American Book Awards

The American Book Award is an American literary award that annually recognizes a set of books and people for "outstanding literary achievement". According to the 2010 awards press release, it is "a writers' award given by other writers" and "there are no categories, no nominees, and therefore no losers."[1]

American Book Awards
CountryUnited States
Hosted byBefore Columbus Foundation

The Award is administered by the multi-cultural focused nonprofit Before Columbus Foundation, which established it in 1978 and inaugurated it in 1980.[2][3] The Award honors excellence in American literature without restriction to race, sex, ethnic background, or genre.[4] Previous winners include novelists, social scientists, poets, and historians such as Toni Morrison, Edward Said, Isabel Allende, bell hooks, Don DeLillo, Derrick Bell, Robin D. G. Kelley, Joy Harjo and Tommy J. Curry.

National Book Awards

In 1980, the unrelated National Book Awards was renamed American Book Awards. In 1987 it was renamed back to National Book Awards.[5] Other than having the same name during this seven-year period, the two awards have no relation.


1980 to 1989




  • Al Young for Bodies and Soul
  • Duane Niatum for Songs for the Harvester of Dreams: Poems
  • E. L. Mayo for Collected Poems E L Mayo
  • Frank Chin for The Chickencoop Chinaman and The Year of the Dragon
  • Hilton Obenzinger for This Passover or the next, I will never be in Jerusalem
  • Him Mark Lai, Genny Lim, Judy Yung for Island: Poetry and History of Chinese Immigrants on Angel Island, 1910–1940
  • Jerome Rothenberg for Pre-Faces and Other Writings
  • Joyce Carol Thomas for Marked by Fire
  • Leroy Quintana for Paper Dance: 55 Latino Poets
  • Lorna Dee Cervantes for Emplumada
  • Ronald Phillip Tanaka for The Shino Suite: Japanese-American Poetry
  • Russell Banks for Book of Jamaica
  • Tato Laviera for Enclave


  • Barbara Christian for Black Women Novelists: The Development of a Tradition, 1892–1976
  • Cecilia Liang for Chinese Folk Poetry
  • Evangelina Vigil-Piñón for Thirty: An' Seen a Lot
  • Harriet Rohmer for Legend of Food Mountain: LA Montana Del Alimento
  • James D. Houston for Californians: Searching for the Golden State
  • Jessica Tarahata Hagedorn for Pet food & tropical apparitions
  • John A. Williams for Click Song, a novel
  • Joy Kogawa for Obasan
  • Judy Grahn for The Queen of Wands: Poetry
  • Nash Candelaria for Not by the Sword
  • Peter Guralnick for Lost Highway: Journeys and Arrivals of American Musicians
  • Seán Ó Tuama for An Duanaire Sixteen Hundred to Nineteen Hundred: Poems of the Dispossessed





  • Ai for SIN
  • Ana Castillo for The Mixquiahuala Letters
  • Cyn Zarco for Circumnavigations
  • Daniel McGuire for Portrait of Little Boy in darkness
  • Dorothy Bryant for Confessions of Madame Psyche: Memoirs and Letters of Mei-Li Murrow
  • Etheridge Knight for The Essential Etheridge Knight
  • Gary Giddins for Celebrating Bird: The Triumph Of Charlie Parker
  • Harvey Pekar for The New American Splendor Anthology: From Off the Streets of Cleveland
  • James Welch for Fools Crow
  • John Wieners for Selected Poems: 1958–1984
  • Juan Felipe Herrera for Face Games
  • Lucia Chiavola Birnbaum for liberazione della donna: feminism in Italy
  • Michael Mayo for Practicing Angels: A Contemporary Anthology of San Francisco Bay Area Poetry
  • Septima Poinsette Clark, Cynthia Stokes Brown for Ready from Within: A First Person Narrative
  • Terry McMillan for Mama


  • Allison Blakely for Russia and the Negro: Blacks in Russian History and Thought
  • Charles Olson for The Collected Poems of Charles Olson: Excluding the Maximus Poems
  • Daisy Bates for The Long Shadow of Little Rock: A Memoir
  • David Halberstam for The Reckoning
  • Edward Sanders for Thirsting for Peace in a Raging Century: Poems 1961–1985
  • Gerald Vizenor for Griever: An American Monkey King in China
  • Jimmy Santiago Baca for Martin & Meditations on the South Valley
  • Kesho Y. Scott, Cherry Muhanji, Egyirba High for Tight Spaces
  • Marlon K. Hom for Songs of Gold Mountain: Cantonese Rhymes from San Francisco Chinatown
  • Benjamin Hoff for The Singing Creek Where the Willows Grow: The Mystical Nature Diary of Opal Whiteley[2]
  • Ronald Sukenick for Down and in: Life in the Underground
  • Salvatore La Puma for The Boys of Bensonhurst
  • Toni Morrison for Beloved
  • Wing Tek Lum, Tek Lum Lum for Expounding the Doubtful Points


  • Alma Luz Villanueva for The Ultraviolet Sky
  • Askia M. Touré for From the Pyramids to the Projects: Poems of Genocide and Resistance!
  • Audre Lorde for A Burst of Light
  • Carolyn Lau for Wode Shuofa: My Way of Speaking
  • Emory Elliott for Columbia Literary History of the United States
  • Eduardo Galeano for Genesis
  • Frank Chin for The Chinaman Pacific and Frisco R.R. Co.
  • Henry Louis Gates for The Signifying Monkey: A Theory of Afro-American Literary Criticism
  • Isabel Allende for Eva Luna
  • J. California Cooper for Homemade Love
  • Jennifer Stone for Stone's Throw
  • Josephine Gattuso Hendin for The Right Thing to Do
  • Leslie Scalapino for way
  • Shuntaro Tanikawa for Floating the River in Melancholy
  • Charles Fanning for The Exiles of Erin: Nineteenth-Century Irish-American Fiction
  • William Minoru Hohri for Repairing America: An Account of the Movement for Japanese American Redress

