36 African-American Nominees for National Book Awards

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The mission of the National Book Foundation and the National Book Awards is to celebrate the best of American literature, to expand its audience, and to enhance the cultural value of great writing in America.  Since 1996, independent panels of five writers have chosen the National Book Award winners in four categories: Fiction, Nonfiction, Poetry, and Young People’s Literature.

This year’s panelists include; Sharon Draper, who chairs the Young People’s Literature panel of judges; and Ruth Simmons, the first Black president of Brown University, who serves as a Nonfiction judge.

Since 2001 there have been 35 African-American nominees for National Book Awards. AALBC.com is very proud to recognize these authors as they, along was so many others not recognized here, represent the best of American literature.

2014
Fred Moten, The Feel Trio (Poetry) – Finalist
Claudia Rankine, Citizen: An American Lyric (Poetry) – Finalist
Jacqueline Woodson, Brown Girl Dreaming (Young People’s Literature) – Finalist

Troy’s Note: I’ll go on record and predict a win for Woodson. UPDATE: Woodson did go on to win the award!

2013
James McBride, The Good Lord Bird (Fiction) – Winner
Adrian Matejka, The Big Smoke (Poetry) – Finalist
Roger Bonair-Agard, Bury My Clothes (Poetry) – Longlist
Alaya Dawn Johnson, The Summer Prince (Young People’s Literature) Longlist

Check out AALBC.com’s coverage of the 2013 National Book Awards

2012
Junot Diaz, This is How You Lose Her (Fiction) – Finalist
Tim Seibles, Fast Animal (Poetry) – Finalist

2011
Jesmyn Ward, Salvage the Bones (Fiction) – Winner
Manning Marable, Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention (Nonfiction) – Finalist
Nikky Finney, Head Off & Split (Poetry) – Winner
Yusef Kamunyakaa, The Chameleon Counch (Poetry) – Finalist

On Nikky Finney’s acceptance speech for the Poetry Award, John Litgow said, “That was the best acceptance speech for anything I’ve ever heard in my life.” I would agree.

2010
Terrance Hayes, Lighthead (Poetry) – Winner
Walter Dean Myers, Lockdown (Young People’s Literature) – Finalist
Rita Williams Garcia, One Crazy Summer (Young People’s Literature) – Finalist

2009
Carl Phillips, Speak Low (Poetry) – Finalist
Lyrae Van Clief-Stefanon, Open Interval (Poetry) – Finalist
Rita Williams-Garcia, Jump (Young People’s Literature) – Finalist

2008
Annette Gordon-Reed, The Hemingses on Monticello (Nonfiction) – Winner
Patricia Smith, Blood Dazzler (Poetry) – Finalist

2007
Edwidge Danicat, Brother, I’m Dying (Nonfiction) – Finalist
M. Sindy Felin, Touching Snow (Young People’s Literature) – Finalist

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2006
Nathaniel Mackey, Splay Anthem (Poetry) – Winner

2005
Walter Dean Myers, Autobiography of My Dead Brother (Young People’s Literature) – Finalist

2004
Carl Phillips, The Rest of Love (Poetry) Finalist
Sheila P. Moses, The Legend of Buddy Bush (Young People’s Literature) – Finalist

2003
Edward P. Jones, The Known World (Fiction) – Finalist
Kevin Young, Jelly Roll: A Blues (Poetry) – Finalist
Jacqueline Woodson, Locomotion (Young People’s Literature) – Finalist

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2002
Harryette Mullen, Sleeping with the Dictionary, (Poetry) – Finalist
Jacqueline Woodson, Hush (Young People’s Literature) – Finalist

2001
Wanda Coleman, Mercurochrome, (Poetry) – Finalist
Cornelius Eady, Brutal Imagination (Poetry) – Finalist
Marilyn Nelson, Carver: A Life in Poems (Young People’s Literature) – Finalist

invisible-manThe first annual National Book Awards were presented on March 16, 1950.  The first African American winner was Ralph Waldo Ellison (1953) for his novel, Invisible Man.

Thanks to Sherrie Young, the National Book Foundation’s Director of Marketing and Special Projects, for her support in compiling this information.

