Tag Archives: History

Black Writers Dominate the 2017 Pulitzer Prizes

Tyehimba Jess, Hilton Als, Colson Whityehead and LYnn Nottage. Black writers winners of the 2017 Pulitzer Prize

Back in January of this year, I took the time to try to figure out how many Black writers have won Pulitzer Prizes in the six “Letters and Drama” categories; Biography/Autobiography, Fiction, General Non-Fiction, History, Poetry, and Drama.  The results were spectacularly dismal.

The award was first bestowed in 1917.  The first award was not given to a Black person until 1950! Gwendolyn Brooks was the first to win for her book of poetry Annie Allen.  Almost another three decades would go by before another Black writer, James Alan McPherson would win for his novel, Elbow Room in 1978.

As far as I can tell, no Black writer has ever won for General Non-fiction. Only one writer Ta-Nehisi Coates was ever nominated in the category, for the spectacularly successful, Between the World and Me.

Up until 2016, only 19 Black writers have won Pulitzer Prizes during the first century the award was given.  However this year, three Black writers have won half of the awards in given in the Letters and Drama categories.  Given the history of the award, it is like lightning striking not twice but three times.

In fact, novelist and critic Hilton Als won the Award for Criticism.  I did not research the history of the other 18 categories for which Pulitzer Prizes are awarded.  The other categories deal mostly with journalism and reporting; I suspect that would be an interesting and revealing exercise to review those categories too.

I’d be the first to argue that the Black community does not need the validation of Pulitzer Prize Board to substantiate our work.  Indeed, given the history of the award, it is not expected either.  However, there have been substantive changes in the awards in recent years.  This is the first time three Black writers have won in these categories in a single year. Of the total 22 awards given to Black writers, almost half were given in the last 10 years.  This is a positive trend.

So while we do not need the award to know our writing deserves merit, it is, of course, welcomed when our literary merit is acknowledged and celebrated by the broader community.   In additional to the $10,000 monetary award, these writers will enjoy even greater success with better book advances and more lucrative speaking gigs.  This is America and awards like the Pulitzer help authors achieve financial success—a benefit denied so many talented Black writers.

AALBC.com congratulates all the winners of Pulitzer Prizes in the Letters and Drama categories:

Fiction
Colson Whitehead for his novel Underground Railroad

“For a distinctive work that melds performance art with the deeper art of poetry to explore collective memory and challenge contemporary notions of race and identity.”

Poetry
Tyehimba Jess for his book Olio

“For a smart melding of realism and allegory that combines the violence of slavery and the drama of escape in a myth that speaks to contemporary America.”

Drama
Lynn Nottage for her play Sweat

“For a nuanced yet powerful drama that reminds audiences of the stacked deck still facing workers searching for the American dream.”

 

New Books February 2017, Book Reviews, Events, and More

february 2017 New Books

New Books Coming Out February 2017

Piecing Me Together by Renée Watson
A timely and powerful story about a teen girl striving for success in a world that too often feels like it wants to break her.

Lust: A Seven Deadly Sins Novel by Victoria Christopher Murray
A novel inspired by the seven deadly sins about a woman caught between an entertainment mogul with a shady past and his childhood friend who is out for revenge.

High Cotton: A Novel by Darryl Pinckney
This novel evokes a world that has not often been examined – the world of upper-middle-class blacks, obsessed with light skin and good hair.

The Playbook: 52 Rules to Aim, Shoot, and Score in This Game Called Life by Kwame Alexander
The Playbook is intended to provide inspiration on the court of life. Each rule contains wisdom from inspiring athletes and role models such as Nelson Mandela, Serena Williams, LeBron James, Carli Lloyd, Steph Curry and Michelle Obama.

The Lazarus Poems by Kamau Brathwaite
Central to the book is a series of poems outlining the speaker’s (the poet s) experiences with what he calls Cultural Lynching. The speaker’s pain and outrage are almost overwhelming. Filled with longing, rage, nostalgia, impotence, wisdom, and love, this book is moving in every sense of the word.

Dance of the Jakaranda by Peter Kimani
“In this racially charged dance of power, the railroad into the interior of the country becomes a journey into the hearts of men and women. It is a dance of love and hate and mixed motives that drive human actions and alter the course of history. Kimani’s writing has the clarity of analytic prose and the lyrical tenderness of poetry.”—Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o

Learn about these and many more excellent books coming out in February and the coming months.