1990 to 1999


  • Adrienne Kennedy for People Who Led to My Plays
  • Barbara Grizzuti Harrison for Italian Days
  • Daniela Gioseffi for Women on War (Essential Voices for the Nuclear Age)
  • Elizabeth Woody for Hand into Stone: Poems
  • Hualing Nieh for Mulberry and Peach: Two Women of China
  • Itabari Njeri for Every Good-Bye Ain't Gone
  • James M. Freeman for Hearts of Sorrow: Vietnamese-American Lives
  • John C. Walter, J. Raymond Jones for The Harlem Fox: J. Raymond Jones and Tammany, 1920–1970
  • John Norton for Light at the End of the Bog
  • José Emilio González for Vivar a Hostos
  • Sergei Kan for Symbolic Immortality: The Tlingit Potlatch of the Nineteenth Century
  • Lloyd A. Thompson for Romans and Blacks
  • Martin Bernal for Black Athena: The Afroasiatic Roots of Classical Civilization
  • Michelle T. Clinton, Sesshu Foster for Invocation L.A.: Urban Multicultural Poetry
  • Miles Davis for Miles: The Autobiography
  • Paula Gunn Allen for Spider Woman's Granddaughters: Traditional Tales and Contemporary Writing by Native American Women
  • Shirley Geok-lin Lim, Mayumi Tsutakawa, Margarita Donnelly for The Forbidden Stitch: An Asian American Women's Anthology


  • Alejandro Murguía for Southern Front
  • bell hooks for Yearning: Race, Gender, and Cultural Politics
  • Bruce Wright for Black Robes, White Justice: Why Our Legal System Doesn't Work for Blacks
  • Charley Trujillo for Soldados: Chicanos in Viet Nam
  • D. H. Melhem for Heroism in the New Black Poetry: Introductions & Interviews
  • Deborah Keenan for Looking for Home: Women Writing About Exile
  • Jessica Hagedorn for Dogeaters
  • John Edgar Wideman for Philadelphia Fire, a novel
  • Joy Harjo for In Mad Love and War
  • Karen Tei Yamashita for Through the Arc of the Rain Forest
  • Lucia Berlin for Homesick: New and Selected Stories
  • Mary Crow Dog for Lakota Woman
  • Meridel Le Sueur for Harvest Song: Collected Essays and Stories
  • Mill Hunk Herald Collective for Overtime: Punchin' Out With the Mill Hunk Herald Magazine
  • Nora Marks Dauenhauer, Richard Dauenhauer for Haa Tuwunaagu Yis, for Healing Our Spirit: Tlingit Oratory
  • R. Baxter Miller for The Art and Imagination of Langston Hughes
  • Thomas Centolella for Terra Firma


  • A'Lelia Perry Bundles for Madam C.J. Walker
  • Art Spiegelman for The Complete Maus: A Survivor's Tale
  • Benjamin Alire Sáenz for Calendar of Dust
  • Donna J. Haraway for Simians, Cyborgs, and Women: The Reinvention of Nature
  • Fritjof Capra for Belonging to the universe: Explorations on the frontiers of science and spirituality
  • José Antonio Burciaga for Undocumented Love/Amor Indocumentado: A Personal Anthology of Poetry
  • Keith Gilyard for Voices of the Self: A Study of Language Competence
  • Lucy Thompson for To the American Indian: Reminiscences of a Yurok Woman
  • Norma Field for In the Realm of a Dying Emperor: Japan at Century's End
  • Peter Bacho for Cebu
  • Peter Kalifornsky for Dena'ina Legacy: K'tl'egh'i Sukdu: The Collected Writings of Peter Kalifornsky
  • Raymond Andrews for Jessie and Jesus and Cousin Claire
  • Sandra Scofield for Beyond Deserving
  • Sheila Hamanaka for Journey
  • Stephen R. Fox for The Unknown Internment: An Oral History of the Relocation of Italian Americans During World War II
  • Steven R. Carter for Hansberry's Drama: Commitment Amid Complexity,
  • Verlyn Klinkenborg for The Last Fine Time
  • William B. Branch, Amiri Baraka, August Wilson for Black Thunder: An Anthology of African-American Drama


  • Asake Bomani, Belvie Rooks for Paris Connections: African American Artists in Paris
  • Christopher Mogil, Peter Woodrow for We Gave Away a Fortune
  • Cornel West for Prophetic Thought in Postmodern Times
  • Denise Giardina for Unquiet Earth
  • Diane Glancy for Claiming Breath
  • Eugene B. Redmond for The Eye in the Ceiling
  • Francisco X. Alarcón for Snake Poems
  • Gerald Graff for Beyond the Culture Wars: How Teaching the Conflicts Can Revitalize American Education
  • Jack Beatty for The Rascal King: The Life and Times of James Michael Curley
  • Leroy V. Quintana for The History of Home
  • Katherine Peter for Neets'aii Gwiindaii: Living in the Chandalar Country
  • Nelson George for Elevating the Game: Black Men and Basketball
  • Ninotchka Rosca for Twice Blessed, a novel


  • Giose Rimanelli for Benedetta in Guysterland
  • Eric Drooker for Flood!: A Novel in Pictures
  • Graciela Limón for In Search of Bernabe
  • Gregory J. Reed for Economic Empowerment Through the Church
  • Janet Campbell Hale for Bloodlines: Odyssey of a Native Daughter
  • Jill Nelson for Volunteer Slavery: My Authentic Negro Experience
  • Lawson Fusao Inada for Legends from Camp
  • Nicole Blackman for Aloud: Voices from the Nuyorican Poets Cafe
  • Paul Gilroy for The Black Atlantic: Modernity and Double-Consciousness
  • Ronald Takaki for A Different Mirror: A History of Multicultural America
  • Rose L. Glickman for Daughters of Feminists
  • Tino Villanueva for Scene from the Movie GIANT
  • Virginia L. Kroll for Wood-Hoopoe Willie


