Hurston/Wright Legacy Award Nominees and Winning Books

Hurston/Wright Legacy Award Winning Books

The Hurston/Wright Legacy Award™ honors the best in Black literature. Introduced in 2001, the Legacy Award was the first national award presented to Black writers by a national organization of Black writers. Fiction, debut fiction, nonfiction, and poetry honorees are selected in a juried competition. Each October, the award winners are celebrated during a gala that draws hundreds of literary stars, readers, representatives of the publishing industry, the arts, media, politics, and academia. Learn more at the Hurston/Wright Foundation’s website

21 Books Honored by the National Book Foundation in 2021

Winner - Debut Fiction

by Rita Woods

Publication Date: Jan 21, 2020
List Price: $27.99
Format: Hardcover, 416 pages
Classification: Fiction
ISBN13: 9781250298454
Imprint: Forge
Publisher: Macmillan Publishers
Parent Company: Holtzbrinck Publishing Group

Read a Description of Remembrance

Book Description: 

Remembrance by Rita Woods is a breakout historical debut with modern resonance, perfect for the many fans of The Underground Railroad and Orphan Train.

Remembrance…It’s a rumor, a whisper passed in the fields and veiled behind sheets of laundry. A hidden stop on the underground road to freedom, a safe haven protected by more than secrecy…if you can make it there.

Ohio, present day. An elderly woman who is more than she seems warns against rising racism as a young woman grapples with her life.

Haiti, 1791, on the brink of revolution. When the slave Abigail is forced from her children to take her mistress to safety, she discovers New Orleans has its own powers.

1857 New Orleansa city of unrest: Following tragedy, house girl Margot is sold just before her 18th birthday and her promised freedom. Desperate, she escapes and chases a whisper… Remembrance.

Winner - Fiction

by Percival Everett

Publication Date: May 05, 2020
List Price: $16.00
Format: Paperback, 224 pages
Classification: Fiction
ISBN13: 9781644450222
Imprint: Graywolf Press
Publisher: Graywolf Press
Parent Company: Graywolf Press

Read a Description of Telephone

Book Description: 

An astonishing new novel of loss and grief from “one of our culture’s preeminent novelists” —Los Angeles Times

Zach Wells is a perpetually dissatisfied geologist-slash-paleobiologist. Expert in a very narrow area—the geological history of a cave forty-four meters above the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon—he is a laconic man who plays chess with his daughter, trades puns with his wife while she does yoga, and dodges committee work at the college where he teaches.

After a field trip to the desert yields nothing more than a colleague with a tenure problem and a student with an unwelcome crush on him, Wells returns home to find his world crumbling. His daughter has lost her edge at chess, she has developed mysterious eye problems, and her memory has lost its grasp. Powerless in the face of his daughter’s slow deterioration, he finds a mysterious note asking for help tucked into the pocket of a jacket he’s ordered off eBay. Desperate for someone to save, he sets off to New Mexico in secret on a quixotic rescue mission.

A deeply affecting story about the lengths to which loss and grief will drive us, Telephone is a Percival Everett novel we should have seen coming all along, one that will shake you to the core as it asks questions about the power of narrative to save.

Winner - Nonfiction

Franchise: The Golden Arches in Black America
by Marcia Chatelain

Publication Date: Jan 07, 2020
List Price: $28.95
Format: Hardcover, 336 pages
Classification: Nonfiction
ISBN13: 9781631493942
Imprint: Liveright Publishing Corporation
Publisher: Liveright Publishing Corporation
Parent Company: Liveright Publishing Corporation

Read a Description of Franchise: The Golden Arches in Black America

Book Description: 

New York Times, "Times Critics Top Books of 2020": "Smart and capacious history…. A cautionary tale about relying on the private sector to provide what the public needs." - Jennifer Szalai, New York Times

From civil rights to Ferguson, Franchise reveals the untold history of how fast food became one of the greatest generators of black wealth in America.

Franchise is a stunning story of post-1960s urban black America, a tale of triumph and good intentions, but also of tragic consequences for race relations, poverty, and dietary health. Marcia Chatelain has done superb research and writes as a great storyteller. This is an important book, showing that civil rights successes led to burgers under black ownership as much as ballots for social change. Chatelain makes us see black capitalism in all its mixed blessings.—David W. Blight, Yale University, and author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom

Winner - Poetry

Seeing the Body: Poems
by Rachel Eliza Griffiths

Publication Date: Jun 09, 2020
List Price: $26.95
Format: Hardcover, 144 pages
Classification: Poetry
ISBN13: 9781324005667
Imprint: W. W. Norton & Company
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company, Inc.
Parent Company: W. W. Norton & Company, Inc.

