic joy to be able to do work in service of readers…it just feels like an extraordinary opportunity to build on the work they’ve done, and to keep figuring out ways to engage readers.”

Maya Angelou To Receive Norman Mailer Prize for Lifetime Achievement in Writing

mailer prize

NEW YORK — Maya Angelou is receiving another honorary prize for writing.  The Norman Mailer Center and Writers Colony announced Thursday that Angelou will be given a lifetime achievement award at a benefit gala Oct. 17. Earlier this month, the National Book Foundation announced that the 85-year-old Angelou would be given an honorary National Book Award, her first major literary prize.

The Mailer Center will also give a distinguished writing prize to Junot Diaz and an award for the best emerging journalist to the late Michael Hastings. Hastings was killed in an auto accident in June at age 33. He’s best known for a Rolling Stone article that led to the resignation of the U.S. commander in Afghanistan, Gen. Stanley McChrystal.

article via huffingtonpost.com

Maya Angelou to Receive Honorary Book Award

Dr. Maya Angelou poses at the the Special Recognition Event for Dr. Maya Angelou � The Michael Jackson Tribute Portrait at Dr. Angelou's home June 21, 2010 in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. (Photo by Ken Charnock/Getty Images)
Dr. Maya Angelou poses at the the Special Recognition Event for Dr. Maya Angelou The Michael Jackson Tribute Portrait at Dr. Angelou’s home June 21, 2010 in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. (Photo by Ken Charnock/Getty Images)

The book world is finally honoring Maya Angelou.

The poet and author of I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings will be this year’s recipient of the Literarian Award, an honorary National Book Award for contributions to the literary community, the National Book Foundation announced today. It is the first major literary prize for the 85-year-old Angelou, who has been celebrated everywhere from the Grammy Awards to the White House. She has received three Grammys for best spoken word album, a National Medal of Arts and the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the country’s highest civilian honor.

Speaking by telephone with The Associated Press, Angelou said she couldn’t wait to be in the same room as “some very big names in the literary world” and that the Literarian prize made her feel that she was “picking in high cotton.”

“Dr. Angelou’s body of work transcends the words on the page,” the book foundation’s executive director, Harold Augenbraum, said in a statement. “She has been on the front lines of history and the fight for social justice and decade after decade remains a symbol of the redemptive power of literature in the contemporary world.”

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