  • Abraham Rodriguez for Spidertown, a novel
  • Herb Boyd, Robert L. Allen for Brotherman: The Odyssey of Black Men in America—An Anthology
  • Denise Chávez for Face of an Angel
  • John Egerton for Speak Now Against the Day: The Generation Before the Civil Rights Movement in the South
  • John Ross for Rebellion from the Roots: Indian Uprising in Chiapas
  • Thomas Avena for Life Sentences: Writers, Artists, and AIDS
  • Linda Raymond for Rocking the Babies, a novel
  • Li-Young Lee for The Winged Seed: A Remembrance
  • Marianna De Marco Torgovnick for Crossing Ocean Parkway
  • Marnie Mueller for Green Fires: Assault on Eden: A Novel of the Ecuadorian Rainforest
  • Peter Quinn for Banished Children of Eve, A Novel of Civil War New York
  • Sandra Martz for I Am Becoming the Woman I've Wanted
  • Gordon Henry Jr. for The Light People
  • Tricia Rose for Black Noise: Rap Music and Black Culture in Contemporary America



  • Alurista for Et Tu ... Raza
  • Derrick Bell for Gospel Choirs: Psalms Of Survival In An Alien Land Called Home
  • Dorothy Barresi for The Post-Rapture Diner
  • Guillermo Gómez-Peña for The New World Border: Prophecies, Poems, and Loqueras for the End of the Century
  • Louis Owens for Nightland
  • Martín Espada for Imagine the Angels of Bread: Poems
  • Montserrat Fontes for Dreams of the Centaur, a novel
  • Noel Ignatiev for Race Traitor
  • Shirley Geok-lin Lim for Among the White Moon Faces: An Asian-American Memoir of Homelands
  • Sunaina Maira for Contours of the Heart: South Asians Map North America
  • Thulani Davis for Maker of Saints
  • Tom De Haven for Derby Dugan's Depression Funnies, a novel
  • William M. Banks for Black Intellectuals: Race and Responsibility in American Life
  • Brenda Knight for Women of the Beat Generation: The Writers, Artists and Muses at the Heart of a Revolution



  • Alice McDermott for Charming Billy
  • Anna Linzer for Ghost Dancing
  • Brian Ward for Just My Soul Responding: Rhythm and Blues, Black Consciousness, and Race Relations
  • Chiori Santiago for Home to Medicine Mountain
  • E. Donald Two-Rivers for Survivor's Medicine: Short Stories
  • Edwidge Danticat for The Farming of Bones
  • Judith Roche, Meg McHutchison for First Fish, First People: Salmon Tales of the North Pacific Rim
  • Gioia Timpanelli for Sometimes the Soul: Two Novellas of Sicily
  • Gloria Naylor for The Men of Brewster Place, a novel
  • James D. Houston for The Last Paradise
  • Jerry Lipka, Gerald V. Mohatt, Ciulistet Group for Transforming the Culture of Schools: Yup¡k Eskimo Examples
  • Trey Ellis for Right Here, Right Now
  • Josip Novakovich for Salvation and Other Disasters
  • Lauro Flores for The Floating Borderlands: Twenty-Five Years of U.S. Hispanic Literature
  • Luís Alberto Urrea for Nobody's Son: Notes from an American Life
  • Nelson George for Hip Hop America: Hip Hop and the Molding of Black Generation X
  • Speer Morgan for The Freshour Cylinders
  • Gary Gach for What Book!?: Buddha Poems from Beat to Hiphop
  • Chiori Santiago, author, Judith Lowry, illustrator, Home to Medicine Mountain[6]