Recently Reviewed Books

Tears We Cannot Stop: A Sermon to White America by Michael Eric DysonTears We Cannot Stop: A Sermon to White America by Michael Eric Dyson

While his previous works were aimed at a Black audience, this is his first intended to be read by whites. It is also written in a unique literary style, namely, as a sermon designed to keep Caucasians standing on their feet like an inspired congregation of holy rollers.

If I were Dyson, I wouldn’t hold my breath for a positive reception from his intended audience, given the ascension of Donald Trump and the celebration of rednecks in the runaway best seller, Hillbilly Elegy. He might be better off redirecting his sermon to the African-American community and changing his incendiary opus’ subtitle to “Preaching to the Choir!” (St. Martin’s Press, Jan17, 2017)


The Original Black Elite: Daniel Murray and the Story of a Forgotten Era by Elizabeth Dowling TaylorThe Original Black Elite: Daniel Murray and the Story of a Forgotten Era by Elizabeth Dowling Taylor

Elizabeth Dowling Taylor’s new book, The Original Black Elite: Daniel Murray and the Story of a Forgotten Era is an important contribution to ensuring American history during the hundred-year period between the Emancipation Proclamation and the beginning of the Civil Rights era is told. The Original Black Elite communicates this history from the perspective of the life of Daniel Murray and his contemporaries in the Washington DC elite. His life and those in his circle demonstrated that Black success was not dependent upon white largess, and was only hindered when whites actively worked to stop it.. (Amistad, Jan 31, 2017)


width=Finding Heaven in the Dark by William L. Ingram

Ingram is a natural storyteller. Finding Heaven in the Dark is well written, heartfelt and readable. However, his path to self, through religion and meditation using this particular practice and teachings, is immensely personal. His belief system won’t be for everyone and at times it bordered on proselytizing, however his search for self, self-love and self-acceptance is universal. Ultimately, Ingram is asking big questions—questions we’ve all contemplated at one point or another—about existence, about faith, about how our choices make us, for better or worse, who we are. What he learns is that it is not what happens to us, but how we handle it, that really shows our strength of character. How he comes to this discovery isn’t really the point, it’s that he comes to it it all. That he finds redemption, faith, and self-acceptance in a life filled with such hardship, gives hope to all of us. And that is really the point. (Dog Ear Publishing, Jul 22, 2016)


A Blast from the Past: “The Book Beat” Radio Program

Lee MeadowsIn the late 1990’s Lee Meadows hosted a weekly radio program on WPON in Detroit called “The Book Beat”. Meadows’s program included interviews of our favorite African American Authors—some of them at the beginning of their careers.

AALBC.com has archived many of this programs including interviews with J. California Cooper, Eric Jerome Dickey, Tananarive Due, Lolita Files, Linda Dominique Grosvenor, Omar Tyree, and others for your enjoyment. You can even listen to an interview with me (AALBC.com’s founder and webmaster) which was conducted less than a year after this site’s launch. Visit the “Book Beat” to listen to these wonderful interviews.


AALBC.com Discussion Forums—Join The Conversation!

African-American Literature Discussion

Where is the highest concentration of Black-owned bookstores in the United States?
Three Black writers have won the Nobel Prize for Literature; do you know who they are?
What are 8 things writers need to do to get published and not exploited\

Culture, Race & Economy Discussion

Why Obama’s statement, “The country is better off” Rings Hollow
I Am Woman, Hear Me Roar!
The Best Definition of White Supremacy Ever


jeff at the fairTampa Bay Black Heritage Festival – Author Village

This past Saturday I had the pleasure of attending the 17th Annual Tampa Bay Black Heritage Festival. The highlight for me was the Author Village, where I had to opportunity to meet several authors and even a couple of clients.

Some of the participating authors included Jeff Carroll, Holly Mosley Cooper, Darrin DeWitt Henson, William L. Ingram, Pamala McCoy, Ersula Knox Odom, Stephanie Outten, Paul C. Thornton, and Cathy Finch White. Learn more about these authors and thousands of others on AALBC.com.