Read a Description of Seeing the Body: Poems

Book Description: 

Poems and photographs collide in this intimate collection, challenging the invisible, indefinable ways mourning takes up residence in a body, both before and after life-altering loss.

In radiant poems—set against the evocative and desperate backdrop of contemporary events, pop culture, and politics—Rachel Eliza Griffiths reckons with her mother’s death, aging, authority, art, black womanhood, memory, and the American imagination. The poems take shape in the space where public and private mourning converge, finding there magic and music alongside brutality and trauma. Griffiths braids a moving narrative of identity and its possibilities for rebirth through image and through loss.

A photographer as well as a poet, Griffiths accompanies the fierce rhythm of her verses with a series of ghostly, imaginative self-portraits, blurring the body’s internal wilderness with landscapes alive with beauty and terror. The collision of text and imagery offers an associative autobiography, in which narratives of language, absence, and presence are at once saved, revised, and often erased. Seeing the Body dismantles personal and public masks of silence and self-destruction to visualize and celebrate the imperfect freedom of radical self-love.

Finalist - Fiction

Ring Shout
by P. Djèlí Clark

Publication Date: Oct 13, 2020
List Price: $19.99
Format: Hardcover, 192 pages
Classification: Fiction
ISBN13: 9781250767028
Imprint: Tordotcom
Publisher: Macmillan Publishers
Parent Company: Holtzbrinck Publishing Group

Read a Description of Ring Shout

Book Description: 

ebula, Locus, and Alex Award-winner P. Djèlí Clark returns with Ring Shout, a dark fantasy historical novella that gives a supernatural twist to the Ku Klux Klan’s reign of terror

“A fantastical, brutal and thrilling triumph of the imagination…Clark’s combination of historical and political reimagining is cathartic, exhilarating and fresh.” —The New York Times

  • A 2021 Hugo Award Finalist!
  • A 2021 Nebula Award Finalist!
  • A 2021 Locus Award Finalist!
  • A 2021 Ignyte Award Finalist!
  • A 2021 AAMBC Literary Award Finalist!
  • A New York Times Editor’s Choice Pick!
  • A Booklist Editor’s Choice Pick!
  • A 2020 SIBA Award Finalist!
  • Featured on the 2021 RUSA Reading List: Fantasy Shortlist!

Named a Best of 2020 Pick for NPR | Library Journal | Book Riot | LitReactor | Bustle | Polygon | Washington Post


In 1915, The Birth of a Nation cast a spell across America, swelling the Klan’s ranks and drinking deep from the darkest thoughts of white folk. All across the nation they ride, spreading fear and violence among the vulnerable. They plan to bring Hell to Earth. But even Ku Kluxes can die.

Standing in their way is Maryse Boudreaux and her fellow resistance fighters, a foul-mouthed sharpshooter and a Harlem Hellfighter. Armed with blade, bullet, and bomb, they hunt their hunters and send the Klan’s demons straight to Hell. But something awful’s brewing in Macon, and the war on Hell is about to heat up.

Can Maryse stop the Klan before it ends the world?

Finalist - Fiction

The Freedom Artist
by Ben Okri

Publication Date: Feb 04, 2020
List Price: $30.95
Format: Hardcover, 336 pages
Classification: Fiction
ISBN13: 9781617757914
Imprint: Akashic Books
Publisher: Akashic Books
Parent Company: Akashic Books

Read a Description of The Freedom Artist

Book Description: 

"Okri’s somber, fablelike novel is a call to rally against oppressive institutions and for broader social consciousness. In that regard, it’s an inheritor of The Handmaid’s Tale, Fahrenheit 451, and Things Fall Apart…Okri’s writing is sturdy and graceful, fully inhabiting the authoritative tone of mythmaking."
Kirkus Reviews

"Where fiction’s master of enchantments stares down a real horror, and without blinking or flinching, produces a work of beauty, grace, and uncommon power."
Marlon James, author of Black Leopard, Red Wolf

Included in Publishers Weekly’s Science Fiction and Fantasy Preview for 2019-2020!

Included in Publishers Weekly’s Science Fiction and Fantasy Preview for 2019-2020 (African Diaspora-inspired SFF)!

