George Takei, Ocean Vuong win American Book Awards

NEW YORK (AP) —

Fiction by Ocean Vuong and Yoko Ogawa, a prison memoir by Alfred Woodfox and a graphic memoir based on actor George Takei’s childhood in a U.S. internment camp for Japanese Americans are the among the winners of the 41st annual American Book Awards.

The awards were announced Monday by the Before Columbus Foundation, which champions diversity in literature.

Vuong was cited for his novel “On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous” and Ogawa for “The Memory Police,” a National Book Award finalist last fall for best translated book (Stephen Snyder translated the novel from the Japanese). Takei worked with writers Justin Eisinger and Steven Scott and illustrator Harmony Scott on “They Called Us Enemy,” in which he remembers being forced into a camp at age 4, during World War II

Others books honored Monday included Woodfox’s “Solitary,” a National Book Award finalist for nonfiction; Reginald Dwayne Betts’ poetry collection “Felon”; Kali Fajardo-Anstine’s story collection, “Sabrina & Corina,” a National Book Award finalist for fiction; and Erika Lee’s “America for Americans: A History of Xenophobia in the United States.”

Eleanor W. Traylor, a scholar of African American literature, received a lifetime achievement honor. Kofi Natambu of The Panopticon Review was given an editor award, and performance poet Amalia Leticia Ortiz was cited for contributions to oral literature.

The winners will be formally recognized during an online ceremony Oct. 25.

The Before Columbus Foundation, “dedicated to the promotion and dissemination of contemporary American multicultural literature,” was founded by Ishmael Reed in 1976.

Copyright © 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or redistributed.

Like WTOP on Facebook and follow @WTOP on Twitter to engage in conversation about this article and others.

Get breaking news and daily headlines delivered to your email inbox by signing up here.

© 2020 WTOP. All Rights Reserved. This website is not intended for users located within the European Economic Area.

More from WTOP

Log in to your WTOP account for notifications and alerts customized for you.

Sign up