University Press of Kentucky author bell hooks has been named as the recipient of the 2013 Black Caucus of the American Library Association's Best Poetry Award for her book Appalachian Elegy: Poetry and Place. The BCALA Literary Awards recognize excellence in adult fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and publishing by African American authors published during the previous year, including an award for Best Poetry and a citation for Outstanding Contribution to Publishing. The award will be presented at the Annual Conference of the American Library Association in Chicago, Illinois on June 30.
In Appalachian Elegy, hooks continues her work as an imagist of life's harsh realities in a collection of poems inspired by her childhood in the isolated hills and hidden hollows of Kentucky. hooks draws the reader deep into the experience of living in Appalachia through touching on such topics as the marginalization of its people and the environmental degradation it has suffered over the years. Her poetry quietly elegizes the slow loss of an identity while also celebrating that which is constant, firmly rooted in a place that is no longer whole.
Hooks is the author of more than thirty books, including Ain't I a Woman? Black Women and Feminism, which was named by Publishers Weekly as one of the twenty most influential women's books of the last twenty years.
In other awards news, University Press of Kentucky author Thomas P. McKenna, Lt. Col. USA (Ret.), has been selected as one of four finalists for the 2013 William E. Colby Award for his book Kontum: The Battle to Save South Vietnam. Named for the late ambassador and former CIA director William E. Colby, the Colby Award recognizes a first work of fiction or non-fiction that has made a significant contribution to the public's understanding of intelligence operations, military history, or international affairs. Kontum combines the personal experiences of McKenna, who served as a military adviser to the Army of South Vietnam during the battle, with years of interviews and research from primary sources to describe the events leading up to the invasion of South Vietnam and the battle of Kontum. The winner of the award will be announced in early March.