"The Freedom Artist represents a heady jumble of influence and inspiration, a tapestry of biblical reference, mythology, folklore and fable. The lyrical simplicity of Okri’s prose, with its short sentences and chapters, only heightens the power of the novel’s political message."
Financial Times

"A multilayered allegorical narrative that cuts to the heart of our current political and cultural malaise, while maintaining a mythical, mesmeric flavor that makes the reader feel these are stories they have always known…It’s savagely political, disturbing and fiercely optimistic, the deeply felt work of a writer who refuses to stop asking the hardest questions."
Guardian (UK)

"Just as you’re thinking, ’So this is what Dave Eggers’s The Circle would be like if it were written by a poet, ’ Okri slips you a shot of ayahuasca and things get decidedly freaky and apocalyptic…A beautiful and timely appeal for the importance of books, subversive stories and love."
The Times (UK)

In a world uncomfortably like our own, a young woman called Amalantis is arrested for asking a question. Her question is this: Who is the Prisoner?

When Amalantis disappears, her lover Karnak goes looking for her. He searches desperately at first, then with a growing realization that to find Amalantis, he must first understand the meaning of her question.

Karnak’s search leads him into a terrifying world of deception, oppression, and fear at the heart of which lies the prison. Then Karnak discovers that he is not the only one looking for the truth.

The Freedom Artist is an impassioned plea for justice and a penetrating examination of how freedom is threatened in a post-truth society. In Ben Okri’s most significant novel since the Booker Prize-winning The Famished Road, he delivers a powerful and haunting call to arms.

Finalist - Nonfiction

Tacky’s Revolt: The Story of an Atlantic Slave War
by Tabitha Brown

    Publication Date: Jan 14, 2020
    List Price: $35.00
    Format: Hardcover, 336 pages
    Classification: Nonfiction
    ISBN13: 9780674737570
    Imprint: Belknap Press
    Publisher: Harvard University Press
    Parent Company: Harvard University

    Read a Description of Tacky’s Revolt: The Story of an Atlantic Slave War

    Book Description: 

    Winner of the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award
    Winner of the James A. Rawley Prize in the History of Race Relations
    Winner of the Phillis Wheatley Book Award
    Finalist for the Cundill Prize

    A gripping account of the largest slave revolt in the eighteenth-century British Atlantic world, an uprising that laid bare the interconnectedness of Europe, Africa, and America, shook the foundations of empire, and reshaped ideas of race and popular belonging.

    In the second half of the eighteenth century, as European imperial conflicts extended the domain of capitalist agriculture, warring African factions fed their captives to the transatlantic slave trade while masters struggled continuously to keep their restive slaves under the yoke. In this contentious atmosphere, a movement of enslaved West Africans in Jamaica (then called Coromantees) organized to throw off that yoke by violence. Their uprising—which became known as Tacky’s Revolt—featured a style of fighting increasingly familiar today: scattered militias opposing great powers, with fighters hard to distinguish from noncombatants. It was also part of a more extended borderless conflict that spread from Africa to the Americas and across the island. Even after it was put down, the insurgency rumbled throughout the British Empire at a time when slavery seemed the dependable bedrock of its dominion. That certitude would never be the same, nor would the views of black lives, which came to inspire both more fear and more sympathy than before.

    Tracing the roots, routes, and reverberations of this event across disparate parts of the Atlantic world, Vincent Brown offers us a superb geopolitical thriller. Tacky’s Revolt expands our understanding of the relationship between European, African, and American history, as it speaks to our understanding of wars of terror today.

    Finalist - Nonfiction

    The Address Book: What Street Addresses Reveal about Identity, Race, Wealth, and Power
    by Deirdre Mask

    Publication Date: Apr 14, 2020
    List Price: $26.99
    Format: Hardcover, 336 pages
    Classification: Nonfiction
    ISBN13: 9781250134769
    Imprint: St. Martin’s Press
    Publisher: Macmillan Publishers
    Parent Company: Holtzbrinck Publishing Group

    Read a Description of The Address Book: What Street Addresses Reveal about Identity, Race, Wealth, and Power

    Book Description: 

    Finalist for the 2020 Kirkus Prize for Nonfiction

    "An entertaining quest to trace the origins and implications of the names of the roads on which we reside." —Sarah Vowell, The New York Times Book Review

    When most people think about street addresses, if they think of them at all, it is in their capacity to ensure that the postman can deliver mail or a traveler won’t get lost. But street addresses were not invented to help you find your way; they were created to find you. In many parts of the world, your address can reveal your race and class.

    In this wide-ranging and remarkable book, Deirdre Mask looks at the fate of streets named after Martin Luther King Jr., the wayfinding means of ancient Romans, and how Nazis haunt the streets of modern Germany. The flipside of having an address is not having one, and we also see what that means for millions of people today, including those who live in the slums of Kolkata and on the streets of London. Filled with fascinating people and histories, The Address Book illuminates the complex and sometimes hidden stories behind street names and their power to name, to hide, to decide who counts, who doesn’t—and why.

