American Book Award Winners

Before Columbus Foundation Logo First presented in 1980, by the Before Columbus Foundation, “the American Book Awards Program respects and honors excellence in American literature without restriction or bias with regard to race, sex, creed, cultural origin, size of press or ad budget, or even genre. There would be no requirements, restrictions, limitations, or second places. There would be no categories. The winners would not selected by any set quota for diversity, because diversity happens naturally. Finally, there would be no losers, only winners. The only criteria would be outstanding contribution to American literature in the opinion of the judges.”

Here we present the American Book Award recipients of African descent.


2 Books Honored in 1984

Fiction

Confirmation: Anthology of African American Women
by Amiri Baraka

Publication Date: Mar 01, 1983
List Price: Unavailable
Format: Paperback, 418 pages
Classification: Fiction
ISBN13: 9780688015824
Imprint: William Morrow
Publisher: HarperCollins
Parent Company: News Corporation
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Read a Description of Confirmation: Anthology of African American Women



Book Description: 
Book by Baraka, Imamu Amiri

Fiction

Praise Song for the Widow
by Paule Marshall

Publication Date: Apr 20, 2021
List Price: $24.00
Format: Hardcover, 264 pages
Classification: Fiction
ISBN13: 9781952119040
Imprint: McSweeney’s
Publisher: McSweeney’s
Parent Company: McSweeney’s
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Read a Description of Praise Song for the Widow



Book Description: 

Featuring a new original introduction by Opal Palmer Adisa

Avey Johnson-a black, middle-aged, middle-class widow given to hats, gloves, and pearls-has long since put behind her the Harlem of her childhood. Then on a cruise to the Caribbean with two friends, inspired by a troubling dream, she senses her life beginning to unravel-and in a panic packs her bag in the middle of the night and abandons her friends at the next port of call. The unexpected and beautiful adventure that follows provides Avey with the links to the culture and history she has so long disavowed. Originally published in 1983, Praise Song for the Widow was a recipient of the Before Columbus Foundation American Book Award, and is presented here in a beautiful new hardcover edition.

Astonishingly moving.
-Anne Tyler, The New York Times Book Review

About McSweeney’s Of the Diaspora Series:

McSweeney’s Of the Diaspora is a series of previously published works in Black literature whose themes, settings, characterizations, and conflicts evoke an experience, language, imagery and power born of the Middle Passage and the particular aesthetic which connects African-derived peoples to a shared artistic and ancestral past. Wesley Brown’s Tragic Magic, the first novel in the series, was originally published in 1978 and championed by Toni Morrison during her tenure as an editor at Random House. This Of the Diaspora edition features a new introduction written by Brown for the series. Tragic Magic will be followed by Paule Marshall’s novel of a Harlem widow claiming new life. Praisesong for the Widow was originally published in 1983 and was a recipient of the Before Columbus Foundation American Book Award. The series is edited by writer Erica Vital-Lazare, a professor of creative writing and Marginalized Voices in literature at the College of Southern Nevada. Published in collectible hardcover editions with original cover art by Sunra Thompson, the first three works hail from Black American voices defined by what Amiri Baraka described as strong feeling getting into new blues, from the old ones. Of the Diaspora-North America will be followed by series from the diasporic communities of Europe, the Caribbean and Brazil.