Prize and Award: Chinua Achebe and Haki R. Madhubuti

Journal of Pan African Studies, December 2010 | Go to article overview

Prize and Award: Chinua Achebe and Haki R. Madhubuti


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Chinua Achebe (above), author of "Things Fall Apart," has been selected to receive the 2010 Dorothy and Lillian Gish Prize for his "unprecedented impact in literature."

Achebe, professor of Africana studies at Brown University, has written more than 20 books, often using his writing to forge a better understanding of modern-day Africa, said Brown.

The 80-year-old author has founded a number of magazines for African art, fiction and poetry. As editor of Heinemann Publishing's "African Writers Series," Achebe has worked to bring post-colonial African works to a larger audience.

"When I was a boy growing up in Nigeria, becoming a novelist was a far-away dream," said Achebe. "Now it is a reality for many African writers, not just myself."

The Gish prize will award Achebe approximately $300,000 and a silver medallion for his "outstanding contribution to the beauty of the world and to mankind's enjoyment and understanding of life." Other Gish prize winners include Pete Seeger, Robert Redford and Bob Dylan. Achebe was honored on October 27, 2010 at the Hudson Theater in New York City (source: African Sun Times).

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Third World Press is pleased to announce that activist poet Haki R. Madhubuti (on the left), the Ida B. Wells-Barnett University Professor at DePaul University, is one of the esteemed winners of the 9th annual Hurston/Wright Legacy Awards. Professor Madhubuti was honored for his most recent book of poetry, Liberation Narratives: New and Collected Poems 1966-2009 published by Chicago-based Third World Press. For the first time in the history of the Hurston/Wright Awards two honorees, Professor Haki R. Madhubuti and the Pulitzer Prize winning poet Rita Dove were recipients of the award for poetry.

Named for two geniuses of American and world literature, Zora Neale Hurston and Richard Wright, the Hurston/Wright Foundation presents the Hurston/Wright Legacy Awards annually to authors of African descent for the year's best works in fiction, nonfiction and poetry. This year was the first time the Foundation named two winners for poetry.

With more than 200 entries submitted each year, the awards are the culmination of a yearlong process involving 12 distinguished judges who serve on four separate juries. Six nominees are selected in each of the four categories. Notables from the literary community who serve on the organization's advisory board include Toni Morrison, Henry Louis Gates Jr., Chinua Achebe, E. Ethelbert Miller, and Terry McMillan who served as Mistress of Ceremonies at the awards dinner held on Monday, November 15, in Washington D.C. Winners received a statue and a cash prize. The event also celebrated the 20th anniversary of the Zora Neale Hurston/Richard Wright Foundation, founded in 1990 by novelist Marita Golden and bibliophile Clyde McElvene as a resource center for writers, readers and supporters of African American literature.

During a career spanning more than 40 years and as one of the prime movers of the Black Arts Movement (1965-75), Professor Madhubuti has published more than 28 books and is one of the world's best-selling authors of poetry and non-fiction, with books in print in excess of 3 million. His Black Men: Obsolete, Single, Dangerous?: The African American Family in Transition (1990) has sold more than 1 million copies. Popular titles include Claiming Earth: Race, Rage, Rape, Redemption (1994), GroundWork: New and Selected Poems 1966-1996(1996), HeartLove: Wedding and Love Poems (1998), Tough Notes: A Healing Call For Creating Exceptional Black Men (2002), Run Toward Fear (2004), and YellowBlack: The First Twenty-One Years of a Poet's Life (2006), a memoir of the people and places that were a part of his early life. …

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