    "An exuberant work of popular history: the story of how streets got their names and houses their numbers, and why something as seemingly mundane as an address can save lives or enforce power. When most people think about street addresses, if they think of them at all, it is in their capacity to ensure that the postman can deliver mail or a traveler won’t get lost. But street addresses were not invented to help you find your way; they were created to find you. Addresses arose out of a grand Enlightenment project to name and number the streets, but they are also a way for people to be identified and tracked by those in power. As Deirdre Mask explains, the practice of numbering houses was popularized in eighteenth-century Vienna by Maria Theresa, leader of the Hapsburg Empire, to tax her subjects and draft them into her military. In many parts of the world, your address can reveal your race and class, causing them to be a shorthand for snobbery or discrimination. In this wide-ranging and remarkable book, Mask looks at the fate of streets named after Martin Luther King, Jr., the wayfinding means of ancient Romans, how Nazis haunt the streets of modern Germany, and why numbered streets dominate in America but not in Europe. The flipside of having an address is not having one, and we see what that means for millions of people today, including those who live in the slums of Kolkata, on the streets of London, or in post-earthquake Haiti. Filled with fascinating people and histories, The Address Book illuminates the complex and sometimes hidden stories behind street names and their power to name, to hide, to decide who counts, who doesn’t-and why"

    Table of Contents:
    Introduction: West Virginia: Why Should We Care About Street Addresses?

    1. Kolkata: Could Addresses Revolutionize the Slums?
    2. Haiti: Could Street Addresses Stop a Plague?

    3. Rome: How Did The Ancient Romans Find Their Way Around?
    4. London: Where Do Our Street Names Come From?
    5. Vienna: Did House Numbering Change the World?
    6. Philadelphia: Why Do Americans Love Numbered Streets?
    7. Korea and Japan: Does Language Explain Japan’s Lack of Street Names?

    8. Iran: Why Do Street Names Follow Revolutions?
    9. Berlin: What Do Nazi Street Names Tell Us About Vergangenheitsbewältigung?

    10. Hollywood, Florida: Are Confederate Names Really About History?
    11. St. Louis: What Can Martin Luther King Streets Tell Us About Race in America Today?
    12. South Africa: What Should Happen to Apartheid Streets?

    13. Manhattan: How Much Is a Street Name Worth?
    14. Homelessness: How Do You Live Without an Address?
    15. Chicago: Does Everyone Deserve an Address?
    Conclusion: The Future: Are Street Addresses Doomed?


    Finalist - Poetry

    Pale Colors in a Tall Field: Poems
    by Carl Phillips

    Publication Date: Mar 03, 2020
    List Price: $23.00
    Format: Hardcover, 64 pages
    Classification: Poetry
    ISBN13: 9780374229054
    Imprint: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
    Publisher: Macmillan Publishers
    Parent Company: Holtzbrinck Publishing Group

    Read a Description of Pale Colors in a Tall Field: Poems

    Book Description: 

    A powerful, inventive collection from one of America’s most critically acclaimed poets.

    What is a self? What is a memory?

    In Pale Colors in a Tall Field, Carl Phillips argues for trust, tenderness, and an attentiveness to the intimacies of thought and body as their own quiet but no less powerful forms of resistance to a world of increasing distraction, noise, and skepticism. Against a canvas of remembering and forgetting, Phillips here treats point of view kaleidoscopically—to embody the self’s multiplicity and to enact the self’s constant shifting as the contexts of a life, in turn, shift. This is perhaps Phillips’s most powerful, meditative, and startling sequence of poems yet.

    Finalist - Poetry

    Fantasia for the Man in Blue
    by Tommye Blount

    Publication Date: Mar 02, 2020
    List Price: $16.95
    Format: Paperback, 152 pages
    Classification: Poetry
    ISBN13: 9781945588495
    Imprint: Four Way Books
    Publisher: Four Way Books
    Parent Company: Four Way Books

    Read a Description of Fantasia for the Man in Blue

    Book Description: In his debut collection Fantasia for the Man in Blue, Tommye Blount orchestrates a chorus of distinct, unforgettable voices that speak to the experience of the black, queer body as a site of desire and violence. A black man’s late-night encounter with a police officer—the titular "man in blue"—becomes an extended meditation on a dangerous erotic fantasy. The late Luther Vandross, resurrected here in a suite of poems, addresses the contradiction between his public persona and a life spent largely in the closet: "It’s a calling, this hunger / to sing for a love I’m too ashamed to want for myself." In "Aaron McKinney Cleans His Magnum," the convicted killer imagines the barrel of the gun he used to bludgeon Matthew Shepard as an "infant’s small mouth" as well as the "sad calculator" that was "built to subtract from and divide a town." In these and other poems, Blount viscerally captures the experience of the "other" and locates us squarely within these personae.

