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The 2013 National Book Awards Finalists to be Announced

On October 16th The National Book Foundation will announce its 2013 National Book Awards Finalists. The Finalist categories will consist of five books each from the genres of Young People's Literature, Poetry, Nonfiction, and Fiction selected by a panel of expert judges, culled from the Longlists of ten books. Several of the titles from the Longlist are shown above. Read the Entire Press Release

BCALA Literary Awards Winners - 2013

The Black Caucus of the American Library Association, Inc. (BCALA) announced the winners of the 2013 BCALA Literary Awards during the Midwinter Meeting of the American Library Association in Seattle, WA.
The awards recognize excellence in adult fiction and nonfiction by African American authors published in 2012, including an award for Best Poetry and a citation for Outstanding Contribution to Publishing. The authors received their awards on June 30th during the Annual Conference of the American Library Association in Chicago, IL. See the full list of award winning titles.

Non-Fiction Book Reviews


The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross

Co-written by Harvard’s Dr. Henry Louis Gates and Dr. Donald Yacovone, the book is basically a companion piece to the 6-part television series of the same name that’s set to premiere on PBS on October 22nd. But this relatively-encyclopedic opus has been afforded the luxury of being able to explore the same subject-matter in much greater depth.
Arranged chronologically, it starts with a chapter covering the period from 1500-1540 when Africans first arrived in the so-called New World. Next comes the period during which skin color-coded slavery became institutionalized, followed by 1700-1811, which the authors dub “The Age of Revolutions.”

The Rejected Stone: Al Sharpton and the Path to American Leadership

As interesting as Rev’s sage advice is, his personal anecdotes are even more interesting. He’s ostensibly rubbed shoulders with folks from every station in life. And like a black Forest Gump, the peripatetic Sharpton has not only managed to land at the center of many an historic moment, but he even has a knack for summarizing the event in “Life is like a box of chocolates” fashion.
For example, he talks about having to pinch himself while attending President Obama’s inauguration earlier this year, when he realized that he was sitting up on the same platform with Congress, the Cabinet, the Supreme Court and luminaries like Jay-Z and Beyonce’. Not bad for a poor kid from Brooklyn whose father abandoned the family when Al was just 9. (Cash Money Content, October 8, 2013)

Some of My Best Friends: A White Woman’s Journey into Racial Profiling

Jane Critchlow is a gray-haired, white woman who was affected enough by the Trayvon Martin shooting to want to do something about it. As a photography professor, her most effective tool would naturally be a camera.
But despite being very liberal, she had to admit to herself that she had developed a certain fear of young black men. To challenge herself, she decided to roam around the streets of her native Cleveland and approach African-American males wearing hoodies for permission to take their portraits. If they agreed, she would also ask afterwards if she could snap a selfie of the two of them together.

Authors You Should Know


Lynn Nottage

Lynn Nottage is the recipient of the 2010 Steinberg Distinguished Playwright Award, the Dramatists Guild Hull-Warriner Award, the inaugural Horton Foote Prize for Outstanding New American Play (Ruined), Helen Hayes Award (Ruined), the Lee Reynolds Award, and the Jewish World Watch iWitness Award. Her other honors include the 2007 MacArthur Foundation “Genius Grant,” the National Black Theatre Festival’s August Wilson Playwriting Award, the 2005 Guggenheim Grant for Playwriting, the 2004 PEN/Laura Pels Award for Drama, as well as fellowships from the Lucille Lortel Foundation, Manhattan Theatre Club, New Dramatists and New York Foundation for the Arts. She is a graduate of Brown University and the Yale School of Drama, where she is currently a visiting lecturer.

Wil Haygood

A Guggenheim and National Endowment for the Humanities fellow and a writer for the Washington Post, Wil Haygood has been described as a cultural historian. He is the author of a trio of iconic biographies. His King of the Cats: The Life and Times of Adam Clayton Powell, Jr., told the story of the enigmatic New York congressman and was named a New York Times Notable Book of the Year. That was followed—after publication of a family memoir—by In Black and White: The Life of Sammy Davis, Jr., which was awarded the ASCAP Deems Taylor Music Biography Award, the Zora Neale Hurston-Richard Wright Legacy Award, and the Nonfiction Book of the Year Award from the Black Caucus of the American Library Association. In 2009, he wrote Sweet Thunder: The Life and Times of Sugar Ray Robinson, which told the story of the famed New York pugilist known as much for his prowess in the ring as his elegant style outside of it. Haygood is an associate producer of Lee Daniels’ The Butler.
*** Recommendations


