American Book Awards

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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]

The Award is administered by the Before Columbus Foundation, which established it in 1978 and inaugurated it in 1980, recognizing a list of eight 1979 publications.[citation needed] Almost every Award recognizes a particular work by an American author[citation needed][clarification needed] without restriction to race, sex, ethnic background, or genre. In 2000 there were two Lifetime Achievement awards, one Editor award, and one Journalism award. There have been several subsequent awards for lifetime achievement and a few to editors.[2]

Current rendition[edit]

The 34th annual American Book Awards were announced September 19, 2013, and they will be presented November 23 at the Miami Book Fair International on the Miami Dade College campus.[3]

  • Will Alexander, Singing In Magnetic Hoofbeat: Essays, Prose, Texts, Interviews, and a Lecture, Essay Press
  • 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
  • D. G. 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

Lifetime Achievement: Ivan Argüelles

Lifetime Achievement: Greil Marcus

Lifetime Achievement: Floyd Salas

Other ABA[edit]

For seven years 1980 to 1986, there were two distinct sets of American Book Awards. The other is now officially one stage of the National Book Awards (NBA) history.

The National Book Foundation is responsible for the National Book Awards (U.S.) from 1989 and officially recognizes a continuous NBA history from 1949/1950. Part of that history is those so-called American Book Awards that formally replaced the National Book Awards after their 1979/1980 cycle, were revamped for 1984, and were renamed "National" in 1987.[4]

The American Book Award is also unrelated to the American Booksellers Association (ABA), although that organization maintains a complete list of award winners that is readily available.[2] Since the 1970s that trade group is also unrelated to the National Book Awards, which it established in 1936 and jointly re-established them as book industry awards in 1950.


1980 to 1989[edit]


1990 to 1999[edit]


Children' s Book Award: Chiori Santiago, author, and Judith Lowry, illustrator, Home to Medicine Mountain[2]

2000 to 2009[edit]


Editor/Publisher: Ronald Sukenick[2]

Journalism: Jack E. White[2]

Lifetime Achievement: Frank Chin[2]

Lifetime Achievement: Robert Creeley[2]


Editor/Publisher Award: Malcolm Margolin[2]

Lifetime Achievement: Ted Joans[2]

Lifetime Achievement: Tillie Olsen[2]

Lifetime Achievement: Philip Whalen[2]


Children's Book: Jessel Miller, Angels in the Vineyards

Lifetime Achievement: Lerone Bennett

Lifetime Achievement: Jack Hirschman


Editor: Max Rodriguez, QBR: The Black Book Review (


Journalism: Bill Berkowitz


Editor: Chris Hamilton-Emery, Salt Publishing Ltd.

Lifetime Achievement: Jay Wright


Lifetime Achievement: J. J. Phillips


Lifetime Achievement: Miguel Algarín

2010 to date[edit]


Lifetime Achievement: Katha Politt

Lifetime Achievement: Quincy Troupe


Lifetime Achievement: Luis Valdez

Lifetime Achievement: John A. Williams


Lifetime Achievement: Eugene B. Redmond


  1. ^ "For Immediate Release:" (August 5, 2010). Before Columbus Foundation. Retrieved February 17, 2012.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n 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.
  3. ^ "The Before Columbus Foundation announces the ... {2013 winners}". Before Columbus Foundation. Press release September 19, 2013. Retrieved October 16, 2013.
  4. ^ "History Of The National Book Awards". National Book Foundation. Retrieved February 17, 2012.
  5. ^ a b c d e "... The American Book Awards" (Index to lists of winners through 2006). Retrieved July 7, 2012.
  6. ^ "Winners of the 2011 American Book Awards". Before Columbus Foundation. Retrieved July 7, 2012.