Peace,
Troy Johnson
Founder, AALBC.com

Posted in 2014, Authors You Should Know, Award, books, Video, writers | 3 Comments

AALBC.com’s eNewsletter – October 28, 2014

You may receive this eNewsletter directly in your email-box by subscribing. It may also be read on your Kindle ebook reader, or any device by downloading a PDF version. Enjoy our previous eNewsletters. Consider sponsoring our eNewsletter or a dedicated mailing.

This month’s eNewsletter is sponsored by

Martha Kennerson

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Kristine is beautiful, smart, driven, and all set to have everything she wants in life. That is, until an ill-fated encounter alters the path she’s chosen in such a way that she’s forced to make the kind of life-altering decisions no woman should ever have to face. While waking up naked in a strange bed with a couple she barely knew wasn’t Kristine’s choice, how she deals with the consequences of that night creates a series of shocking choices that have a domino effect of turmoil to those close to her. Not everyone agrees with the direction Kristine’s life takes, but ultimately, she learns that strength and forgiveness can come from the most unfortunate of circumstances.

Visit www.marthakennerson.com to buy Consequences, and to find out more about Martha and her journey.

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Top Cities for Readers of African American Literature

news-top-cities-for-african-american-readersAALBC.com assessed the relative strengths of almost 300 American cities, to determine which ones are best able to provide environments that are supportive of, and conducive to, the enjoyment of African American Literature.

The result is a list of 26 cities we think are doing a great job. Let us know what you think ▶

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Authors You Should Know

news-marlon0jamesMarlon James

James was born in Kingston, Jamaica, in 1970. He graduated from the University of the West Indies in 1991 with a degree in literature. His first novel, John Crow’s Devil, was shortlisted for the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize and was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize. James lives in Kingston.

His most recent novel, A Brief History of Seven Killings,
Selected as one of the Library Journal’s Best Books of 2014. More ▶

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new-laurenLauren Francis-Sharma

Lauren is the daughter of Trinidadian-born parents, was raised in Baltimore, Maryland. She graduated from the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Michigan Law School and practiced as a corporate lawyer before writing ’Til the Well Runs Dry, her first novel.

“Women’s magazines from Elle to Oprah Winfrey’s O have praised Francis-Sharma’s novel, and it was recently the centerpiece of a small book festival in Washington during Caribbean Heritage Month …”—Krissah Thompson, The Washington Post More ▶

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news-michael-brownMichael B. Jackson

Jackson was born and raised in Newark, New Jersey. He recently retired after working for 26 years with New Jersey Juvenile Corrections and Parole. His recently (October 2014) released novel, FatherHoodlum: Chronicles of a Prison Dad, is his first venture into fiction writing.

Jackson, founder of the Internet based radio station, Prison Nation Radio, is a passionate advocate for the rights, protections and success of formerly incarcerated people and their families and those without a voice. He lives by the philosophy that “Doing good is the best revenge” and encourages those leaving prison to take control of their own success and “Do good, with a vengeance.” More ▶

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Book Reviews

Rainbow in the Cloud: The Wisdom and Spirit of Maya Angelou

news-rainbow-in-the-cloudOver the course of an enviable career that spanned a half-century, she would write 7 autobiographies, 5 collections of essays, 18 books of poetry, 2 cookbooks, 7 children’s books, and 7 plays. She also received innumerable awards and accolades, including 60 honorary doctorates.

Rainbow in the Cloud is a collection of 200 of the late icon’s most memorable quotes borrowed not only from previously published works but from social media posts and pearls of wisdom shared over the years with her only son, Guy Johnson, and other family members. More ▶

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news-culture-worrierCulture Worrier: Selected Columns 1984—2014: Reflections on Race, Politics and Social Change

Clarence Page takes pride in the fact that his articles enjoy a broad appeal, a reflection of his sterling reputation as an impartial pundit willing to criticize folks on either side of the aisle as he sees fit. On the one hand, he might indict Ronald Reagan for playing the race card by invoking the image of “welfare queens” to curry the favor of rednecks during the 1980 presidential campaign. On the other, he’ll point out how, during the 2008 campaign, Obama declared, “Race is an issue that I believe this nation cannot afford to ignore,” only to proceed to do just that once he got into office. More ▶