    Nominee - Debut Fiction

    The Coyotes of Carthage
    by Steven Wright

      Publication Date: Jan 12, 2021
      List Price: $16.99
      Format: Paperback, 320 pages
      Classification: Fiction
      ISBN13: 9780062951687
      Imprint: Ecco
      Publisher: HarperCollins
      Parent Company: News Corporation

      Read a Description of The Coyotes of Carthage

      Book Description: 


      “With this splendid debut, Steven Wright announces his arrival as a major new voice in the world of political thrillers. I enjoyed it immensely.” —John Grisham

      A blistering and thrilling debut—a biting exploration of American politics, set in a small South Carolina town, about a political operative running a dark money campaign for his corporate clients

      Dre Ross has one more shot. Despite being a successful political consultant, his aggressive tactics have put him on thin ice with his boss, Mrs. Fitz, who plucked him from juvenile incarceration and mentored his career. She exiles him to the backwoods of South Carolina with $250,000 of dark money to introduce a ballot initiative on behalf of a mining company. The goal: to manipulate the locals into voting to sell their pristine public land to the highest bidder.

      Dre arrives in God-fearing, flag-waving Carthage County, with only Mrs. Fitz’s well-meaning yet naïve grandson Brendan as his team. Dre, an African-American outsider, can’t be the one to collect the signatures needed to get on the ballot. So he hires a blue-collar couple, Tyler Lee and his pious wife, Chalene, to act as the initiative’s public face.

      Under Dre’s cynical direction, a land grab is disguised as a righteous fight for faith and liberty. As lines are crossed and lives ruined, Dre’s increasingly cutthroat campaign threatens the very soul of Carthage County and perhaps the last remnants of his own humanity.

      A piercing portrait of our fragile democracy and one man’s unraveling, The Coyotes of Carthage paints a disturbingly real portrait of the American experiment in action.

      Nominee - Debut Fiction

      Black Sunday
      by Tola Rotimi Abraham

      Publication Date: Feb 04, 2020
      List Price: $26.00
      Format: Hardcover, 288 pages
      Classification: Fiction
      ISBN13: 9781948226561
      Imprint: Catapult
      Publisher: Catapult
      Parent Company: Catapult

      Read a Description of Black Sunday

      Book Description: 

      "I like the idea of a god who knows what it’s like to be a twin. To have no memory of ever being alone."

      Twin sisters Bibike and Ariyike are enjoying a relatively comfortable life in Lagos in 1996. Then their mother loses her job due to political strife, and the family, facing poverty, becomes drawn into the New Church, an institution led by a charismatic pastor who is not shy about worshipping earthly wealth.

      Soon Bibike and Ariyike’s father wagers the family home on a "sure bet" that evaporates like smoke. As their parents’ marriage collapses in the aftermath of this gamble, the twin sisters and their two younger siblings, Andrew and Peter, are thrust into the reluctant care of their traditional Yoruba grandmother. Inseparable while they had their parents to care for them, the twins’ paths diverge once the household shatters. Each girl is left to locate, guard, and hone her own fragile source of power.

      Written with astonishing intimacy and wry attention to the fickleness of fate, Tola Rotimi Abraham’s Black Sunday takes us into the chaotic heart of family life, tracing a line from the euphoria of kinship to the devastation of estrangement. In the process, it joyfully tells a tale of grace and connection in the midst of daily oppression and the constant incursions of an unremitting patriarchy. This is a novel about two young women slowly finding, over twenty years, in a place rife with hypocrisy but also endless life and love, their own distinct methods of resistance and paths to independence.

      Nominee - Fiction

      Black Bottom Saints (Paperback)
      by Alice Randall

      Publication Date: Jul 06, 2021
      List Price: $16.99
      Format: Paperback, 368 pages
      Classification: Fiction
      ISBN13: 9780062970862
      Imprint: Amistad
      Publisher: HarperCollins
      Parent Company: News Corporation

      Read a Description of Black Bottom Saints (Paperback)

      Book Description: 

      An enthralling literary tour-de-force that pays tribute to Detroit’s legendary neighborhood, a mecca for jazz, sports, and politics, Black Bottom Saints is a powerful blend of fact and imagination reminiscent of E.L. Doctorow’s classic novel Ragtime and Marlon James’ Man Booker Award-winning masterpiece, A Brief History of Seven Killings.

