Two Jamaica Plain Authors Named in Annual Massachusetts Book Awards Announcement

Massachusetts Center for the Book (MCB) is pleased to announce the Award and Honors titles in the 23rd Annual Massachusetts Book Awards program.  The Awards represent achievements in fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and young people’s literature published in 2022 by Massachusetts writers and illustrators. For the first time, an award is being presented in translated literature.

By Hands Now Known: Jim Crow’s Legal Executioners (W.W. Norton) by Margaret A. Burnham of Jamaica Plain has been named Honors in Nonfiction. The book has been heralded as a paradigm-shifting investigation of little-known violence in the South during the 20th century. Sanctuary (Candlewick) by Christine McDonnell of Jamaica Plain and illustrated by Victoria Tentler-Krylov, earned Honors in Picture Books and Early Readers as an inspirational children’s book about the vision and humanity of social activist Kip Tiernan’s foundation of Rosie’s Place in Boston.

“These books reflect the remarkable talent and depth of the literary community in Massachusetts,” said Courtney Andree, Executive Director of the Center. “Debut and seasoned authors have written powerful stories addressing contemporary issues and complicated personal and societal history. These awards are a reminder that the culture of the Commonwealth is enriched by the authors who live and work among us and we look forward to celebrating them at the State House in October.”

The complete list of awards is:

The Fiction Award winner is The Miraculous True History of Nomi Ali (Deep Vellum) by Uzma Aslam Khan of Belchertown. This story of siblings is set in the Andaman Islands during World War II as the British and Japanese empires collide.

Fiction Honors are awarded to Horse (Viking) by Geraldine Brooks of Martha’s Vineyard and Our Missing Hearts (Penguin Press) by Celeste Ng of Cambridge.

The Nonfiction Award is How to Raise an Antiracist (One World) by Ibram X. Kendi of Boston. Personal and scholarly advice is provided in this book for parents, teachers, and caregivers with the goal of raising antiracist thinkers.

Nonfiction Honors was also awarded to The Third Person (Drawn & Quarterly) by Emma Grove of Springfield.

The Poetry Award winner is Hyperphantasia (Rescue Press) by Sara Deniz Akant of Cambridge. This imaginative collection features dreams, open tabs and an AI BFF that trolls the reader.

Honors Poetry collections are Headstone (Passager Books) by Mark Elber of Fall River and Sleeping in the Dead Girl’s Room (Lily Poetry Review) by Cynthia Bargar of Provincetown.

The Middle Grade/Young Adult Literature Award winner is A Scatter of Light (Dutton Books for Young Readers) by Malinda Lo of Arlington. A coming-of-age story about art and self-revelation, it is set against the first Supreme Court decisions legalizing gay marriage.

Honors titles in Middle Grade/Young Adult Literature are Gold Mountain (Carolrhoda Lab) by Betty G. Yee of Medford and Hidden Powers (Atheneum Books for Young Readers) by Jeannine Atkins of Whately.

The Award winner in the Picture Book/Early Reader category is I’ll Go and Come Back (Candlewick) by Rajani LaRocca of Concord, illustrated by Sara Palacios, a tender story about the deep love and bonds between a young girl in America and her grandmother in India.

Honors in Picture Books and Early Readers also includes Sunday Pancakes (Dial Books for Young Readers) by Maya Tatsukawa of Arlington.

The Award winner in the new category of Translated Literature is An Audible Blue (White Pine Press) by Klaus Merz, translated by Marc Vincenz of Cheshire. Vincenz selected poems from the award-winning poet’s lifetime of work.

MCB is grateful to the following judges in the 23rd Annual Awards Program: Karen Ball (Wilbraham Public Library); Jennifer Bruneau (Northborough Free Library); Devon Evans (Brewster Ladies’ Library); Brett French (CWMARS Worcester); Kelly Gates (Somerville Public Library); Jennifer Jones (Mattapoisett Free Public Library); Dory Klein (Boston Public Library); Melissa MacLeod (Carver Public Library); Tegan Mannino (Clapp Memorial Library, Belchertown); Alene Moroni (Forbes Library, Northampton); Sara Rottger (Wilmington Memorial Library); Emily Souza (Rockport Public Library); Melanie Terrill (West Bridgewater Public Library); Jennifer Usovicz (Peabody Institute Library, Peabody); Lexi Wright (High Five Books, Florence); and staff/consultants of Massachusetts Center for the Book..

The Massachusetts Center for the Book, chartered as the Commonwealth Affiliate of the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress, is a public-private partnership charged with developing, supporting and promoting cultural programming that advances the cause of books and reading and enhances the outreach potential of Massachusetts public libraries.  For additional information: Massachusetts Center for the Book, 17 New South Street, Ste 302, Northampton, 01060.   Email: [email protected].  Web:  Phone: 413.341.3143; 617.872.3718

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