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AALBC.com Videos

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An avid reader, Gail Newell of the Go On Girl! Book Club’s Maryland 2 chapter; a young writer, Taheerah Abdul-Rahmaan; a library CEO, Dr. Carla Dean; and two accomplished authors, Leonard Pitts, Jr., and Jason Mott; take the time to explain the importance of literacy.  If literacy, in the Black community is important to you, please share their message. Watch ▶

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Cornel West: Video – Strand bookstore October 22, 2014

news-cornel-west-10-22-2014Cornel West and Darryl Pinckney discussed the financialization, militarization, and privatization of the United States government. West also provided an update on the protests in Ferguson, MO where he and 49 other people were arrested for disturbing the peace.

This conversation took place the Strand bookstore’s rare book room, on October 22, 2014 in New York City. Watch ▶

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Go On Girl! Book Club’s 22nd Annual Author Awards

news-tracey-smithTracey Y. Smith, National Media & Author Relations Chairperson for Go On Girl! Book Club, highlights their 22nd Annual Author Awards celebration at the Sheraton Inner Harbor Hotel in Baltimore, Maryland.

The Author Awards dinner was held on Saturday, June 7, 2014 and honored the 2013 winning authors including Author of the Year, Leonard Pitts, Jr.; Life Achievement Awardee, Marita Golden; Jr. GOG Reader’s Choice Awardee, Kwame Alexander and Unpublished Writer Winner, Taheerah Abdul-Raheem. Watch ▶

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Book Recommendations

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National Book Awards Finalists Announced

AALBC.com congratuates Jacqueline Woodson for her novel, Brown Girl Dreaming, which was nominated in the Young People’s Literature category. We also congratuate, Fred Moten and Claudia Rankine, who were honored in the Poetry category for The Feel Trio and Citizen: An American Lyric respectively, and all of the other nominees. More ▶

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news-citzens-creekCitizens Creek: A Novel by Lalita Tademy

“Lalita Tademy has done it again—Citizen’s Creek is a deep, touching novel of great historical import and lyrical beauty. At the heart of this book is a headstrong family living both as free blacks as well as Muscogee-speaking Creek. We learn the history of a people: one in constant battle to protect both their lands and freedoms, their loves and loved ones–and ultimately, the quest for their inheritance and birthright as Americans–in the greatest, truest sense of the word.”—ZZ Packer More ▶

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Mad at Miles by Pearl Cleage

news-mad-at-miles“The title came about because she stumbled across a Miles Davis interview where he bragged about slapping Cicely Tyson in the mouth and how she was afraid of him when they were married. Wasn’t the first time I heard it, but I was shocked when I did. Miles has always been touted in the black community and among jazz fans as if he was some “musical genius/hero.” I was shocked and offended that he found it comical to abuse a woman, and that his behavior seemed to be a well kept secret. My feel is if Miles doesn’t respect women, he gets no loyalty from me as a fan…I give credit where it’s due in him being a musician, but you will not hear me giving him accolades.” —Dee (from the AALBC.com Discussion Forum)

With directness, Pearl Cleage takes an unblinking look at the current state of abusive relationships and battered women. This is a funny, angry, lyric piece of theatre that all should see, in order to better understand the realities women have dealt with for decades. More ▶

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Related Articles & News

Black Expressions Book Club is no More

news-black-expressionsBlack Expressions Book Club (BE), the first African American direct mail book club, has officially rejoined Doubleday Book Club, effectively ending its existence. BE was a significant part of the increased attention paid to Black books during the 10 year period beginning in the late nineties and was a big part of the Black book landscape.

Carol Mackey was the editor and public face of BE for most of the club’s life. Through Carol’s leadership the club helped bolster the careers of many authors and supported entities like AALBC.com, by co-sponsoring our 2nd annual Black Pack Party in Los Angeles. BE’s founding editor was Monica Harris (RIP), their final editor was Danielle Jackson.

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news-addictedAddicted ★★☆☆ — Film Review

I polled about a dozen sisters to see what they thought of the picture. They all loved it. But we men had found it sheer torture, from the tame sex scenes showing precious little skin, to the Puritanical moralizing, to the over-the-top melodrama.