2000 to 2009

  • Esther G. Belin for From the Belly of My Beauty
  • Allan J. Ryan for The Trickster Shift: Humour and Irony in Contemporary Native Art
  • Andrés Montoya for The Ice Worker Sings and Other Poems
  • Camille Peri, Kate Moses for Mothers Who Think: Tales of Real-Life Parenthood
  • David A. J. Richards for Italian American: The Racializing of an Ethnic Identity
  • David Toop for Exotica
  • Elva Trevino Hart for Barefoot Heart: Stories of a Migrant Child
  • Emil Guillermo for Amok: Essays from an Asian American Perspective; With an Introduction by Ishmael Reed
  • Frank Chin for The Chinaman Pacific & Frisco R.R. Co.
  • Helen Thomas for Front Row at the White House : My Life and Times
  • Janisse Ray for Ecology of a Cracker Childhood
  • John Russell Rickford, Russell John Rickford for Spoken Soul: The Story of Black English
  • Leroy TeCube for Year in Nam: A Native American Soldier's Story
  • Lois-Ann Yamanaka for Heads By Harry
  • Michael Lally for It's Not Nostalgia: Poetry & Prose
  • Michael Patrick MacDonald for All Souls: A Family Story from Southie
  • Rahna Reiko Rizzuto for Why She Left Us, a novel
  • Robert Creeley for The Collected Poems of Robert Creeley, 1975–2005
  • Editor/Publisher: Ronald Sukenick[6]
  • Jack E. White,[6] Journalism
  • Frank Chin,[6] Lifetime Achievement
  • Robert Creeley,[6] Lifetime Achievement
  • Amanda J. Cobb for Listening to Our Grandmothers' Stories: The Bloomfield Academy for Chickasaw Females, 1852–1949
  • Andrea Dworkin for Scapegoat: The Jews, Israel, and Women's Liberation
  • Carolyne Wright for Seasons of Mangoes and Brainfire
  • Chalmers Johnson for Blowback, Second Edition: The Costs and Consequences of American Empire
  • Cheri Register for Packinghouse Daughter: A Memoir
  • Chris Ware for Jimmy Corrigan: The Smartest Kid on Earth
  • Diana Garcia for When Living Was a Labor Camp
  • Elizabeth Nunez for Bruised Hibiscus
  • Janet McAdams for Island of Lost Luggage
  • Philip Whalen for Overtime: Selected Poems
  • Russell Leong for Phoenix Eyes and Other Stories
  • Sandra M. Gilbert for Kissing the Bread: New and Selected Poems, 1969–1999
  • Ted Joans for Teducation
  • Tillie Olsen for Silences
  • William S. Penn for Killing Time With Strangers
  • Malcolm Margolin,[6] Editor
  • Ted Joans,[6] Lifetime Achievement
  • Tillie Olsen,[6] Lifetime Achievement
  • Philip Whalen[6] Lifetime Achievement
  • Aaron A. Abeyta, Colcha
  • Susanne Antonetta, The Body Toxic: An Environmental Memoir
  • Rilla Askew, Fire in Beulah
  • Tananarive Due, The Living Blood
  • Gloria Frym, Homeless at Home
  • Dana Gioia, Interrogations at Noon
  • LeAnne Howe, Shell Shaker
  • Alex Kuo, Lipstick and Other Stories
  • Michael N. Nagler, Is There No Other Way? The Search for a Nonviolent Future
  • Donald Phelps, Reading the Funnies : Looking at Great Cartoonists Throughout the First Half of the 20th Century
  • Al Young, The Sound of Dreams Remembered: Poems, 1990–2000
  • Jessel Miller, Angels in the Vineyards
  • Lerone Bennett, Lifetime Achievement
  • Jack Hirschman, Lifetime Achievement
  • Kevin Baker, Paradise Alley
  • Debra Magpie Earling, Perma Red
  • Daniel Ellsberg, Secrets: A Memoir of Vietnam and the Pentagon Papers
  • Rick Heide, ed., Under the Fifth Sun: Latino Literature from California
  • Igor Krupnik, Willis Walunga, Vera Metcalf, and Lars Krutak, eds, Akuzilleput Igaqullghet, Our Words Put to Paper: Sourcebook in St. Lawrence Island Yupik Heritage and History
  • Alejandro Murguía, This War Called Love: Nine Stories
  • Jack Newfield, The Full Rudy: The Man, the Myth, the Mania
  • Joseph Papaleo, Italian Stories
  • Eric Porter, What Is This Thing Called Jazz?: African American Musicians as Artists, Critics, and Activists
  • Jewell Parker Rhodes, Douglass' Women, a novel
  • Rachel Simon, Riding the Bus with My Sister: A True Life Journey
  • Velma Wallis, Raising Ourselves: A Gwich'in Coming of Age Story from the Yukon River
  • Max Rodriguez, QBR: The Black Book Review
  • Diana Abu-Jaber, Crescent, a novel
  • David Cole, Enemy Aliens: Double Standards And Constitutional Freedoms In The War On Terrorism
  • Charisse Jones and Kumea Shorter-Gooden, Shifting: The Double Lives of Black Women in America
  • Kristin Hunter Lattany, Breaking Away
  • A. Robert Lee, Multicultural American Literature: Comparative Black, Native, Latino/a and Asian American Fictions
  • Diane Sher Lutovich, What I Stole
  • Ruth Ozeki, All Over Creation
  • Renato Rosaldo, Prayer to Spider Woman / Rezo a la Mujer Arana
  • Scott Saul, Freedom Is, Freedom Ain't: Jazz and the Making of the Sixties
  • Michael Walsh, And All the Saints
  • Bernard W. Bell, The Contemporary African American Novel: Its Folk Roots And Modern Literary Branches
  • Cecelie Berry, Rise Up Singing: Black Women Writers on Motherhood
  • Jeff Chang, Can't Stop Won't Stop: A History of the Hip-Hop Generation
  • Julie Chibbaro, Redemption
  • Richard A. Clarke, Against All Enemies: Inside America's War on Terror
  • Alisha S. Drabek and Karen R. Adams, The Red Cedar of Afognak, A Driftwood Journey
  • Ralph M. Flores, The Horse in the Kitchen: Stories of a Mexican-American Family
  • Hiroshi Kashiwagi, Swimming in the American: A Memoir And Selected Writings
  • Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., Crimes Against Nature: How George W. Bush and His Corporate Pals Are Plundering the Country and Hijacking Our Democracy
  • Don Lee, Country of Origin, a novel
  • Lamont B. Steptoe, A Long Movie of Shadows
  • Don West, No Lonesome Road: Selected Prose and Poems, eds Jeff Biggers and George Brosi
  • Journalism: Bill Berkowitz
  • MacKenzie Bezos, The Testing of Luther Albright, a novel
  • Matt Briggs, Shoot the Buffalo
  • David P. Diaz, The White Tortilla: Reflections of a Second-Generation Mexican-American
  • Darryl Dickson-Carr, The Columbia Guide to Contemporary African American Fiction
  • Thomas Ferraro, Feeling Italian: The Art of Ethnicity in America
  • Tim Z. Hernandez, Skin Tax
  • Josh Kun, Audiotopia: Music, Race, and America
  • P. Lewis, Nate
  • Peter Metcalfe, Gumboot Determination: The Story of the Southeast Alaska Regional Health Consortium
  • Kevin J. Mullen, The Toughest Gang in Town: Police Stories from Old San Francisco
  • Doris Seale and Beverly Slapin, eds., A Broken Flute: The Native Experience in Books for Children
  • Matthew Shenoda, Somewhere Else
  • Carlton T. Spiller, Scalding Heart
  • Chris Hamilton-Emery, Editor
  • Jay Wright, Lifetime Achievement
  • Daniel Cassidy, How the Irish Invented Slang: The Secret Language of the Crossroads
  • Michael Eric Dyson, Come Hell or High Water: Hurricane Katrina and the Color of Disaster
  • Rigoberto González, Butterfly Boy: Memories of a Chicano Mariposa
  • Reyna Grande, Across a Hundred Mountains, a novel
  • Ernestine Hayes, Blonde Indian: An Alaska Native Memoir
  • Patricia Klindienst, The Earth Knows My Name: Food, Culture, and Sustainability in the Gardens of Ethnic Americans
  • Gary Panter, Jimbo's Inferno
  • Jeffrey F. L. Partridge, Beyond Literary Chinatown
  • Judith Roche, Wisdom of the Body
  • Kali VanBaale, The Space Between
  • Moustafa Bayoumi, How Does It Feel to Be a Problem Being Young and Arab in America
  • Douglas A. Blackmon, Slavery by Another Name: The Re-Enslavement of Black Americans from the Civil War to World War II
  • Jonathan Curiel, Al’ America: Travels Through America's Arab and Islamic Roots
  • Nora Marks Dauenhauer, Richard Dauenhauer, and Lydia T. Black. Anóoshi Lingít Aaní Ká. Russians in Tlingit America: The Battles of Sitka, 1802 and 1804
  • Maria Mazziotti Gillan, All That Lies Between Us
  • Nikki Giovanni, The Collected Poetry of Nikki Giovanni: 1968–1998
  • C. S. Giscombe, Prairie Style
  • Angela Jackson, Where I Must Go, a novel
  • L. Luis Lopez, Each Month I Sing
  • Tom Lutz, Doing Nothing: A History of Loafers, Loungers, Slackers, and Bums in America
  • Fae Myenne Ng, Steer Toward Rock
  • Yuko Taniguchi, The Ocean in the Closet
  • Lorenzo Thomas, Don't Deny My Name: Words and Music and the Black Intellectual Tradition, ed. Aldon Lynn Nielsen
  • Frank B. Wilderson III, Incognegro: A Memoir of Exile and Apartheid
  • J. J. Phillips, Lifetime Achievement
  • Houston A. Baker, Jr., Betrayal: How Black Intellectuals Have Abandoned the Ideals of the Civil Right Era
  • Danit Brown, Ask for a Convertible
  • Jericho Brown, Please
  • José Antonio Burciaga, The Last Supper of Chicano Heroes: Selected Works of José Antonio Burciaga, eds Mimi R. Gladstein and Daniel Chacón
  • Claire Hope Cummings, Uncertain Peril: Genetic Engineering and the Future of Seeds
  • Stella Pope Duarte, If I Die in Juarez
  • Linda Gregg, All of It Singing: New and Selected Poems
  • Suheir Hammad, Breaking Poems
  • Richard Holmes, The Age of Wonder
  • George E. Lewis, A Power Stronger than Itself: The A.A.C.M. and American Experimental Music
  • Patricia Santana, Ghosts of El Grullo
  • Jack Spicer, My Vocabulary Did This to Me: The Collected Poetry of Jack Spicer, ed. Peter Gizzi and Kevin Killian
  • Miguel Algarín, Lifetime Achievement

