In 2019, Shihab Nye became the first Arab American to be named the Young People’s Poet Laureate.
In the more necessary than ever good-news department, Texas books, authors, and illustrators continue to win. A roundup of recent awards includes:
The Ezra Jack Keats Awards recognize a writer and illustrator "early in their careers for having created an extraordinary children's book that reflects the diverse nature of our culture." The winners receive a bronze medallion and an honorarium of $3,000. The awards are presented by the Ezra Jack Keats Foundation, in partnership with the de Grummond Children's Literature Collection at the University of Southern Mississippi. El Paso’s Zeke Peña won an Illustrator Honor for My Papi Has a Motorcycle (Kokila/PRH), written by Isabel Quintero.
The 2020 Spur Awards were announced. WWA promotes and honors the best in Western literature with the annual Spur Awards. The awards, for material published last year, are selected by a panel of judges and given for works whose “inspiration, image, and literary excellence best represent the reality and spirit of the American West.” The Mass-Market Paperback Novel Winner for 2020 is Hawke’s Target (Pinnacle) by Reavis Z. Wortham, writing from an undisclosed location in northeast Texas.
The 2019 National Book Critics Circle Awards named Sarah M. Broom’s memoir, The Yellow House (Grove), the recipient of the John Leonard Prize, recognizing an outstanding first book in any genre. Broom received her undergraduate degree in anthropology and mass communications from the University of North Texas.
The recipient of the NBCC Ivan Sandrof Lifetime Achievement Award is Naomi Shihab Nye (read our Lone Star Lit interview with Shihab Nye here). Shihab Nye was born in St. Louis, Missouri, in 1952, the daughter of a Palestinian refugee father and an American mother, and raised in Jerusalem and San Antonio, Texas. She is a poet, novelist, and songwriter who has dedicated her career to teaching poetry, advocating for peace across the world, and fighting discrimination against Arab Americans. Her books include Different Ways to Pray (1980), Hugging the Jukebox (1982), Red Suitcase (1994), and The Tiny Journalist (2019) (read our Lone Star Lit review here). In 2019, Shihab Nye became the first Arab American to be named the Young People’s Poet Laureate. She lives in San Antonio.
Finalists for the Triangle Publishing Awards were announced, and Eileen Myles will receive the Bill Whitehead Award for Lifetime Achievement. Myles is the author of twenty-one books, including, most recently, evolution, a collection of poems, and Afterglow / a dog memoir, which was a finalist for the Judy Grahn Award for Lesbian Nonfiction in 2018. Myles lives in New York City and Marfa, Texas.
Jia Tolentino has won the 2020 Whiting Award in Nonfiction for Trick Mirror: Reflections on Self-Delusion (Random House). She is a staff writer at The New Yorker, formerly the deputy editor at Jezebel and a contributing editor at The Hairpin. Tolentino grew up in Houston. Trick Mirror was a New York Times bestseller.
For more information on the Audio Publishers Association, go here; for the Ezra Jack Keats Foundation, go here; for the Western Writers of America, go here; for the National Book Critics Circle, go here; for the Publishing Triangle, an association of LGBTQ people in publishing, go here ; for the Whiting Awards, go here.