Black Caucus American Library Association Literary Awards

Bocas Logo First presented at the Second National Conference of African American Librarians in 1994, the BCALA Literary Awards acknowledge outstanding works of fiction and nonfiction for adult audiences by African American authors.

Monetary awards are presented in the following categories, First Novelist, Fiction, Nonfiction, and Poetry. Honor Book citations are also awarded in fiction and nonfiction without any accompanying monetary remuneration.

The BCALA also host an annual conference, the National Conference of African American Librarians.


3 Books Honored in 1998

Winner Fiction

The River Where Blood Is Born (Ballantine Reader’s Circle)
by Sandra Jackson-Opoku

Publication Date:
List Price: $23.00
Format: Paperback, 432 pages
Classification: Fiction
ISBN13: 9780345424761
Imprint: One World/Ballantine
Publisher: Penguin Random House
Parent Company: Bertelsmann
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Read a Description of The River Where Blood Is Born (Ballantine Reader’s Circle)


Book Description: 
This astonishing novel takes us on a journey along the river of one family’s history, carving a course across two centuries and three continents, from ancient Africa into today’s America. Here, through the lives of Mother Africa’s many daughters, we come to understand the real meaning of roots: the captive Proud Mary, who has been savagely punished for refusing to relinquish her child to slavery; Earlene, who witnesses her father’s murder at the hands of the Ku Klux Klan; Big Momma, a modern-day matriarch who can make a woman of a girl; proud and sassy Cinnamon Brown, whose wild abandon hides a bitter loss; and smart, ambitious Alma, who is torn between the love of a man and the song of her soul.

In The River Where Blood Is Born, the seen and unseen worlds are seamlessly joined—the spirit realms where the great river goddess and ancestor mothers watch over the lives of their descendants, both the living and those not yet born. Stringing beads of destiny, they work to lead one daughter back to her source. But what must Alma sacrifice to honor the River Mother’s call?

Winner First Novelist

The View From Here
by Brian Keith Jackson

Publication Date:
List Price: $16.95
Format: Paperback, 240 pages
Classification: Fiction
ISBN13: 9780671568962
Imprint: Gallery Books
Publisher: Simon & Schuster, Inc.
Parent Company: CBS Corporation
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Book Description: 
A stunning debut novel in the tradition of Alice Walker and Toni Morrison. Anna Anderson Thomas has devoted her life to stepping lightly around her husband’s vast silences and raising their sons. But now, with a sixth child on the way—a girl this time, she’s sure—Anna faces a challenge that threatens to destroy the family she’s fought so hard to preserve NYC publicity .

Winner Nonfiction

The Black Notebooks: An Interior Journey
by Toi Derricotte

Publication Date:
List Price: $14.95
Format: Paperback, 208 pages
Classification: Nonfiction
ISBN13: 9780393319019
Imprint: W. W. Norton & Company
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company, Inc.
Parent Company: W. W. Norton & Company, Inc.
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Read a Description of The Black Notebooks: An Interior Journey


Book Description: 
The Black Notebooks is the most profound document I have read on racism in America today… [It] is not just one of the best books on race I have ever read but just simply one of the best books I have ever read. The Black Notebooks is one of the most extraordinary and courageous accounts of race in this country, seen through the eyes of a light-skinned black woman and a respected American poet. It challenges all our preconceived notions of what it means to be black or white, and what it means to be human.