Paule Marshall, Larry Eugene Rivers win BCALA Awards

Contact: Larra Clark


ALA News Release

For Immediate Release

January 2001

Paule Marshall, Larry Eugene Rivers win BCALA Awards

The Black Caucus of the American Library Association (BCALA) announced Paule Marshall as the winner of the 2001 BCALA Literary Award for fiction, and Larry Eugene Rivers as the winner for non-fiction January 15, 2001, during the Midwinter Meeting of the American Library Association (ALA) in Washington, D.C.

Marshall’s book, "The Fisher King," published by Scribner, is a moving story of an eight-year-old boy’s effort to heal the wounds of his fractured family in Caribbean Brooklyn. The work also examines the difficulties Black artists encountered during the 1940’s and 1950’s. Marshall lives in New York City and Richmond, Va., and teaches in the Graduate Creative Writing Program at New York University.

"Slavery In Florida: Territorial Days To Emancipation," by Larry Eugene Rivers, published by University Press of Florida, is an impressive and comprehensive study of slavery. Thoroughly researched and balanced, it is an account of the relationships between slaves, masters and indigenous people. It also shows, for the first time, how slavery differed dramatically from state to state in the South. Rivers teaches history at Florida A&M University.

The BCALA literary awards recognize excellence in adult fiction and nonfiction by African American authors published in 2000, recognition of a first novelist, as well as a citation for Outstanding Contribution to Publishing. The recipients will receive the awards during the 2001 Annual Conference of the ALA in San Francisco.

Fiction Honor Book winners are "All of Me," by Venise Berry, published by Dutton, and "Sugar," by Bernice McFadden, also published by Dutton. The Non-Fiction Honor Book winners are "The Art and History of Black Memorabilia," by Larry V. Buster, published by Clarkson Potter; and "Step Into A World: A Global Anthology of New Black Literature," edited by Kevin Powell and published by John Wiley & Sons.

"All of Me," Berry’s second novel, is an emotionally charged account of society’s obsession with weight and one woman’s struggle to raise herself out of the depths of depression and self-hatred to the heights of self-acceptance and self-love. Berry teaches journalism and mass communications at the University of Iowa.

McFadden’s "Sugar," is a story depicting the lives of two African American women who know long years of pain and suffering. This debut novel combines the elements of intrigue and suspense to reveal a heartfelt story of friendship and love. McFadden lives in Brooklyn, N.Y.

"The Art and History of Black Memorabilia," by Buster is a resource guide designed to help collectors learn more about the depiction of people of African descent in American popular culture. The author, who is a collector, includes information on how to authenticate artifacts, spot fakes and recognize reproductions. Buster lives in New Rochelle, N.Y.

"Step Into A World: A Global Anthology of the New Black Literature," brings together the best young Black writers, established award-winning writers, as well as bold new voices of the new generation. Powell, editor, has selected fiction, poetry, essays, criticism and hip-hop journalism to show the diversity of these luminary writers and the issues presented by them. Powell lives in Brooklyn, N.Y.

The recipient of the First Novelist Award is Allen B. Ballard for "Where I’m Bound," published by Simon & Schuster, a riveting account of the Third United States Colored Cavalry’s fight for freedom in Mississippi. Inspired by actual events, Ballard gives voice to the heroic contributions of Black soldiers during the Civil War and vividly captures their bravery, strength, faith and hope. Ballard teaches history and African American Studies at the State University of New York at Albany.

For excellence in scholarship, the BCALA Literary Awards Committee presents the Outstanding Contribution to Publishing Citation to David Levering Lewis for "W.E.B. Du Bois: The Fight for Equality and the American Century 1919–1963." He has written a masterful legacy of a fearless and amazing life. This sequel to "W.E.B. Du Bois: Biography of a Race, 1868-1919," continues to portray Du Bois as one of the 20th century’s most powerful scholars and controversial leaders. This exhaustive study, rendered in lucid prose, is a tribute to the achievements of Du Bois. Lewis teaches at Rutgers University and is author of "When Harlem Was in Vogue."

Members of the 2001-2003 BCALA Literary Awards Jury are: John S. Page, Chair, University of the District of Columbia; Raquel V. Cogell, Vice Chair, Emory University; Yolanda Foster Bolden, Forsyth County Public Library System, East Winston Heritage Center; Joyce Jelks, Atlanta-Fulton Public Library System; Gwendolyn Taylor-Davis, New York Public Library; Virginia Dowsing Toliver, Washington University; and Jamie Turner, Oakland Public Library.

More information about the BCALA Literary Award can be found at