2010 to 2019

  • Amiri Baraka, Digging: The Afro-American Soul of American Classical Music
  • Sherwin Bitsui, Flood Song
  • Nancy Carnevale, A New Language, A New World: Italian Immigrants in the United States, 1890–1945
  • Dave Eggers, Zeitoun
  • Sesshu Foster, World Ball Notebook
  • Stephen D. Gutierrez, Live from Fresno y Los
  • Victor LaValle, The Big Machine
  • François Mandeville, This Is What They Say, translated by Ron Scollon from Chipewyan
  • Bich Minh Nguyen, Short Girls
  • Franklin Rosemont and Robin D. G. Kelley, eds., Black, Brown, & Beige: Surrealist Writings from Africa and the Diaspora
  • Jerome Rothenberg and Jeffrey C. Robinson, eds., Poems for the Millennium: Volume Three: The University of California Book of Romantic and Postromantic Poetry
  • Kathryn Waddell Takara, Pacific Raven: Hawai`i Poems
  • Pamela Uschuk, Crazy Love: New Poems
  • Katha Politt, Lifetime Achievement
  • Quincy Troupe, Lifetime Achievement
  • Keith Gilyard, John Oliver Killens
  • Akbar Ahmed, Journey Into America: The Challenge of Islam
  • Camille Dungy, Suck on the Marrow
  • Karen Tei Yamashita, I Hotel
  • William W. Cook and James Tatum, African American Writers and Classical Tradition
  • Gerald Vizenor, Shrouds of White Earth
  • Eric Gansworth, Extra Indians
  • Ivan Argüelles, The Death of Stalin
  • Geoffrey Alan Argent, ed., The Complete Plays of Jean Racine: Volume 1: The Fratricides, translated by Argent from French
  • Neela Vaswani, You Have Given Me a Country
  • Sasha Pimentel Chacón, Insides She Swallowed
  • Miriam Jiménez Román and Juan Flores, eds., The Afro-Latin@ Reader: History of Culture in the United States
  • Carmen Giménez Smith, Bring Down the Little Birds
  • Luis Valdez, Lifetime Achievement
  • John A. Williams, Lifetime Achievement
  • Annia Ciezadlo, Day of Honey: A Memoir of Food, Love, and War
  • Arlene Kim, What Have You Done to Our Ears to Make Us Hear Echoes?
  • Ed Bok Lee, Whorled
  • Adilifu Nama, Super Black: American Pop Culture and Black Superheroes
  • Rob Nixon, Slow Violence and the Environmentalism of the Poor
  • Shann Ray, American Masculine
  • Alice Rearden, translator; Ann Fienup-Riordan, ed., Qaluyaarmiuni Nunamtenek Qanemciput: Our Nelson Island Stories
  • Touré, Who's Afraid of Post-Blackness? What It Means to Be Black Now
  • Amy Waldman, The Submission
  • Mary Winegarden, The Translator's Sister
  • Kevin Young, Ardency: A Chronicle of the Amistad Rebels
  • Eugene B. Redmond, Lifetime Achievement
  • Will Alexander, Singing In Magnetic Hoofbeat: Essays, Prose, Texts, Interviews, and a Lecture, Essay Press
  • Jacob M. Appel, The Man Who Wouldn't Stand Up, Cargo
  • Philip P. Choy, San Francisco Chinatown: A Guide To Its History & Architecture, City Lights
  • Amanda Coplin, The Orchardist, Harper Collins
  • Natalie Diaz, When My Brother Was An Aztec, Copper Canyon Press
  • Louise Erdrich, The Round House, Harper Collins
  • Alan Gilbert, Black Patriots and Loyalists: Fighting for Emancipation in the War for Independence, University of Chicago
  • Judy Grahn, A Simple Revolution: The Making of an Activist Poet, Aunt Lute Books
  • Joy Harjo, Crazy Brave: A Memoir, W.W. Norton & Co.
  • Demetria Martinez, The Block Captain's Daughter, University of Oklahoma Press
  • Daniel Abdal-Hayy Moore, Blood Songs, The Ecstatic Exchange
  • dg nanouk okpik, Corpse Whale, University of Arizona Press
  • Seth Rosenfeld, Subversives: The FBI's War On Student Radical and Reagan's Rise to Power, Farrar, Straus & Giroux
  • Christopher B. Teuton, Cherokee Stories of the Turtle Island Liar's Club, University of North Carolina
  • Lew Welch, Ring of Bone: Collected Poems, City Lights
  • Ivan Argüelles, Lifetime Achievement
  • Greil Marcus, Lifetime Achievement
  • Floyd Salas, Lifetime Achievement
  • Andrew Bacevich, Breach of Trust: How Americans Failed Their Soldiers and Their Country, Metropolitan Books
  • Joshua Bloom and Waldo E. Martin, Jr., Black Against Empire; The History and Politics of the Black Panther Party, University of California Press
  • Juan Delgado (poetry) and Thomas McGovern (photography), Vital Signs, Heyday Books
  • Alex Espinoza, The Five Acts of Diego León, Random House[11]
  • Jonathan Scott Holloway, Jim Crow Wisdom: Memory and Identity in Black America Since 1940, University of North Carolina Press
  • Joan Naviyuk Kane, Hyperboreal, University of Pittsburgh Press
  • Jamaica Kincaid, See Now Then, Farrar, Straus and Giroux
  • Tanya Olson, Boyishly, YesYes Books
  • Sterling D. Plumpp, Home/Bass, Third World Press
  • Emily Raboteau, Searching For Zion: The Quest for Home in the African Diaspora, Atlantic Monthly Press
  • Jerome Rothenberg with Heriberto Yepez, Eye of Witness: A Jerome Rothenberg Reader, Commonwealth Books
  • Nick Turse, Kill Anything That Moves: The Real American War in Vietnam, Metropolitan Books
  • Margaret Wrinkle, Wash, Atlantic Monthly Press
  • Koon Woon, Water Chasing Water, Kaya Press
  • Armond White, Anti-Censorship Award
  • Michael Parenti, Lifetime Achievement
  • Hisham Aidi, Rebel Music: Race, Empire, and the New Muslim Youth Culture (Vintage)
  • Arlene Biala, her beckoning hands (Word Poetry)
  • Arthur Dong, Forbidden City, USA: Chinese American Nightclubs, 1936-1970 (DeepFocus Productions)
  • Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz, An Indigenous Peoples' History of the United States (Beacon Press)
  • Peter J. Harris, The Black Man of Happiness (Black Man of Happiness Project)
  • Marlon James, A Brief History of Seven Killings (Riverhead Books)
  • Naomi Klein, This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate (Simon & Schuster)
  • Laila Lalami, The Moor's Account (Pantheon)
  • Manuel Luis Martinez, Los Duros (Floricanto Press)
  • Craig Santos Perez, from unincorporated territory [guma’] (Omnidawn)
  • Carlos Santana with Ashley Kahn and Hal Miller, The Universal Tone: Bringing My Story to Light (Little, Brown and Company)
  • Ira Sukrungruang, Southside Buddhist (University of Tampa Press)
  • Astra Taylor, The People's Platform: Taking Back Power and Culture in the Digital Age (Henry Holt)
  • Anne Waldman, Lifetime Achievement