      Black Bottom Saints playing cards to celebrate Detroit’s Black culture, history Get an autographed “Black Bottom Saints Playing Card,” which celebrates Detroit’s Black culture and History, with every order.

      From the Great Depression through the post-World War II years, Joseph "Ziggy" Johnson, has been the pulse of Detroit’s famous Black Bottom. A celebrated gossip columnist for the city’s African-American newspaper, the Michigan Chronicle, he is also the emcee of one of the hottest night clubs, where he’s rubbed elbows with the legendary black artists of the era, including Ethel Waters, Billy Eckstein, and Count Basie. Ziggy is also the founder and dean of the Ziggy Johnson School of Theater. But now the doyen of Black Bottom is ready to hang up his many dapper hats.

      As he lays dying in the black-owned-and-operated Kirkwood Hospital, Ziggy reflects on his life, the community that was the center of his world, and the remarkable people who helped shape it.

      Inspired by the Catholic Saints Day Books, Ziggy curates his own list of Black Bottom’s venerable 52 Saints. Among them are a vulnerable Dinah Washington, a defiant Joe Louis, and a raucous Bricktop. Randall balances the stories of these larger-than-life Saints with local heroes who became household names, enthralling men and women whose unstoppable ambition, love of style, and faith in community made this black Midwestern neighborhood the rival of New York City’s Harlem.

      Accompanying these "tributes" are thoughtfully paired cocktails—special drinks that capture the essence of each of Ziggy’s saints—libations as strong and satisfying as Alice Randall’s wholly original view of a place and time unlike any other.

      Learn More: At the Black Bottom Saints Official Website

      Nominee - Fiction

      Book of the Little Axe
      by Lauren Francis-Sharma

      Publication Date: May 12, 2020
      List Price: $26.00
      Format: Hardcover, 400 pages
      Classification: Fiction
      ISBN13: 9780802129369
      Imprint: Atlantic Monthly Press
      Publisher: Grove Atlantic, Inc.
      Parent Company: Grove Atlantic, Inc.

      Read a Description of Book of the Little Axe

      Book Description: 

      Ambitious and masterfully-wrought, Lauren Francis-Sharma’s Book of the Little Axe is an incredible journey, spanning decades and oceans from Trinidad to the American West during the tumultuous days of warring colonial powers and westward expansion.

      In 1796 Trinidad, young Rosa Rend n quietly but purposefully rebels against the life others expect her to lead. Bright, competitive, and opinionated, Rosa sees no reason she should learn to cook and keep house, for it is obvious her talents lie in running the farm she, alone, views as her birthright. But when her homeland changes from Spanish to British rule, it becomes increasingly unclear whether its free black property owners—Rosa’s family among them—will be allowed to keep their assets, their land, and ultimately, their freedom.

      By 1830, Rosa is living among the Crow Nation in Bighorn, Montana with her children and her husband, Edward Rose, a Crow chief. Her son Victor is of the age where he must seek his vision and become a man. But his path forward is blocked by secrets Rosa has kept from him. So Rosa must take him to where his story began and, in turn, retrace her own roots, acknowledging along the way, the painful events that forced her from the middle of an ocean to the rugged terrain of a far-away land.

      Nominee - Fiction

      These Bodies
      by Morgan Christie

        Publication Date: Dec 08, 2020
        List Price: $19.00
        Format: Paperback, 244 pages
        Classification: Fiction
        ISBN13: 9781948800365
        Imprint: Tolsun Books
        Publisher: Tolsun Publishing
        Parent Company: Tolsun Publishing, Inc.

        Read a Description of These Bodies

        Book Description: 

        Fiction. Short Stories. African & African American Studies. These Bodies, a collection of eleven stories by Morgan Christie, explores the complexities of relationships, specifically those of people of color. Each story highlights the subtleties and undercurrents of the life of a unique protagonist. Championing underrepresented stories, loves, trials, and bodies, Christie’s debut full-length book is one of depth, of passion, of fear, and of joy.

        Reading Morgan Christie’s debut collection is like falling into a dream, animal life and the occasional fantastical element peeking through a curtain of painful human reality. Christie’s voice is precise throughout, modern and emotionally astute, her characters filled with longing, forced while at various crossroads to reconcile vices and failings—large and small—with their hopes for a better world.—Karen Palmer

        These Bodies serves as an almost unnerving reflection of what it means to be human, to the point that every reader will be able to recognize some part of themselves within these pages, whether it’s the need for understanding, the desperation of a second chance, or the lies we acknowledge but rarely have the courage to truly face. Written with empathy, subtlety, and just a little bit of magic, Christie is one of those writers whose stories will randomly pop into your head, seemingly unprovoked, for years to come.—MK Roney

