The Hurston/Wright Legacy Awards

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The Hurston/Wright Legacy Awards

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Aug 16, 2012, 12:24 pm

"The Hurston/Wright Legacy Award is the first national award presented to published writers of African descent by the national community of Black writers. This award consists of prizes for the highest quality writing in the categories of Fiction, Nonfiction, Poetry."

The annual awards were first announced in 2006; I'll post the nominees and winning books in the next few days. First though, the 2012 nominees have been announced:

Crossbones by Nuruddin Farah
Silver Sparrow by Tayari Jones
Mr. Fox by Helen Oyeyemi
You Are Free: Stories by Danzy Senna
Salvage the Bones by Jessmyn Ward (winner of the 2011 National Book Award for Fiction)
Zone One by Colson Whitehead

Kingdom Animalia (American Poets Continuum) by Aracelis Girmay
The new black (Wesleyan Poetry Series) by Evie Shockley
Life on Mars: Poems by Tracy K. Smith (winner of the 2012 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry)

Courage to Dissent: Atlanta and the Long History of the Civil Rights Movement by Tomiko Brown-Nagin
Sister Citizen: Shame, Stereotypes, and Black Women in America by Melissa V. Harris-Perry
Harlem is Nowhere: A Journey to the Mecca of Black America by Sharifa Rhodes-Pitts (finalist for the 2011 National Book Critics Circle Award in Autobiography, and shortlisted for the 2012 Dolman Best Travel Book Award (UK))
One Day I Will Write About This Place: A Memoir by Binyavanga Wainaina
My Long Trip Home: A Family Memoir by Mark Whitaker

I've only read Salvage the Bones and Harlem Is Nowhere so far. I own Zone One, Life on Mars and One Day I Will Write About This Place. If possible I'd like to read all of these books by the end of the year, or by early 2013 at the latest, and I intend to follow this award more closely in coming years. I'd love to hear from those of you who have read these books, and I'd encourage you to post reviews of them, along with the nominees and finalists from past years, in this thread.

Aug 17, 2012, 1:44 pm

I've read Mr. Fox and Zone One. I liked some parts of Mr. Fox more than others; ultimately I didn't find it a very satisfying read. As I recall, I thought Oyeyemi's early theme seemed to be violence against women in literature, but then the story seemed to go in other, less interesting places. Zone One got off to a bit of a slow start, but by the end I LOVED it. I'll repost my review:

Yes: a literary novel about zombies. For the first chunk of the book, it seems a bit too literary, with the rare action scene interrupted by flashbacks and soul-searching digressions. (And if our hero is so "mediocre," why does his story require complicated prose and ten-dollar words?) But I loved the world-building (well, world-destroying and world-rebuilding) and sly humor, and there are some wonderful characters. So for a while I appreciated the story as literary entertainment. But as I got deeper in, it made me think and feel--and fear--more. And by the end, this novel forced me to look at the world, and think about the future. Scary stuff, for real. 4.5 stars