  • Laura Da', Tributaries (University of Arizona)
  • Susan Muaddi Darraj, Curious Land: Stories from Home (University of Massachusetts)
  • Deepa Iyer, We Too Sing America: South Asian, Arab, Muslim, and Sikh Immigrants Shape Our Multicultural Future (The New Press)
  • Mat Johnson, Loving Day (Spiegel & Grau)
  • John Keene, Counternarratives (New Directions)
  • William J. Maxwell, F.B. Eyes: How J. Edgar Hoover's Ghostreaders Framed African American Literature (Princeton University)
  • Lauret Savoy, Trace: Memory, History, Race, and the American Landscape (Counterpoint)
  • Ned Sublette and Constance Sublette, The American Slave Coast: A History of the Slave-Breeding Industry (Lawrence Hill Books)
  • Jesús Salvador Treviño, Return to Arroyo Grande (Arte Público)
  • Nick Turse, Tomorrow's Battlefield: U.S. Proxy Wars and Secret Ops in Africa (Haymarket Books)
  • Ray Young Bear, Manifestation Wolverine: The Collected Poetry of Ray Young Bear (Open Road Integrated Media)
  • Louise Meriwether, Lifetime Achievement
  • Lyra Monteiro and Nancy Isenberg, Walter & Lillian Lowenfels Criticism Award
  • Chiitaanibah Johnson, Andrew Hope Award


  • Rabia Chaudry Adnan's Story: The Search for Truth and Justice After Serial (St. Martin's Press)
  • Flores A. Forbes Invisible Men: A Contemporary Slave Narrative in the Era of Mass Incarceration (Skyhorse Publishing)
  • Yaa Gyasi Homegoing (Knopf)
  • Holly Hughes Passings (Expedition Press)
  • Randa Jarrar Him, Me, Muhammad Ali (Sarabande Books)
  • Bernice L. McFadden The Book of Harlan (Akashic Books)
  • Brian D. McInnes Sounding Thunder: The Stories of Francis Pegahmagabow (Michigan State University Press)
  • Patrick Phillips Blood at the Root: A Racial Cleansing in America (W. W. Norton & Company)
  • Vaughn Rasberry Race and the Totalitarian Century: Geopolitics in the Black Literary Imagination (Harvard University Press)
  • Marc Anthony Richardson Year of the Rat (Fiction Collective Two)
  • Shawna Yang Ryan Green Island (Knopf)
  • Ruth Sergel See You in the Streets: Art, Action, and Remembering the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire (University of Iowa Press)
  • Solmaz Sharif Look (Graywolf Press)
  • Adam Soldofsky Memory Foam (Disorder Press)
  • Alfredo Véa The Mexican Flyboy (University of Oklahoma Press)
  • Dean Wong Seeing the Light: Four Decades in Chinatown (Chin Music Press)
  • Nancy Mercado Lifetime Achievement
  • Ammiel Alcalay Editor/Publisher Award: Lost & Found: The CUNY Poetics Document Initiative

