Four Black authors with ties to the academic world have won American Book Awards from the Before Columbus Foundation in Oakland, California. They will receive their awards in late October in San Francisco.
Emily Raboteau, is a professor of English at the City College of New York. Professor Raboteau is being honored for her work of creative nonfiction entitled, Searching for Zion: The Quest for Home in the African Diaspora (Atlantic Monthly Press, 2013).
Professor Raboteau is a graduate of Yale University and holds a master of fine arts degree from New York University. Her father is Albert Raboteau, a scholar of African American religion who is the Henry W. Putnam Professor of Religion Emeritus at Princeton University. Emily Raboteau is also the author of the novel The Professor’s Daughter (Picador, 2006).
Jonathan Scott Holloway, professor and chair of African American studies at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut, is being honored for his book Jim Crow Wisdom: Memory and Identity in Black America Since 1940 (University of North Carolina Press, 2013). He is also the author of Confronting the Veil: Abram Harris Jr., E. Franklin Frazier, and Ralph Bunche, 1919-1941 (University of North Carolina Press, 2002).
Dr. Holloway is a graduate of Stanford University. He holds a Ph.D. from Yale University.
Sterling D. Plumpp is a poet and professor emeritus of literature and creative writing at the University of Illinois at Chicago. He is being honored for his collection of poetry entitled Home/Bass (Third Word Press, 2013).
Professor Plumpp is the son of Mississippi sharecroppers. He attended St. Benedict’s College in Atchison, Kansas, but dropped out and moved to Chicago where he worked for the post office. He later enrolled at Roosevelt University in Chicago, where he studied psychology. Professor Plumpp retired in 2001 after winning $1 million in the Illinois lottery.
Jamaica Kincaid holds the Josephine Olp Weeks Chair and is a professor of literature at Claremont McKenna College in Claremont, California. A native of Antigua, Professor Kincaid won the American Book Award for her novel See Now Then (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2013).
Professor Kincaid came to the United States when she was a teenager to work as an au pair. She later went to college but dropped out and spent 20 years as a writer for The New Yorker.