Never miss another terrific event, visit our Events Calendar.


Pamala McCoyPamala McCoy Interviewed by Beauty Talk Illustrated Magazine

Managing BONA5D full-time gives Pamala the opportunity to help individuals navigate their financial woes through a struggling economy to reach a place of freedom. She has a special interest to work with women and support women issues, particularly financial education. She believes teaching them the important tools necessary to mastering their finances will subsequently build confidence and lead women to a place of financial independence.


Get Your Book on AALBC.com’s Homepage Until March 21st!

Winter SpecialYour book will appear on our Homepage and our Book’s Main Page for the entire winter until midnight March 21, 2017). Buy it now; this special deal ends January 31.

All Winter Special advertisers will get a 25% discount on the Spring Special. The winter and spring are the busiest seasons of the year on AALBC.com.

Also, if you purchase your Large Book Cover Advertisement we’ll give you a free Author Profile—permanent placement on AALBC.com—as an added bonus!

AALBC.com is the oldest, largest, and most frequently visited website dedicated to books written by, or about, people of African descent. There is no other website that reaches readers of Black literature more effectively.


Dear Reader,

AALBC.com 19th YearAALBC.com continues to grow and improve because of your ongoing support. If you value our content, here are four simple things should do to support AALBC.com;

1. Do not use an ad blocker to block AALBC.com’s ads.
Advertisements are AALBC.com’s primary source of revenue. Our ads, which are usually books, are nonintrusive and are actually a great way to discover an excellent read.

2. Share our content.
It is our responsibility to ensure our that we relate our stories and history and are that they are shared and known widely.

3. Buy your books through AALBC.com.
If you use Amazon to buy anything, bookmark this link http://aalbc.it/supportaalbc and generate commissions for AALBC.com. Book sales count toward our bestsellers list. If a link to buy a book directly from the publisher is presented, please consider using that link instead.

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Subscribe to our eNewsletter today. It is less than an $1 a month

Thanks for reading and supporting Black books.

Peace & Love,

troy signature 1

Troy Johnson,
Founder & Webmaster, AALBC.com


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 all of our previous eNewsletters and consider sponsoring our eNewsletter or a dedicated mailing.

AALBC.com eNewsletter – January 25, 2017 – Issue #241

Blackstar

Black Books Galore! AALBC.com’s November 2016 eNewsletter

thesellout_shelfreader

Picador USA – Our eNewsletter Sponsor for November

Read one of the year’s most highly lauded – and highly provocative – books, now the first American winner of the Man Booker Prize. A biting satire about a young man’s isolated upbringing and the race trial that sends him to the Supreme Court, Paul Beatty’s The Sellout showcases a comic genius at the top of his game. Sure to spark lively conversation and debate, The Sellout is the perfect pick for book clubs looking for a timely and thought-provoking read. Learn more.


September/October Bestselling Books

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Our September/October bestsellers reflect strong offerings from independent publishers. The bestselling book across all genres was Single Mama Dating Drama. Here seventeen talented writers share fictional stories about the woes, pitfalls, and joys of dating while raising kids. From Monica Lynne Foster’s explosive tale of an ex who fights for custody of his child while fighting to gain his ex-wife back from her newfound love; to Candice Y. Johnson’s laugh-out-loud take on a mama whose baby girl prophetically dismisses all of her potential suitors. There is something for everyone not just in this anthology but on our entire bestsellers list.


New Books Coming in December

New Books Coming in December

JJ Smith’s Green Smoothies is the follow-up to her #1 New York Times bestseller 10-Day Green Smoothie Cleanse. Something Good is the wrenching memoir of Simba Sana, the CEO of Karibu Books, which was the most successful black-owned bookstore chain in the U.S. before closing. Charles Johnson, a National Book Award winner and one of America’s preeminent scholars in literature, brings us an instructive and inspiring guide on the art of writing in The Way of the Writer. Learn more about these, and other terrific reads, on our curated and frequently updated list of soon to be released books.


