“‘No-No Boy became a foundational work in the emerging field of Asian American Studies when the Combined Asian American Resources Project (CARP) rediscovered it in the early 70s,’” said Abe. ‘It joined a broader literary movement that included establishment of the Before Columbus Foundation itself, so to now have our study of John Okada honored by the foundation brings us full circle. I hope this recognition brings new readers to Okada’s novel as well as our own book, which opens fresh avenues of scholarship for a new generation of students.’
“Cheung added, ‘If the Before Columbus Foundation were around in 1957, when No-No Boy was published, I imagine that Okada’s novel would have won the American Book Award. I interpret this honor as a posthumous prize for John Okada as well as a kind acknowledgment of the work that Frank, Greg, and I did to tell the story of his life and recover his unknown works.’
“‘In 1984 Miné Okubo won the American Book Award for the University of Washington Press edition of Citizen 13660, her powerful graphic memoir of Japanese American camp life,’ Robinson said. ‘Now, 35 years later, John Okada has won that same award. It makes me even more proud to feel that Frank, Floyd and I are following in Okubo’s footsteps.’”
We’ve just learned that JOHN OKADA is one of the winners of the 2019 American Book Awards. This honor is especially meaningful as it comes from the Before Columbus Foundation which, as its name suggests, recognizes “literary achievement from the entire spectrum of America’s diverse literary community” and is “a writers’ award given by other writers.”
Our thanks to Ishmael Reed, Justin Desmangles, and Shawn Wong for their lifetime of work to sustain the Foundation.
The Before Columbus Foundation announces the Winners of the Fortieth Annual AMERICAN BOOK AWARDS Ceremonies, November 1, 2019, 1:00–4:00 p.m.
Oakland, CA—The Before Columbus Foundation announces the Winners of the Fortieth Annual AMERICAN BOOK AWARDS. The 2019 American Book Award winners will be formally recognized on Friday, November 1, 2019, from 1:00-4:00 p.m. at the Koret Auditorium, San Francisco Public Library, 100 Larkin St., San Francisco, CA. This event is open to the public.
The American Book Awards were created to provide recognition for outstanding literary achievement from the entire spectrum of America’s diverse literary community. The purpose of the awards is to recognize literary excellence without limitations or restrictions. There are no categories, no nominees, and therefore no losers. The award winners range from well-known and established writers to under-recognized authors and first works. There are no quotas for diversity, the winners list simply reflects it as a natural process. The Before Columbus Foundation views American culture as inclusive and has always considered the term “multicultural” to be not a description of various categories, groups, or “special interests,” but rather as the definition of all of American literature. The Awards are not bestowed by an industry organization, but rather are a writers’ award given by other writers.
The 2019 American Book Award Winners are:
Frank Abe, Greg Robinson, and Floyd Cheung (editors), John Okada: The Life & Rediscovered Work of the Author of No-No Boy (University of Washington Press)
May-lee Chai, Useful Phases for Immigrants: Stories (Blair)
Louise DeSalvo, The House of Early Sorrows: A Memoir in Essays (Fordham University Press)
Heid E. Erdrich (editor), New Poets of Native Nations (Graywolf Press)
Ángel García, Teeth Never Sleep: Poems (University of Arkansas Press)
Tommy Orange, There There: A Novel (Knopf)
Halifu Osumare, Dancing in Blackness: A Memoir (University Press of Florida)
Christopher Patton, Unlikeness Is Us: Fourteen from the Exeter Book (Gaspereau Press)
Mark Sarvas, Memento Park: A Novel (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)
Jeffrey C. Stewart, The New Negro: The Life of Alain Locke (Oxford University Press)
William T. Vollmann, Carbon Ideologies: Volume I, No Immediate Danger, Volume II, No Good Alternative (Viking)
G. Willow Wilson (author), Nico Leon (illustrator), Ms. Marvel Vol. 9: Teenage Wasteland (Marvel)
Lifetime Achievement Award: Nathan Hare
Editor/Publisher Award: UCLA Chicano Studies Research Center
Buyer beware: The edition of No-No Boypublished by the University of Washington Press is the only edition authorized by the family of John Okada. The largest publisher in the US is now opportunistically exploiting a loophole in the copyright to bring out its own unauthorized knock-off.
The Japanese American community in each city is unique, but the team effort in New York City that is JAJA (Japanese Americans and Japanese in America) is truly special. Julie Azuma provides the space but everyone pitches in bring potlock, set up, and clean up. The collective energy really brings everyone together, and the audience focus is amazing. We had a lively discussion of the life and work of John Okada in a living room setting, and the night was made more special with the presence of John’s niece, Beverly Okada of Long Island (seated next to me on the sofa with the vest). Continue reading “JOHN OKADA” and the Day of Remembrance in New York City→
Angelenos react to a rainstorm as Seattleites do to snow: it’s an excuse to stay indoors. So we have many thanks to all those who braved the rain in Los Angeles last week to come to our JOHN OKADA launch events at USC, UCLA, and the Japanese American National Museum.
The full house of 250 that packed the Tateuchi Democracy Forum at JANM was especially fun. The discussion was lively and it was a real treat to see so many friends there, including Martha Nakagawa, Naomi Hirahara, Karen Tei Yamashita, Nobuko Miyamoto, Tak Hoshizaki, and Masumi Izumi even flew in from Japan for the weekend. Our special guests for the event were John Okada’s children from Pasadena, Dorothea Okada and Matthew Okada, who contributed so much time in the writing of their father’s biography. Continue reading Full house for Los Angeles book launch of “JOHN OKADA”→
It was a quintessentially Okada-esque rainy day in 2015 when Midwest filmmakers Bill Kubota and Steve Ozone came to Seattle to talk with me about John Okada.
I’d known Bill from our mutual support on his film on Ben Kuroki, Most Honorable Son, and my film, Conscience and the Constitution, which featured Kuroki. He and Steve were doing a new film on the Military Intelligence Service, and they wanted to know more about Okada’s service in Guam with “The Flying Eight-Ball.” We talked in my basement office, then ventured out in the rain to see the clock tower at King Street Station where the novel opens.
You can see what a nice job they did in this clip from The Registry.
Thanks to all who came to hear us speak in 2018. The schedule for the first half of 2019 is shaping up as an even busier one, with events for JOHN OKADA,CONSCIENCE AND THE CONSTITUTION, and a look back at the first Day of Remembrance. For updates on this calendar, please always check the Upcoming Events page on the main menu. Continue reading Events coming up for the first half of 2019→
It’s an extremely readable book, a must-have companion piece to Okada’s novel … Abe, who lives in Okada’s early stomping grounds of Seattle, wrote the precise, well-researched 100-page biography of the author.