That being said, since the estrogen-laden ladies uniformly enjoyed the film, I’m inclined to give them the benefit of the doubt, and assume that testosterone heavily influenced my viewing experience. Therefore, fellow males might want to take anything positive I have to say here with a ton of salt. More ▶

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news-guguGugu Mbatha-Raw The “Beyond the Lights” Interview

Belle and Noni are almost polar opposites.
“Noni’s not a bad girl. She’s more of a victim. What interested me in this film, after doing Belle, which was a period drama set in a very repressed society, was the idea of exploring something much more contemporary: the sexualization of women and girls by the music and entertainment industries, how that has become the norm, and what is the cost of using sex to sell music, psychologically and emotionally. Gina [director Gina Prince-Bythewood] often talks about changing the conversation and steering the culture in a different direction, and about providing some inspiration to become your authentic self. Noni has become trapped by her public persona, so there was a lot to sink my teeth into.” —Gugu Mbatha-Raw More ▶

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news-ginaGina Prince-Bythewood The “Beyond the Lights” Interview

Born on June 10, 1969, Gina Maria Prince-Bythewood studied film at UCLA before beginning her career as a writer for the TV sitcom, A Different World. In 2000, she made a noteworthy directorial debut with the critically-acclaimed Love & Basketball, which netted a dozen accolades during awards season, including a couple of NAACP Image Awards, a BET Award and several Black Reel Awards.

Gina’s next feature was The Secret Life of Bees (2008), which also earned its share of trophies, including Image Awards for Best Picture and Best Director. Here, she talks about making her third movie, Beyond the Lights, a romance drama co-starring Gugu Mbata-Raw and Nate Parker. More ▶

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news-bruce-lee-ping-pongBelieve none of what you hear, and only half of what you see.

On a daily basis I see things on social media that demonstrates how easily we can be manipulated into believing that something is true, when it should be obvious that it is not. Facebook, for example, has been putting a lot more video on my newsfeed lately. I’ve started to notice a lot of videos that are clearly fake. However, based upon the comments posted, people believe these fake videos to be true. It is very scary how easily we can be fooled.

For example, I saw a video posted by someone I thought was pretty sharp. They used this video to prove how skilled the martial artist Bruce Lee was with nunchucks, which is a weapon made of two, foot-long sticks, connected by a short chain. Here we see Lee playing ping pong using these sticks This is not to say Bruce Lee was not a skilled martial artist, but the very idea that some people would actually believe this feat to be humanly possible is, itself, unbelievable. Join the Conversation ▶

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Download the AALBC.com Mobile App

news-aalbc-mobile-appThe AALBC.com Mobile Application is available for the Apple iOS and Google Android platforms.

With our free application you can stay up t0 date with our latest book and film reviews, interviews, articles, videos and more. You’ll find content not mentioned in our eNewsletter, as our eNewsletter primarily focuses on more recent information. Get the App ▶

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A Note to Authors

This Month’s Note: The “Old Fashioned” eNewsletter Still Works Great!

news-october-2014Social media is excellent for engaging with readers, but the majority of that engagement remains on the social media’s platform which does little to bring visitors to your website where a richer experience, that you manage, is possible.

Don’t underestimate the effectiveness of an “old fashioned” eNewsletter (like the one you are reading now) to bring visitors to your website. With a newsletter, you can reach all of your readers without having to worry about a social media algorithms deciding which readers see your message. Today, I use Mad Mimi to manage AALBC.com’s eNewsletter. Mad Mimi is free for up to 2,500 subscribers. Mail Chimp is also a good option and is free for up to 2,000 subscribers. Constant Contact is popular (I used it for years in the past), but they do not offer a free option and the service is relatively expensive.

Reaction to last month’s recommendation: Authors add a link on your website to an independent website (Follow this link to learn why), resulted in a number of authors linking back to AALBC.com including Jewell Parker Rhodes and Frankie Lemon. Thanks y’all!

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The Baltimore African American Book Festival Please consider purchasing, or renewing, your subscription to AALBC.com’s eNewsletter—less than 50 cents an issue.

