Review List of All 2008 Essence Literary Awards Winners & Finalists



Winner (announced in advance of awards ceremony)

Terry McMillan

Terry McMillan is the critically acclaimed, award-winning author of five previous novels and recipient of the Essence Award for Excellence in Literature. Ms. McMillan's ability to capture the dilemmas facing modern-day women with humor and verve has led to a worldwide following and has had a lasting effect on African-American literature. Two of her books, Waiting to Exhale and How Stella Got Her Groove Back, have also been made into films.

Author Photograph: Stephanie Rausser


Press Release

December 19, 2007 (New York, NY) ESSENCE magazine announces the finalists of the first-annual 2008 ESSENCE Literary Awards. (The full list of finalists is attached.) This invitation-only event, designed to celebrate established and emerging African-American authors, will take place on February 7, 2008 at Le Parker Meridien. The nominees were chosen by ESSENCE editors solely based on the criteria listed below:

Eligible titles were published in 2007
Entries illuminate the African-American experience throughout the Diaspora while provoking discussion about the human condition
Demonstrates excellence and originality in concept, content and execution
Recommended by ESSENCE readers and ESSENCE Recommended Read Book Club members
Each of the finalists’in the categories of Fiction; Non-Fiction; Children's Books; Poetry; Memoir; Inspiration; Current Affairs; and Photography’will be judged by a blue ribbon panel of influential publishing experts. All winners will be announced during the event in February.

In addition, readers will be able to go to during January 1-January 15, 2008 to vote in the Storyteller of the Year category to choose their favorite authors who have penned the best books of 2007. ESSENCE will also announce events that will be held in conjunction with its Save Our Libraries campaign to benefit the Harlem-based Countee Cullen Branch of the New York Public Library. The purpose of the campaign is to honor the recipient's contributions and to solicit support in order for it to maintain its services to the community.

As previously announced, acclaimed author Terry McMillan will be honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award during this event, which will be hosted by Hoda Kotb, TODAY show co-anchor, and Dr. Ian Smith, creator of The 50 Million Pound Challenge.

Sponsors for the 2008 ESSENCE Literary Awards are Avon, Superclubs Breezes Resorts, Nuvo and State Farm. Additional sponsors will be announced at a later date. For more information visit

About Essence Communications Inc.:

Essence Communications Inc. (ECI) is the leading media and communications company dedicated to African-American women. With a multi-platform presence in publishing, live events, and online, the Essence brand is “Where Black Women Come First”. The company's flagship publication, ESSENCE magazine, is the preeminent lifestyle magazine for African-American women; generating brand extensions such as the Essence Music Festival, Women Who Are Shaping the World Leadership Summit, Window on Our Women (WOW I & II) and Smart Beauty I, II & III consumer insights, the Essence Book Club,, and ventures in digital media (mobile, television and VOD) via Essence Studios. For 37 years, ESSENCE magazine, which has a readership of 8.2 million, has been the leading source of cutting-edge information relating to every area of African-American women's lives. Additional information about ECI and ESSENCE is available at

Dana Baxter, ESSENCE, 212-522-1634 (
Sheila Harris, ESSENCE, 212-522-1089 (
Ra�Chelle Rogers, ESSENCE, 212-522-2724 (



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