Mothership: Tales from Afrofuturism and Beyond

Mothership: Tales from Afrofuturism and Beyond sets a bold new course by showcasing work from some of the most talented writers inside and outside of speculative fiction. These authors in this anthology (including Junot Diaz, Lauren Beukes, Victor LaValle, N.K. Jemisin, S.P. Somtow, Tobias Buckell, and more) have earned such honors as the Pulitzer Prize, the American Book Award, the Hugo, the Nebula, and the Bram Stoker, among others. They have garnered numerous accolades and have sold millions of copies around the world. Many of their names are likely to be new to you; Mothership is your invitation to get acquainted with them and their incredible writing. (Rosarium Publishing, Oct. 13, 2013)

Miss Anne in Harlem: The White Women of the Black Renaissance

New York City in the Jazz Age was host to a pulsating artistic and social revolution. Uptown, an unprecedented explosion in black music, literature, dance, and art sparked the Harlem Renaissance. While the history of this African-American awakening has been widely explored, one chapter remains untold: the story of a group of women collectively dubbed “Miss Anne.”
Sexualized and sensationalized in the mainstream press—portrayed as monstrous or insane—Miss Anne was sometimes derided within her chosen community of Harlem as well. While it was socially acceptable for white men to head uptown for “exotic” dancers and “hot” jazz, white women who were enthralled by life on West 125th Street took chances. Miss Anne in Harlem introduces these women—many from New York's wealthiest social echelons—who became patrons of, and romantic participants in, the Harlem Renaissance. (Harper, September 10, 2013)

The Best American Nonrequired Reading 2013

Edited Dave Eggers, The Best American Nonrequired Reading is a selection of some of the best writing from an eclectic group of contributors writing fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and comics, published in American periodicals during 2012. The material is aimed at readers fifteen years of age and older.
Walter Mosley is the guest editor of the wonderfully diverse and interesting volume. Mosley also provide an introduction to this volume which includes the work of a wide range of writers and is a great way to discover a talented author. (Mariner Books October 8, 2013)

“Just as a black star is an all-consuming presence at the center of the galaxy, our goal at is to become a central voice in the world of black media. The mission of is to bring premium quality content to the digital media space from the lens of the global African Diaspora, especially within the United States, the Caribbean, Latin America, Europe and Africa.” —Neil Nelson, Founder Atlanta Black Star

Most Wanted

Nikki Turner, the Queen of Hip-hop Fiction, teams up with bestselling author Kiki Swinson giving you two twisted tales for the price of one.
On Da Run by Turner tells the story of Peaches Brown who never had to hustle to beat the streets, thanks to her protective father. Now, to escape an unjust murder charge she has to hide—and survive—in plain sight. But can her new identity hold up when staying alive means playing the top dealer for all he’s got…
Swinson's story, The Most Wanted Diamonds, is about Gigi Costner whose ex-con, ex-lover swears to make her pay for the multimillion-dollar stash of diamonds she stole as she ditched him for a new life as a suburban wife…
It is important that the school curriculae be representative of the diversity of the American student population. Integrating African American Literature in the Library and Classroom by by Dorothy Littlejohn Guthrie is designed to help teachers and librarians achieve that goal. The book recommends and annotates more than 200 titles that touch on African American life from slavery through the present time, most of them by black authors, and many of them winners of the Coretta Scott King, Caldecott, and/or Newbery awards. (Libraries Unlimited, September 14, 2011)

Related Articles


Share Info from Indie Black Owned Websites

Huria Search was created in reaction to the current trend in search results that favor deep pocketed advertisers and large corporations over independent websites. While this trend affects all independent websites, the impact on Black websites is more severe. As a result, some of the best content generated for and by the Black community is buried too deep in traditional search results to be easily discovered.
Today, not only can you discover great content from independent websites more easily, you can help others do the same, with a growing set of databases and tools from Huria Search.

Interviews With Notable People


Ja Rule — The “I’m in Love with a Church Girl” Interview

Born in Hollis, Queens on February 29, 1976, Jeffrey “Ja Rule” Atkins began rapping professionally while still in his teens, although he really made a big splash in 1999 with the release of “Venni Vetti Vecci.” That solo album went platinum on the strength of the single “Holla Holla,” thereby kick-starting an enviable musical career which has produced a half-dozen more studio lps while netting the popular hip-hop artist four Grammy nominations and counting.
Here, Ja talks about his new film, I’m in Love with a Church Girl, a faith-based tale of redemption chronicling the real-life reformation of drug dealer-turned-pastor Galley Molina.

