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Alex Espinoza wins an American Book Award


A shout-out to Alex Espinoza, a Fresno State English professor, whose book “The Five Acts of Diego León” is one of the winners of the 35th annual American Book Awards.

The awards are given by the Before Columbus Foundation, a nonprofit founded by author-playwright Ishmael Reed. Here’s how they’re chosen:

The American Book Awards were created to provide recognition for outstanding literary achievement from the entire spectrum of America’s diverse literary community. The purpose of the awards is to recognize literary excellence without limitations or restrictions. There are no categories, no nominees, and therefore no losers. The award winners range from well-known and established writers to under-recognized authors and first works. There are no quotas for diversity, the winners list simply reflects it as a natural process. The Before Columbus Foundation views American culture as inclusive and has always considered the term “multicultural” to be not a description of various categories, groups, or “special interests,” but rather as the definition of all of American literature. The Awards are not bestowed by an industry organization, but rather are a writers’ award given by other writers.

Fourteen books were awarded this year, including Jamaica Kincaid’s “See Now Then.” Espinoza will get to pick up his award Oct. 26 in San Francisco. (Take pictures and send them to the Beehive, OK?)

After the jump: a list of this year’s winners.

Andrew Bacevich: Breach of Trust: How Americans Failed Their Soldiers and Their Country, Metropolitan Books

Joshua Bloom and Waldo E. Martin: 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

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, Strauss 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

Anti-Censorship Award: Armond White

Lifetime Achievement: Michael Parenti

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