If you’ve read something in our eNewsletter that you enjoyed, or felt was important, please share it. We are responsible for ensuring our stories are told, shared, and preserved. As the number of platforms promoting our work continue to decrease in number, and reach, your active participation is needed.

news-thanks-for-sharingFinally, if you are interested in sponsoring our eNewsletter, November and December are still available.

Peace,
Troy Johnson,
Founder and Webmaster

Posted in 2014, African-American, Author Interviews, Authors You Should Know, book, Book Blog, books, Celebrity Interviews, Video | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Jane Addams Book Award Winner Jewell Parker Rhodes

Jewell-Rhodes_300[1]ABOUT JEWELL PARKER RHODES

Jewell Parker Rhodes is the Piper Endowed Chair and founding artistic director of the Virginia G. Piper Center for Creative Writing at Arizona State University.

Ninth Ward, Rhodes’ first novel for young readers, was named a Coretta Scott King Honor Book, a Notable Book for a Global Society, and a Today show Al’s Book Club for Kids selection. Sugar was named a 2014 Jane Addams Book Award recipient (for books that engage children in thinking about peace, justice, world community and/or equality of the sexes and all races), as well as receiving many accolades and inclusions on state award lists. The upcoming Bayou Magic, (May 2015 from Little, Brown Books for Young Readers) completes Jewell’s ‘Louisiana Girls’ set.

You may learn more about Jewell at her website, jewellparkerrhodes.com

ninth-ward-jewell-newsletter[1]NINTH WARD

Twelve-year-old Lanesha lives in a tight-knit community in New Orleans’ Ninth Ward. She doesn’t have a fancy house like her uptown family or lots of friends like other kids on her street. But what she does have is Mama Ya-Ya, her fiercely loving caretaker, wise in the ways of the world and able to predict the future. So when Mama Ya-Ya’s visions show a powerful hurricane–Katrina–fast approaching, it’s up to Lanesha to call upon the hope and strength Mama Ya-Ya has given her to help them both survive the storm.

Ninth Ward is a celebration of resilience, love, family, and friendship, and a deeply emotional story of transformation (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, April 10, 2012).

news-jewell-sugar-big[1]SUGAR

Sugar shares the little-known experiences of Chinese laborers in the post-Civil War South. Captivated by this slice of American History that she wasn’t familiar with, Jewell found herself daydreaming about Chinese and African American cultures blending in Louisiana. The result is Sugar, a moving and powerful story of unlikely friendships and how they can change our lives forever.

The year is 1870, after slavery is abolished but when many African Americans still work the plantation fields, and ten-year-old Sugar has always dreamed of the world beyond the banks of the Mississippi River. She sees her chance when Chinese workers arrive at the plantation to help harvest the cane, and strives to bridge the cultural gap and bring her community together. As she did in the Coretta Scott King Honor book, Ninth Ward, Jewell Parker Rhodes brings history to life with beautiful storytelling and strong, spirited characters (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, June 3, 2014).

bayou-magic-jewell-newsletter[1]BAYOU MAGIC

It’s Maddy’s turn to have a bayou summer. At first she misses life back home in the city, but soon she grows to love everything about her new surroundings — the glimmering fireflies, the glorious landscape, and something else, deep within the water, that only Maddy sees. Could it be a mermaid? As her grandmother shares wisdom about sayings and signs, Maddy realizes she may be the only sibling to carry on her family’s magical legacy. And when a disastrous oil leak threatens the bayou, she knows she may also be the only one who can help. Does she have what it takes to be a hero?

A coming-of-age tale rich with folk magic, set in the wake of the Gulf oil spill, Bayou Magic celebrates hope, friendship, and family, and captures the wonder of life in the Deep South (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, May 12, 2015).

Coretta Scott King Honor Author Award, Jane Adams Honor Book Award, Parents Choice Foundation Gold Award

Coretta Scott King Honor Author, Parents Choice Foundation Gold, and Jane Adams Honor Book Awards

You may receive messages like this directly in your email-box by subscribing. It may also be read on your Kindle ebook reader, or any device by downloading a PDF version. Enjoy our previous eNewsletters and consider sponsoring our eNewsletter or a dedicated mailing.

Enjoy,
Troy Johnson
AALBC.com’s, Founder and Webmaster

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