Essence Magazine’s Literary Awards & Save Our Libraries Campaign

Essence magazine, known as the lifestyle magazine for African American women, is adding something new to its roster of initiatives.  For those who have attended the Essence Music Festival or the Women Who Are Shaping the World Leadership Summit, get ready to celebrate literature and libraries too.

From a Publisher’s Weekly article, Essence will honor the Storyteller of the Year on February 7, 2008 in a ceremony held in New York City.  You can go to Essence’s website to vote for your favorite author from a list of twenty-two authors, including Eric Jerome Dickey, Tina McElroy Ansa, Walter Mosley, and Lalita Tademy.  If your favorite author is not listed, you can e-mail your nomination.

In addition to the Literary Awards next year, Essence will have a Save Our Libraries Campaign where books will be donated and author events will be held.  The first recipient is the Countee Cullen Regional Library in Harlem, New York which is the site where many authors of the Harlem Renaissance convened.  Save Our Libraries Campaign wants to reconnect readers with libraries and to better illustrate just how resourceful libraries are in our communities.

As an author and a reader, both initiatives excite me.  If you’ve read my blogs on The Brown Bookshelf, you know that I love libraries because I love books.  I think the awards ceremony that focuses solely on authors is a fabulous idea.  Authors like awards and certificates too.  We want to get dressed up and walk the red carpet and give “Thank God and my Mama” speeches too. 

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