Steve McQueen The “12 Years a Slave” Interview

Artist and filmmaker Steven Rodney McQueen III was born in London on October 9, 1969. His critically-acclaimed directorial debut,Hunger, won the Camera d‘Or at the 2008 Cannes Film Festival. He followed that up with the incendiary offering Shame, a well-received, thought-provoking drama about addiction and secrecy in the modern world.
Steve and his wife, cultural critic Bianca Stigter, live and work in Amsterdam which is where they are raising their son, Dexter, and daughter, Alex. Here, he talks about his latest film, 12 Years a Slave, which recently won the People‘s Choice Awards for Best Film and Best Director at the Toronto Film Festival.

Bridget Davis - “Pocono Mountain Film Festival” Interview

Kam: Hi Bridget, thanks for the interview and congrats on your hosting the Pocono Film Festival for its 11th year. How did a sister from Harlem end up in the Pocono mountains?
Bridget Davis: After witnessing all of the lives lost while growing up in Harlem to drugs and street violence, I was determined to make a positive difference in my community. After having two children with two men who did not share my same family values, I went to college and studied science with the goal of becoming a Registered Nurse. As an R.N., I would become financially independent. I would not have to depend on any man to decide the outcome of our lives.

Film Reviews


Captain Phillips

Curiously, this movie repeatedly makes the presumably politically-correct point of reminding us that these madmen are not Muslim terrorists, but without offering much of a hint as to their motivations besides money. Nevertheless, Tom Hanks does bring his A-game here, even if he’s cooped-up in close quarters acting opposite a B-support cast for the bulk of the picture.
Unfortunately, his one-note abductors are painted as soulless, primitive natives right out of a typical Tarzan flick. Sure, the blood-lust payoff is bigger when the bad guys are the frightening embodiment of pure evil with no redeeming qualities. Yet, this production would’ve benefited immeasurably from just a little development of the villains’ characters.

Baggage Claim

Written and directed by David E. Talbert, Baggage Claim is a fairly-transparent soap opera which tends to telegraph its every punch. Thanks to the intermittent comic relief coming courtesy of the irreverent Greek chorus comprised of flamboyantly gay Sam and boy crazy Gail, this exercise in the obvious is nevertheless a lot of fun to watch. It also helps immeasurably that the protagonist and her hunky suitors are so easy on the eyes.
A pleasant, if predictable, romantic comedy trading in the same sort of moralizing and colorful characters of a typical Tyler Perry production. The only thing missing is a sassy, self-righteous, pistol-packing granny in a dress.


Hoop Dreams Documentary Chronicles Jeremy Lin’s Transformation into an Overnight NBA Sensation Jeremy Lin came very close to abandoning his lifelong dream of playing in the NBA after a couple of unremarkable seasons spent mostly in the developmental league as an undrafted free agent. He had been released by both Golden State and Houston after brief stints, but was picked up by the New York Knicks in December of 2011 when the team was suddenly in need of a backup point guard due to an injury.
Still, at fourth on the depth chart, it looked very unlikely that Lin would ever get to play except during garbage time when the outcome of a contest was no longer in doubt. But he did get a chance in a February 4th game against the then New Jersey Nets where he made the most of the opportunity, scoring a surprising 25 points, grabbing 5 rebounds and making 7 assists.

Blue Caprice

If you’re interested in understanding what motivated the two madmen behind the bloody spree, then Blue Caprice is designed with you in mind. Directed by Parisian Alexandre Moors, the movie co-stars Isaiah Washington and Tequan Richmond as John Allen Muhammad and Lee Boyd Malvo, respectively.
Early on, we learn that the former was an ex-Marine who stopped the latter from drowning himself down in Antigua, then adopted the suicidal teen and brought him back to the States. The two subsequently dropped anchor in Tacoma where the Svengali-like taskmaster introduced his malleable protégé to military type training, including the use of guns.

Winnie Mandela

Winnie Mandela (Jennifer Hudson) is a controversial figure in the annals of South African history. For not only was she the first wife of freedom fighter-turned-President Nelson Mandela (Terrence Howard), but she was also convicted of ordering numerous human rights violations.
As for the acting, Jennifer Hudson and Terrence Howard do their best to adopt appropriate accents, but they both sound fake since they’re surrounded by a cast comprised of actual South Africans. The production’s most glaring flaw, nevertheless, is that the poorly-scripted screenplay simply fails to give the audience much of a reason to invest in unlikable Winnie’s life story.

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