Black Writers Dominate the National Book Awards — Is it White Guilt?Black Writers Dominate the National Book Awards

“BET Presents the National Book Awards.” —Larry Wilmore (MC, 2016 National Book Awards)

Larry WilmoreThree of the four books honored during the 67th National Book Awards were written by Black writers; Congressman John Lewis (and Andrew Aydin) won for March Book Three, Ibram X. Kendi won for Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America, and Colson Whitehead took the Fiction prize for his novel The Underground Railroad. Terrance Hayes presented the Literarian Award to Toi Derricotte and Cornelius Eady of Cave Canem, and comedian Larry Wilmore hosted the event.

It was a great evening, but it was sad to read comments the following day, on the websites of respected publications, like The New York Times and The Atlantic suggesting that awarding these three writers was somehow the result of white guilt, reverse racism, or liberalism and political correctness run amok. Only a minority of readers were willing to accept that the winners won on merit alone. Check out our coverage of this year’s Awards Ceremony.


The 2016 Hurston/Wright Legacy Award Winning BooksThe 2016 Hurston/Wright Legacy Award Winning Books

The winning titles were announced October 23rd. The Hurston/Wright Legacy Award™ honors the best in Black literature. Introduced in 2001, the Legacy Award was the first national award presented to Black writers by a national organization of Black writers. Fiction, debut fiction, nonfiction, and poetry honorees are selected in a juried competition. Each October, the award winners are celebrated during a gala that draws hundreds of literary stars, readers, representatives of the publishing industry, the arts, media, politics, and academia. Learn more about all the award-winning titles, finalists, and nominees.

Submissions for 2017 are now being accepted; the deadline is December 5th.


2017 Reading List for Go On Girl! Book Club, Inc.2017 Reading List for Go On Girl! Book Club, Inc.

Go On Girl! Book Club, Inc. is the largest and most influential book club in the country. Their reading list is compiled from a curated list of prospective titles in the following categories, historical, international, mystery/thriller, novel, short stories, and social commentary. These titles are voted on, by hundreds of members across the country, to determine which ones are ultimately selected for their club’s reading list. In other words, you can’t go wrong reading any of the books on their list—there is something for everyone to enjoy! (Note: The order the 2017 titles will be read is not final.)


Recommended Reads

Fidel & Malcolm Book CoverFidel & Malcolm X: Memories of a Meeting by Rosemari Mealy
In 1960 Castro and his delegation had come to New York to attend the UN General Assembly, but the management of the Manhattan hotel they had booked refused to house them. Upon learning of their plight, Malcolm X invited the Cuban emissaries to come uptown to Harlem’s Black-owned Hotel Theresa.where he claimed they would be greeted with open arms.

Indeed, Harlemites by the thousands gave Castro a rousing, even magnificent welcome, keeping a round-the-clock vigil in the pouring rain outside his balcony window. To Harlem’s masses, unfazed by the red-baiting and anti-Cuba hysteria of the day, Castro was that bearded revolutionary who had told White America to go to hell (Black Classic Press, May 2013).


news-furqan-flattopFurqan’s First Flat Top – El Primer Corte de Mesita de Furqan
With text in both Spanish and English, Furqan’s First Flat Top is written and Illustrated by Robert Liu Trujillo and has been named a Top 100 Recommended African-American Children’s Book.
Furqan Moreno wakes up and decides that today he wants his hair cut for the first time. His dad has just the style: a flat top fade! He wants his new haircut to be cool but when they get to the barbershop, he’s a bit nervous about his decision. He begins to worry that his hair will look funny, imagining all the flat objects in his day to day life. Before he knows it, his haircut is done and he realizes that his dad was right-Furqan’s first flat top is the freshest!


The Summer of my Fifteenth Year by Geri Spencer HunterThe Summer of my Fifteenth Year by Geri Spencer Hunter
Geri Spencer Hunter is a formidable storyteller who has crafted a genuine masterpiece with The Summer of My Fifteenth Year. When 86-year old Etta Mae Netter sits down to record her personal history, she releases a torrent of closely held family secrets that threaten to engulf her even after 71-years. Geri Hunter deftly draws us into the lives of the Netters, a well-to-do Black family living what appears to be an idyllic life in a small Iowa town during the tough times of the late 1930’s.

The Summer of my Fifteenth Year is an AALBC.com bestselling book and was a finalist for the 2016 Phillis Wheatley Book Award.