        One of the best short story collections I’ve read in a while. Christie skillfully crafts characters so real, you can feel their hearts beating through the pages. The stories in These Bodies are an honest and relatable look at the multifaceted human experience, something we need in the world now more than ever.—Racquel Henry

        Nominee - Nonfiction

        Memorial Drive: A Daughter’s Memoir
        by Natasha Trethewey

        Publication Date: Jul 28, 2020
        List Price: $27.99
        Format: Hardcover, 224 pages
        Classification: Nonfiction
        ISBN13: 9780062248572
        Imprint: Ecco
        Publisher: HarperCollins
        Parent Company: News Corporation

        Read a Description of Memorial Drive: A Daughter’s Memoir

        Book Description: 

        A chillingly personal and exquisitely wrought memoir of a daughter reckoning with the brutal murder of her mother at the hands of her former stepfather, and the moving, intimate story of a poet coming into her own in the wake of a tragedy

        At age nineteen, Natasha Trethewey had her world turned upside down when her former stepfather shot and killed her mother. Grieving and still new to adulthood, she confronted the twin pulls of life and death in the aftermath of unimaginable trauma and now explores the way this experience lastingly shaped the artist she became.

        With penetrating insight and a searing voice that moves from the wrenching to the elegiac, Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Natasha Trethewey explores this profound experience of pain, loss, and grief as an entry point into understanding the tragic course of her mother’s life and the way her own life has been shaped by a legacy of fierce love and resilience. Moving through her mother’s history in the deeply segregated South and through her own girlhood as a "child of miscegenation" in Mississippi, Trethewey plumbs her sense of dislocation and displacement in the lead-up to the harrowing crime that took place on Memorial Drive in Atlanta in 1985.

        Memorial Drive is a compelling and searching look at a shared human experience of sudden loss and absence but also a piercing glimpse at the enduring ripple effects of white racism and domestic abuse. Animated by unforgettable prose and inflected by a poet’s attention to language, this is a luminous, urgent, and visceral memoir from one of our most important contemporary writers and thinkers.

        Nominee - Nonfiction

        The Alchemy of Us: How Humans and Matter Transformed One Another
        by Ainissa Ramirez

          Publication Date: Apr 06, 2021
          List Price: $17.95
          Format: Paperback, 328 pages
          Classification: Nonfiction
          ISBN13: 9780262542265
          Imprint: The MIT Press
          Publisher: The MIT Press
          Parent Company: Massachusetts Institute of Technology

          Read a Description of The Alchemy of Us: How Humans and Matter Transformed One Another

          Book Description: 

          In the bestselling tradition of Stuff Matters and The Disappearing Spoon: a clever and engaging look at materials, the innovations they made possible, and how these technologies changed us. Finalist for the 41st Los Angeles Times Book Award in Science and Technology and selected as one of the Best Summer Science Books Of 2020 by Science Friday.

          In The Alchemy of Us, scientist and science writer Ainissa Ramirez examines eight inventions—clocks, steel rails, copper communication cables, photographic film, light bulbs, hard disks, scientific labware, and silicon chips—and reveals how they shaped the human experience. Ramirez tells the stories of the woman who sold time, the inventor who inspired Edison, and the hotheaded undertaker whose invention pointed the way to the computer. She describes, among other things, how our pursuit of precision in timepieces changed how we sleep; how the railroad helped commercialize Christmas; how the necessary brevity of the telegram influenced Hemingway’s writing style; and how a young chemist exposed the use of Polaroid’s cameras to create passbooks to track Black citizens in apartheid South Africa. These fascinating and inspiring stories offer new perspectives on our relationships with technologies.

          Nominee - Nonfiction

          Mediocre: The Dangerous Legacy of White Male America
          by Ijeoma Oluo

          Publication Date: Dec 01, 2020
          List Price: $28.00
          Format: Hardcover, 320 pages
          Classification: Nonfiction
          ISBN13: 9781580059510
          Imprint: Seal Press
          Publisher: Seal Press
          Parent Company: Seal Press

          Read a Description of Mediocre: The Dangerous Legacy of White Male America

          Book Description: 

          The publication of So You Want to Talk About Race in 2018, the #1 New York Times Bestseller with more than 500,000 copies in print, resulted in Seattle-based author Ijeoma Oluo emerging as a leading commentator and expert on racial justice issues. In the book, Oluo identifies white male supremacy as “America’s oldest pyramid scheme.” White Southern elites assured poor white men that, despite being bit players in a system of oppression from which they reaped very little financial reward, they would always have more power and status than women or people of color. But that notion wasn’t unique to the South. And more than two hundred years later, Oluo argues, the tragic bargain exerts deadly force. The only way to break free is to understand what we’re up against.

