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 2001


Bruised Hibiscus
by Elizabeth Nunez

Publication Date: Mar 04, 2003
List Price: $15.00
Format: Paperback, 304 pages
Classification: Fiction
ISBN13: 9780345451095
Imprint: One World/Ballantine
Publisher: Penguin Random House
Parent Company: Bertelsmann

Book Description: 
The year is 1954. A white woman’s body, stuffed in a coconut bag, has washed ashore in Otatiti, Trinidad, and the British colony is rife with rumors. In two homes, one in a distant shantytown, the other on the outskirts of a former sugar cane estate, two women hear the news and their blood runs cold. Rosa, the white daughter of a landowner, and Zuela, the adopted “daughter” of a Chinese shop owner used to play together as girls—and witnessed something terrible behind a hibiscus bush many years ago.


Teducation: Selected Poems
by Ted Joans

Publication Date: Oct 01, 1999
List Price: $15.95
Format: Paperback, 240 pages
Classification: Poetry
ISBN13: 9781566890915
Imprint: Coffee House Press
Publisher: Coffee House Press
Parent Company: Coffee House Press

Read a Description of Teducation: Selected Poems

Book Description: 
Black Dues! Black Blues! Black News! , Ted Joans trumpets in his tribute to Langston Hughes. What Library Journal wrote in 1969 holds true today: "This collection of his work clearly reveals the influence of Langston Hughes, his mentor and friend. Joans, however, has the harsher and more strident tone necessary to accurately reflect today’s society. As he says in one poem: ’We must fall in love and glorify our beautiful black nation / We must create black images / give the world / a black education.’"One of the first black poets to become involved in surrealism and a first generation Beat, Joans is an expatriate poet whose work is enjoying renewed interest. This major collection of poems written during the past forty years is a significant contribution to American letters. Teducation is the first single-volume collection representing the life’s work of Joans, a once roommate of Charlie Parker and a contemporary of Allen Ginsberg and Bob Kaufman.Energetic African American Beat poet, surrealist painter, longtime Paris-based expatriate, African traveler, jazz expert and jazz musician, the versatile 71-year old Joans (Black Pow Wow Jazz Poems) has published 35 books, but never, till now, a selected. Joans’s rakish, unsatisfiable sensibility can make his work in Beat modes as technically innovative as Burroughs, as polemically exhuberant as Ginsberg and as comic as Corso. His early work, like theirs, depends heavily on surrealist modes; "The rhino roam in the bedroom/ where the lovely virgin wait/ the owl eats a Baptist bat/ adn God almighty is too late." The masterful longer "Timbuktu Tit Tat Toe" packs a few hundred years of Black America’s relationship to aftica into four pages of giddy declamation. Likke Amiri Baraka (who lauds Joans’s verse), Joans came to enbrace an aesthetic of people’s poetry, creating exhuberant forms to meet his needs, stirring the pot with neologism and slogan, and calling on an arsenal of heroes from Malcom X to Jean-Michael Basquiat. "And Then There Were None" locates political rage in Louis Armstrong’s famous grin: "you tried to turn him into your ’musical golliwog doll’/ you wanted his trumpet to blow what you said so/ you misinterpreted his wide smile." Repudiatin