2018 [15]

  • Thi Bui The Best We Could Do: An Illustrated Memoir (Harry N. Abrams)
  • Rachelle Cruz God's Will for Monsters (Inlandia Books)
  • Tommy Curry The Man-Not: Race, Class, Genre, and the Dilemmas of Black Manhood (Temple University Press)
  • Tongo Eisen-Martin Heaven Is All Goodbyes (City Lights)
  • Dana Naone Hall Life of the Land: Articulations of a Native Writer (University of Hawaii)
  • Kelly Lytle Hernández City of Inmates: Conquest, Rebellion, and the Rise of Human Caging in Los Angeles, 1771-1965 (University of North Carolina)
  • Victor LaValle The Changeling: A Novel (Spiegel & Grau)
  • Bojan Louis Currents (BkMk Press)
  • Valeria Luiselli Tell Me How It Ends: An Essay in Forty Questions (Coffee House Press)
  • Cathryn Josefina Merla-Watson and B. V. Olguín Altermundos Latin@ Speculative Literature, Film, and Popular Culture (UCLA Chicano Studies Research Center Press)
  • Tiya Miles The Dawn of Detroit: A Chronicle of Slavery and Freedom in the City of the Straits (The New Press)
  • Tommy Pico Nature Poem (Tin House Books)
  • Rena Priest Patriarchy Blues (MoonPath Press)
  • Joseph Rios Shadowboxing: poems & impersonations (Omnidawn)
  • Sunaura Taylor Beasts of Burden: Animal and Disability Liberation (The New Press)
  • Sequoyah Guess Lifetime Achievement
  • Kellie Jones South of Pico: African American Artists in Los Angeles in the 1960s and 1970s (Duke University Press): Walter & Lillian Lowenfels Criticism Award
  • Charles F. Harris Editor/Publisher Award
  • Rob Rogers Anti-Censorship Award
  • Heroes Are Gang Leaders Oral Literature Award

2019 [16]

  • Frank Abe, Greg Robinson, and Floyd Cheung John Okada: The Life & Rediscovered Work of the Author of No-No Boy (University of Washington Press)
  • May-lee Chai Useful Phrases for Immigrants: Stories (Blair)
  • Louise DeSalvo The House of Early Sorrows: A Memoir in Essays (Fordham University Press)
  • Heid E. Erdrich New Poets of Native Nations (Graywolf Press)
  • Ángel García Teeth Never Sleep: Poems (University of Arkansas Press)
  • Tommy Orange There There (Knopf)
  • Halifu Osumare Dancing in Blackness: A Memoir (University Press of Florida)
  • Christopher Patton Unlikeness Is Us: Fourteen from the Exeter Book (Gaspereau Press)
  • Mark Sarvas Memento Park: A Novel (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)
  • Jeffrey C. Stewart The New Negro: The Life of Alain Locke (Oxford University Press)
  • William T. Vollmann Carbon Ideologies: Volume I, No Immediate Danger, Volume II, No Good Alternative (Viking Press|Viking)
  • G. Willow Wilson and Nico Leon Ms. Marvel Vol. 9: Teenage Wasteland (Marvel Comics)
  • Nathan Hare Lifetime Achievement Award
  • UCLA Chicano Studies Research Center Editor/Publisher Award
  • Moor Mother Oral Literature Award

2020 to present


  • Reginald Dwayne Betts, Felon: Poems (W.W. Norton)
  • Sara Borjas, Heart Like a Window, Mouth Like a Cliff (Noemi Press)
  • Neeli Cherkovski, Raymond Foye, Tate Swindell, editors, Collected Poems of Bob Kaufman (City Lights)
  • Staceyann Chin, Crossfire: A Litany for Survival (Haymarket)
  • Kali Fajardo-Anstine, Sabrina & Corina: Stories (One World)
  • Tara Fickle, The Race Card: From Gaming Technologies to Model Minorities (New York University Press)
  • Erika Lee, America for Americans: A History of Xenophobia in the United States (Basic Books)
  • Yoko Ogawa, The Memory Police (Pantheon)
  • Jake Skeets, Eyes Bottle Dark with a Mouthful of Flowers (Milkweed Editions)
  • George Takei, Justin Eisinger, Steven Scott, and Harmony Becker, They Called Us Enemy (Top Shelf Productions)
  • Ocean Vuong, On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous (Penguin)
  • De'Shawn Charles Winslow, In West Mills (Bloomsbury Publishing)
  • Albert Woodfox with Leslie George, Solitary: My Story of Transformation and Hope (Grove Press)
  • Lifetime Achievement: Eleanor W. Traylor
  • Editor Award: The Panopticon Review, Kofi Natambu, editor
  • Publisher Award: Commune Editions, Jasper Bernes, Joshua Clover, and Juliana Spahr, editors
  • Oral Literature Award: Amalia Leticia Ortiz
  • Walter & Lillian Lowenfels Criticism Award: Appalachian Reckoning: A Region Responds to Hillbilly Elegy, edited by Anthony Harkins and Meredith McCarroll