          It’s precisely why Oluo was compelled to write her new book, Mediocre: The Dangerous Legacy of White Male America, which traces the through lines of White male supremacy and the havoc it has wreaked on this country and our people for generations. In devastating example after example, from the mythical “Buffalo Bill” Cody and the destruction of the actual buffalo and Indigenous communities, through the Great Migration and the Great Depression, right up through the current state of higher education, housing policy, electoral politics, and even professional sports, Oluo shows how White male supremacy has shaped—and continues to shape—our lives.

          Our society has historically conditioned White men to derive self-worth from a feeling of superiority over others—regardless of their level of skill or talent. People of color are the most severely impacted, as the news cycle continues to teach us. But Oluo shows how White male supremacy harms everyone, except for the wealthiest, most powerful of white men. And while powerful white men designed these systems to maintain a stranglehold on wealth and power, we are all complicit to varying degrees, depending on our level of racial, gender, and socioeconomic privilege.

          In Mediocre, however, Oluo shares that there is good news in that we have the power to create new, better systems—through our wallets, our votes, and our refusal to play by traditional rules that privilege arrogance and aggression over collaboration and community. As Oluo writes:

          I do not believe that White men are born wanting to dominate…. We need to do more than just break free of the oppression of White men. We also have to imagine a White manhood that is not based in the oppression of others…. We must start asking what we want White manhood to be, and what we will no longer accept.”

          Nominee - Poetry

          Jump the Clock: New & Selected Poems
          by Erica Hunt

            Publication Date: Nov 10, 2020
            List Price: $19.95
            Format: Paperback, 208 pages
            Classification: Poetry
            ISBN13: 9781643620244
            Imprint: Nightboat Books
            Publisher: Nightboat Books
            Parent Company: Nightboat Books

            Read a Description of Jump the Clock: New & Selected Poems

            Book Description: 

            Erica Hunt writes at the intersection of poetry and emancipatory politics—racial and gender justice, feminist ethics, and participatory democracy—showing us that altering our reading strategies frames our experiences. Ultimately, she finds that words matter, savoring the small ones: articles, pronouns, collective, plural and singular. This collection brings together out of print works and journals of the same period, to speak across “crumpled” time, the past seen from then to now.

            Nominee - Poetry

            Kontemporary Amerikan Poetry
            by John Murillo

              Publication Date: Mar 02, 2020
              List Price: $16.95
              Format: Paperback, 88 pages
              Classification: Poetry
              ISBN13: 9781945588471
              Imprint: Four Way Books
              Publisher: Four Way Books
              Parent Company: Four Way Books

              Read a Description of Kontemporary Amerikan Poetry

              Book Description: 

              John Murillo’s second book is a reflective look at the legacy of institutional, accepted violence against Blacks and Latinos and the personal and societal wreckage wrought by long histories of subjugation. A sparrow trapped in a car window evokes a mother battered by a father’s fists; a workout at an iron gym recalls a long-ago mentor who pushed the speaker “to become something unbreakable.” The presence of these and poetic forbears—Gil Scott-Heron, Yusef Komunyakaa—provide a context for strength in the face of danger and anger. At the heart of the book is a sonnet crown triggered by the shooting deaths of three Brooklyn men that becomes an extended meditation on the history of racial injustice and the notion of payback as a form of justice.

              Nominee - Poetry

              White Blood: A Lyric of Virginia
              by Kiki Petrosino

                Publication Date: May 05, 2020
                List Price: $15.95
                Format: Paperback, 112 pages
                Classification: Poetry
                ISBN13: 9781946448545
                Imprint: Sarabande Books
                Publisher: Sarabande Books
                Parent Company: Sarabande Books

                Read a Description of White Blood: A Lyric of Virginia

                Book Description: 

                In her fourth full-length book, White Blood: A Lyric of Virginia, Kiki Petrosino turns her gaze to Virginia, where she digs into her genealogical and intellectual roots, while contemplating the knotty legacies of slavery and discrimination in the Upper South. From a stunning double crown sonnet, to erasure poetry contained within DNA testing results, the poems in this collection are as wide-ranging in form as they are bountiful in wordplay and truth. In her poem “The Shop at Monticello,” she writes: I’m a black body in this Commonwealth, which turned black bodies into money. Now, I have money to spend on little trinkets to remind me of this fact. I’m a money machine & my body constitutes the common wealth. Speaking to history, loss, and injustice with wisdom, innovation, and a scientific determination to find the poetic truth, White Blood plants Petrosino’s name ever more firmly in the contemporary canon.