Georgia Writers (GW) has announced the winners and finalists of the 58th annual Georgia Author of the Year Awards.
According to the organization, this year’s winners and finalists were selected from 113 nominees in 14 categories.
Winner: Overnight Code: The Life of Raye Montague, the Woman Who Revolutionized Naval Engineering by Paige Bowers & David Montague
Finalist: The Music and Mythocracy of Col. Bruce Hampton: A Basically True Biography by Jerry Grillo
Winner: We Are All Under One Wide Sky by Deborah Wiles, Illustrated by Andrea Stegmaier
Finalist: I Can Help by Reem Faruqi, Illustrated by Mikela Prevost
Winner: Cheryl Day’s Treasury of Southern Baking by Cheryl Day
Finalist: Y’all Come Over: Charming Your Guests with New Recipes, Heirloom Treasures, and True Southern Hospitality by Rebecca Lang
Winner: A Fire in the Night by Christopher Swann
Finalist: While Justice Sleeps by Stacey Abrams
Winner: Chronicling Stankonia: The Rise of the Hip-Hop South by Regina N. Bradley
Finalist: Wild Spectacle: Seeking Wonders in a World Beyond Humans by Janisse Ray
Winner: The Parted Earth by Anjali Enjeti
Finalist: All Her Little Secrets by Wanda M. Morris
Winner: Peachtree Corners, Georgia: The History of an Innovative and Remarkable City, 1777-2020 by Carole Townsend
Finalist: Lighthouses of the Georgia Coast by William Rawlings
Honorable Mention: Seen/Unseen: Hidden Lives in a Community of Enslaved Georgians by Christopher R. Lawton, Laura E. Nelson, and Randy L. Reid
Winner: Carry On: Reflections for a New Generation by John Lewis
Finalist: Eavesdropping on the Most Segregated Hour: A City’s Clergy Reflect on Racial Reconciliation edited by Andrew M. Manis and Sandy Dwayne Martin
Winner: Midnight Atlanta by Thomas Mullen
Finalist: Song of the Horseman by Mark Warren
Winner: Shoutin’ in the Fire: An American Epistle by Danté Stewart
Finalist: The Secret Life of Dorothy Soames by Justine Cowan
Winner: Still, No Grace by A. Prevett
Finalist: Demoted Planet by Katherine Fallon
POETRY FULL-LENGTH BOOK
Winner: Gumbo Ya Ya by Aurielle Marie
Finalist: Saint Agnostica by Anya Krugovoy Silver
Winner: The Invisible Husband of Frick Island by Colleen Oakley
Finalist: The Break-Up Book Club by Wendy Wax
Winner: The Bronzed Beasts by Roshani Chokshi
Finalist: Fast Pitch by Nic Stone
LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD: Clarence Major
Clarence Major is a novelist, poet, and painter. Born in Atlanta, he grew up in Chicago. While still in high school he won a scholarship to the Art Institute of Chicago to study art and art history at Fullerton Hall. In 1966 he left the Midwest and moved to New York where he worked as a research analyst for Simulmatics researching bias in newspaper coverage of the riots. Major’s novels include Dirty Bird Blues (a PenguinClassic), Such Was the Season, a Literary Guild selection; My Amputations, winner of the Western States Book Award; Painted Turtle: Woman with Guitar, a New York Times Book Review Notable Book of the Year; and One Flesh.
He has contributed to The New Yorker, The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Harvard Review, and dozens of other periodicals. He is the author of sixteen collections of poetry. His poetry was selected for inclusion in The Best American Poetry, 2019. A Fulbright scholar, he taught at the University of Nice, France for two semesters. Major won a National Book Award Bronze Medal, the Western States Book Award for fiction, and a National Council on The Arts Award; in 2015 he won a “Lifetime Achievement Award for Excellence in the Fine Arts” from the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, Washington, D. C., in 2016 a PEN Oakland/Reginald Lockett “Lifetime Achievement Award for Excellence in Literature.” He was elected to The Georgia State Writers Fall of Fame in 2021.
Before retiring in 2007 as Distinguished Professor Emeritus of twentieth-century American literature and creative writing in the English Department, University of California, Davis, he taught at Sarah Lawrence College, University of Washington, Howard University, Temple University, University of California at San Diego, and other universities. He lives in northern California.
POSTHUMOUS LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD: Kamilah Aisha Moon
Kamilah Aisha Moon (1973-2021) was the author of Starshine & Clay (Four Way Books, 2017), a CLMP finalist featured on NPR’s “All Things Considered” as a collection that captures America in poetry, and She Has a Name (Four Way Books, 2013), a finalist for both the Audre Lorde and Lambda Literary Awards. She also wrote a non-fiction chapbook On Nascency (2015).
Among her many interests, Kamilah enjoyed reading books from an early age. She developed a love of writing and poetry in high school, where she began working on two self-published chapbooks of poetry collections as she pursued her undergraduate studies. Kamilah Aisha earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in English at Paine College in Augusta, GA, and was employed at Hallmark Cards, Inc. in Kansas City, MO as a writer, where her work was featured in various card collections. After receiving a Masters in Fine Arts degree from Sarah Lawrence College, she also taught poetry and writing for various arts in education programs like Community-Word Project and the DreamYard Project. She was an adjunct professor at Medgar Evers College–CUNY, Drew University, and Adelphi University before eventually landing a tenure-track position at Agnes Scott College in Decatur, Georgia as an assistant professor of creative writing, where she taught until her passing in 2021.
A graduate fellow of Cave Canem’s writers’ retreat, she has received fellowships from MacDowell, Hedgebrook, Prague Summer Writing Institute, Vermont Studio Center, Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, MA, and the Rose O’Neill Literary House.
Kamilah once said, “Time marries experience to alter us in numerous ways as we interact with the world. The poems I write are receipts of these interactions, lyrical invoices that record the glories and costs of breathing.” A Pushcart Prize winner and 2015 New American Poet, her poems and essays have been published widely, and included in Best American Poetry 2019.