Life Is A Canvas by Joy ElanLife Is A Canvas by Joy Elan
Born with a hearing loss, Joy Elan has been wearing hearing aids since she was 15 months. Her mother always told her that she had three things against her: Black, female, and disabled. However, she’s exceeded low expectations that others had for her earning a Master’s Degree from Stanford University, becoming an award-winning poet, and novelist.

In Life Is A Canvas Elan tells the story of Allegra Johnson, a young, vibrant entrepreneur with dreams. From the outside, she seems to have all the things that she dreamed of… except love.


Rice & Rocks by Sandra L. RichardsRice & Rocks by Sandra L. Richards
Giovanni’s friends are coming over for Sunday dinner, and his grandmother is serving rice and beans. Giovanni is embarrassed—he does not like “rice and rocks” and worries his friends will think the traditional Jamaican dish is weird. But his favorite Auntie comes to the rescue. She and Giovanni’s pet parrot, Jasper, take him on a magical journey across the globe, visiting places where people eat rice and rocks. This exciting story celebrates the varied traditions of every culture while also highlighting the delicious similarities that bring us all together.
Rice & Rocks is a Top 100 Recommended African-American Children’s Book and an AALBC.com Bestseller.


Film Reviews

MoonlightMoonlight
It isn’t bad enough that Chiron (Alex R. Hibbert/Ashton Sanders/Trevante Rhodes) is being raised by an emotionally-unavailable, drug-addicted, single-mom (Naomie Harris). The shy youngster also has the misfortune of having to hide the fact that he’s gay, since he’s experiencing pangs of sexual awakening in the midst of an African-American, ghetto culture which is homophobic to the point of violence.

Consequently, he finds himself not only being teased for being a “faggot” by a school bully (Patrick Decile) but sadistically beaten to a pulp by his best friend and secret lover, Kevin (Jaden Piner/Jharrel Jerome/Andre Holland). This sorry state of affairs has understandably left the closeted kid terribly confused.


Loving Movie PosterLoving
Mildred Jeter (Ruth Negga) and Richard Loving (Joel Edgerton) committed a crime just by falling in love when they were in the bloom of youth back in 1958. That’s because she was black and he was white, and they were living in Virginia, one of the many Southern states with anti-miscegenation laws still on the books forbidding cohabitation, marriage, procreation or even sexual relations across racial lines.

Nevertheless, Richard was so smitten he proposed and after Mildred accepted, he purchased a vacant plot of land where he promised to build their dream home. However, when it came to time to wed, they had to travel north to Washington, DC, a city where they could secure a marriage license.


Put Your Book on AALBC.com Until December 31st

Fall SpecialYour book will appear on our Homepage and our Book’s Main Page for the entire fall (campaign duration extended until midnight December 31st). Buy it now, because there are only two positions left.

All Fall Special advertisers will get a 25% discount on the Winter Special ad. The winter and spring ads will be priced higher than the Fall Special due to the increased level of traffic during those seasons.

Also, if you purchase a Large Book Cover Advertisement we’ll give you a free Author Profile—permanent placement on AALBC.com—as an added bonus!
AALBC.com is the oldest, largest, and most frequently visited website dedicated to books written by or about people of African descent. There is no other website that reaches readers of Black literature more effectively.


Dear Reader,

Remember, AALBC.com continues to grow because of your support. If you value our content, here are four simple things you can do to support AALBC.com;

  1. All About AALBC.comDo not use an ad blocker to block AALBC.com’s ads.
    Advertisements are AALBC.com’s primary source of revenue. Our ads, which are usually books, are nonintrusive and are actually a great way to discover an excellent read.
  2. Share our content.
    It is our responsibility to ensure our that voices relate our stories and history and are that they are shared and known widely.
  3. Buy your books through AALBC.com.
    If you use Amazon to buy anything, bookmark this link http://aalbc.it/supportaalbc and generate commissions for AALBC.com.
  4. Pay for your subscription to our newsletter.
    Subscribe to our eNewsletter today.

Thanks for reading and supporting Black Literature.
Peace & Love
,Troy Johnson
Troy Johnson,
Founder & Webmaster, AALBC.com

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 all of our previous eNewsletters and consider sponsoring our eNewsletter or a dedicated mailing.

AALBC.com eNewsletter – November 29, 2016 – Issue #239
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