  • Ayad Akhtar, Homeland Elegies (Little, Brown & Co.)
  • Maisy Card, These Ghosts Are Family (Simon & Schuster)
  • Anthony Cody, Borderland Apocrypha (Omnidawn Press)
  • Ben Ehrenreich, Desert Notebooks: A Road Map for the End of Time (Counterpoint)
  • Johanna Fernández, The Young Lords: A Radical History (University of North Carolina Press)
  • Carolyn Forché, In the Lateness of the World: Poems (Penguin Press)
  • John Giorno, Great Demon Kings: A Memoir of Poetry, Sex, Art, Death, and Enlightenment (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)
  • Cathy Park Hong, Minor Feelings: An Asian American Reckoning (One World)
  • Randall Horton, {#289-128}: Poems (University of Kentucky)
  • Gerald Horne, The Dawning of the Apocalypse: The Roots of Slavery, White Supremacy, Settler Colonialism, and Capitalism in the Long Sixteenth Century (Monthly Review Press)
  • Robert P. Jones, White Too Long: The Legacy of White Supremacy in American Christianity (Simon & Schuster)
  • Judy Juanita, Manhattan my ass, you’re in Oakland (Equidistance Press)
  • William Melvin Kelley (author), Aiki Kelley (illustrator), Dunfords Travels Everywheres (Anchor Books)
  • Lifetime Achievement: Maryemma Graham
  • Walter & Lillian Lowenfels Criticism Award: Everything Man: The Form and Function of Paul Robeson, by Shana Redmond
  • Anti-Censorship Award: Separated: Inside an American Tragedy, by Jacob Soboroff


  • Spencer Ackerman, Reign of Terror: How the 9/11 Era Destabilized America and Produced Trump (Viking)
  • Esther G. Belin, Jeff Burgland, Connie A. Jacobs, Anthony K. Webster, editors, The Diné Reader: An Anthology of Navajo Literature (University of Arizona Press)
  • Emma Brodie, Songs in Ursa Major (Knopf)
  • Daphne Brooks, Liner Notes for the Revolution: The Intellectual Life of Black Feminist Sound (Harvard University Press)
  • Myriam J. A. Chancy, What Storm, What Thunder (Tin House Books)
  • Francisco Goldman, Monkey Boy (Grove Press)
  • Zakiya Dalila Harris, The Other Black Girl: A Novel (Atria Books)
  • Fatima Shaik, Economy Hall: The Hidden History of a Free Black Brotherhood (The Historic New Orleans Collection)
  • Edwin Torres, Quanundrum: [i will be your many angled thing] (Roof Books)
  • Truong Tran, Book of the Other: Small in Comparison (Kaya Press)
  • Mai Der Vang, Yellow Rain (Graywolf Press)
  • Phillip B. Williams, Mutiny (Penguin Books)
  • Michelle Zauner, Crying in H Mart: A Memoir (Knopf)
  • Lifetime Achievement: Gayl Jones
  • Walter & Lillian Lowenfels Criticism Award: Sound Recording Technology and American Literature, by Jessica E. Teague
  • Anti-Censorship Award: Jeffrey St. Clair
  • Editor/Publisher Award: Wave Books: Charlie Wright (Publisher) / Joshua Beckman (Editor in Chief)


  1. "For Immediate Release:" (August 5, 2010). Before Columbus Foundation. Retrieved February 17, 2012. Archived July 13, 2014, at the Wayback Machine
  2. "Previous Winners of the American Book Award" (PDF). Before Columbus Foundation. 2002. Retrieved September 13, 2014.
  3. "About". Before Columbus Foundation. Retrieved September 13, 2014.
  4. "American Book Awards". Before Columbus Foundation. Archived from the original on September 13, 2014. Retrieved September 13, 2014.
  5. "History Of The National Book Awards". National Book Foundation. Retrieved February 17, 2012.
  6. American Booksellers Association (2013). "The American Book Awards / Before Columbus Foundation [1980–2013]". BookWeb. Archived from the original on March 13, 2013. Retrieved September 25, 2013.
    The Booksellers presentation begins with unattributed quotation from the Awards press release, a primary source used here.
  7. "The Before Columbus Foundation announces the American Book Awards" (Index to lists of winners through 2006). Alaska Native Knowledge Network ( Retrieved July 7, 2012.
  8. "Winners of the 2011 American Book Awards" Archived May 8, 2012, at the Wayback Machine. Before Columbus Foundation. Retrieved July 7, 2012.
  9. "The Before Columbus Foundation announces the ... {2013 winners}". Before Columbus Foundation. Press release September 19, 2013. Retrieved October 16, 2013. Archived December 4, 2013, at the Wayback Machine
  10. "(For Immediate Release) ... Winners of the Thirty-Fifth Annual American Book Awards" (PDF). Before Columbus Foundation. August 18, 2014. Retrieved September 7, 2014.
  11. "Alex Espinoza Wins American Book Award". Retrieved July 23, 2022.
  12. "(For Immediate Release) ... Winners of the Thirty-Sixth Annual American Book Awards". Before Columbus Foundation. July 20, 2015. Retrieved September 7, 2015.
  13. "For Immediate Release: The Before Columbus Foundation announces the Winners of the Thirty-Seventh Annual American Book Awards" (PDF). August 12, 2016.
  14. "For Immediate Release: The Before Columbus Foundation announces the Winners of the Thirty-Eighth Annual American Book Awards" (PDF). August 4, 2017.
  15. "For Immediate Release: The Before Columbus Foundation announces the Winners of the Thirty-Ninth Annual American Book Awards" (PDF). August 13, 2018.
  16. "For Immediate Release: The Before Columbus Foundation announces the Winners of the Fortieth Annual American Book Awards" (PDF). August 19, 2019.
  17. Before Columbus Foundation. "The Before Columbus Foundation announces the winners of the Forty-first Annual AMERICAN BOOK AWARDS" (PDF). Before Columbus Foundation. Retrieved September 20, 2020.
  18. Before Columbus Foundation. "The Before Columbus Foundation announces the winners of the Forty-Second Annual AMERICAN BOOK AWARDS". Before Columbus Foundation. Archived from the original on August 28, 2021. Retrieved August 28, 2021.
  19. Before Columbus Foundation. "The Before Columbus Foundation announces the winners of the Forty-Third Annual AMERICAN BOOK AWARDS". Before Columbus Foundation. Archived from the original on September 8, 2022. Retrieved September 8, 2022.
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