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.

3 Books Honored in 2014


See Now Then: A Novel
by Jamaica Kincaid

Publication Date: Feb 05, 2013
List Price: $24.00
Format: Hardcover, 192 pages
Classification: Fiction
ISBN13: 9780374180560
Imprint: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Publisher: Macmillan Publishers
Parent Company: Holtzbrinck Publishing Group

Read a Description of See Now Then: A Novel

Book Description: 
In See Now Then, the brilliant and evocative new novel from Jamaica Kincaid-her first in ten years-a marriage is revealed in all its joys and agonies. This piercing examination of the manifold ways in which the passing of time operates on the human consciousness unfolds gracefully, and Kincaid inhabits each of her characters-a mother, a father, and their two children, living in a small village in New England-as they move, in their own minds, between the present, the past, and the future: for, as she writes, "the present will be now then and the past is now then and the future will be a now then." Her characters, constrained by the world, despair in their domestic situations. But their minds wander, trying to make linear sense of what is, in fact, nonlinear. See Now Then is Kincaid’s attempt to make clear what is unclear, and to make unclear what we assumed was clear: that is, the beginning, the middle, and the end.
Since the publication of her first short-story collection, At the Bottom of the River, which was nominated for a PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction, Kincaid has demonstrated a unique talent for seeing beyond and through the surface of things. In See Now Then, she envelops the reader in a world that is both familiar and startling-creating her most emotionally and thematically daring work yet.


Searching for Zion
by Emily Raboteau

Publication Date: Feb 11, 2014
List Price: $17.00
Format: Paperback, 320 pages
Classification: Fiction
ISBN13: 9780802122278
Imprint: Grove Press
Publisher: Grove Atlantic, Inc.
Parent Company: Grove Atlantic, Inc.

Read a Description of Searching for Zion

Book Description: 

"I doubt there will be a more important work of nonfiction this year."— Dave Eggers

In this landmark work of narrative nonfiction, award-winning author Emily Raboteau journeys from Harlem to Israel, Jamaica, Ethiopia, Ghana and across the American South on a quest for the Black Promised Land. A memoir that penetrates Raboteau’s need for a homeland to call her own, Searching for Zion also expresses the African-American longing for full citizenship.


Home/Bass: Poems
by Sterling D. Plumpp

Publication Date: Jun 30, 2013
List Price: $18.95
Format: Paperback, 140 pages
Classification: Poetry
ISBN13: 9780883783450
Imprint: Third World Press
Publisher: Third World Press
Parent Company: Third World Press

Read a Description of Home/Bass: Poems

Book Description: 
""Home/Bass ""brings to the forefront the myriad of folks that inhabit the up-South streets of Chicago or the unaltered roads of Mississippi, Arkansas, Georgia, and other pockets inhabited by Blacks throughout the South. Sterling Plumpp has lived with these folks—sharecroppers, preachers, misplaced Mississippi blues men and women. He has been in their houses, has dined at their tables, and has drunk at the bars on the corners. He is not a stranger to their articulations—voices that call to him from a Natchez cemetery, from the outskirts of some Mississippi Delta town, or settle on Maxwell Street in Chicago—all through the observant and often omnipresent lens of blues artist Willie Kent. Plumpp is always mindful of the slow, steady rhythms of the blues, not as backdrop, but as the foundation and framework on which he structures the components of this book. With the publication of ""Home/Bass, ""Plumpp has once again captured the very essence of language and the blues from the inside out.