Friday, August 25, 2023

2023 Lillian Smith Book Award Recipients Announced

Atlanta - Two exceptional books will be recognized with this year's Lillian Smith Book Awards. These awards were established by the Southern Regional Council (SRC) to recognize authors whose books represent outstanding achievements demonstrating through high literary merit and moral vision an honest representation of the South, its people, its problems, and its promise.

This year's Awards Ceremony is a partnership between the Southern Regional Council, the University of Georgia Libraries, Piedmont College, and the Georgia Center for the Book. It will be presented  at the DeKalb County Public Library in Decatur, Georgia on Thursday, September 21, 2023 at 7:00 p.m.

The 2023 Award Recipients are:

TOMIKO BROWN-NAGIN, Dean of Harvard's Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, the Daniel P.S. Paul Professor of Constitutional Law at Harvard Law School, and Professor of History at Harvard University's Faculty of Arts and Sciences. In 2019, she was appointed chair of the Presidential Committee on Harvard and the Legacy of Slavery. She is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, of the American Philosophical Society, and of the American Law Institute, and a distinguished lecturer for the Organization of American Historians. Her previous book, Courage to Dissent won the Bancroft Prize in 2011. She frequently appears as a commentator in media.

Photo:Rose Lincoln Photography 2021

LINDA VILLAROSA, a journalism professor at the City University of New York and a contributing writer at the New York Times Magazine, where she covers the intersection of race and health. She has also served as executive editor at Essence and as a science editor at The New York Times. Her article on maternal and infant mortality was a finalist for a National Magazine Award. She is a contributor to The 1619 Project.


"Civil Rights Queen captures the story of a remarkable American life, a figure who remade law and inspired the imaginations of African Americans across the country. Burnished with an extraordinary wealth of research, award-winning, esteemed Civil Rights and legal historian and dean of the Harvard Radcliffe Institute, Tomiko Brown-Nagin brings Motley to life in these pages. Brown-Nagin compels us to ponder some of our most timeless and urgent questions–how do the historically marginalized access the corridors of power? What is the price of the ticket? How does access to power shape individuals committed to social justice? In Civil Rights Queen, she dramatically fills out the picture of some of the most profound judicial and societal change made in twentieth-century America."
"In 2018, Linda Villarosa’s New York Times Magazine article on maternal and infant mortality among black mothers and babies in America caused an awakening. Hundreds of studies had previously established a link between racial discrimination and the health of Black Americans, with little progress toward solutions. But Villarosa’s article exposing that a Black woman with a college education is as likely to die or nearly die in childbirth as a white woman with an eighth grade education made racial disparities in health care impossible to ignore.

"Now, in Under the Skin, Linda Villarosa lays bare the forces in the American health-care system and in American society that cause Black people to “live sicker and die quicker” compared to their white counterparts. Today’s medical texts and instruments still carry fallacious slavery-era assumptions that Black bodies are fundamentally different from white bodies. Study after study of medical settings show worse treatment and outcomes for Black patients. Black people live in dirtier, more polluted communities due to environmental racism and neglect from all levels of government. And, most powerfully, Villarosa describes the new understanding that coping with the daily scourge of racism ages Black people prematurely. Anchored by unforgettable human stories and offering incontrovertible proof, Under the Skin is dramatic, tragic, and necessary reading."

Sunday, July 16, 2023

Jocelyn Nicole Johnson Receives Lillian Smith Book Award for 2022

 Jocelyn Nicole Johnson received a Lillian Smith Book Award in 2022 for her book "My Monticello."



Mia Bay Receives Lillian Smith Book Award for 2022

Mia Bay received a Lillian Smith Book Award in 2022 for her book "Traveling Black: A Story of Race and Resistance."


Thursday, June 1, 2023

Lillian Smith Book Award Ceremony for 2022

Eighty Books Nominated for Lillian Smith Book Awards for 2023


The Southern Regional Council (SRC) recently announced that eighty books have been nominated for the Lillian Smith Book Awards for 2023 to be presented at the Georgia Center for the Book on September 21, 2023.

SRC was founded in 1919 to combat racial injustice in the South. SRC initiated the Lillian Smith Book Awards shortly after Smith's death in 1966 to recognize authors whose writing extends the legacy of the outspoken writer, educator and social critic who challenged her fellow Southerners and all Americans on issues of social and racial justice. Since 2004 the awards have been presented by SRC in a partnership with the University of Georgia Libraries, whose Hargrett Rare Book and Manuscript Library houses a historic collection of Lillian Smith's letters and manuscripts. The Georgia Center for the Book became a partner in 2007, when the awards ceremony first became part of the Decatur Book Festival.  Piedmont College, which operates the Lillian Smith Center, became a partner in 2015.

The award recipients for 2022 were Traveling Black: A Story of Race and Resistance by Mia Bay and  My Monticello  by Jocelyn Nicole Johnson.

The 2023 nominated books are:








Admissions: A Memoir of Surviving Boarding School

Kendra James

Grand Central Publishing

Afternoons with Harper Lee

Wayne Flint

University of Georgia Press

Another Appalachia: Coming Up Queer and Indian in a Mountain Place

Neema Avashia

West Virginia University Press

Arc of Truth: The Thinking of Martin Luther King Jr.

Lewis V. Baldwin

Fortress Press

Behind the Big House: Reconciling Slavery, Race, and Heritage in the US South

Jodi Skipper

University of Iowa Press

Bertha Maxwell-Roddey and the Power of Black Leadership

Sonya Y. Ramsey

University Press of Florida

Beyond Innocence: The Life Sentence of Darryl Hunt

Phoebe Zerwick

Grove Atlantic

Black in White Space: The Enduring Impact of Color in Everyday Life

Elijah Anderson

The University of Chicago Press

Black Side of the River: Race, Language, and Belonging in Washington, DC

Jessi Grieser

Georgetown University Press

Black Swim

Nicholas Goodly

Copper Canyon Press

Blacks and Jews in America

Terrence L. Johnson and Jacques Berlinerblau

Georgetown University Press

Bodies Out of Place: Theorizing Anti-Blackness in US Society

Barbara Harris Combs

University of Georgia Press

Boy We Made: A Memoir

Taylor Harris


Breath Better Spent: Living Black Girlhood

DaMaris B. Hill

Bloosmbury US

Brother Sleep

Aldo Amparan

Alice James Books

Child: A Memoir

Judy Goldman

University of South Carolina Press

Civil Rights Queen: Constance Baker Motley and the Struggle for Equality

Tomiko Brown-Nagin

Pantheon Books

Civil War By Other Means: America's Long and Unfinished Right for Democracy

Jeremi Suri


Combating Hate: A Framework for Direct Action

Billie Murray

Penn State University Press

Crisis Vision: Race and the Cultural Production of Surveillance

Torin Monahan

Duke University Press

Diaries of a Terrorist

Christopher Soto

Copper Canyon Press

Eating While Black: Food Shaming and Race in America

Psyche A. Williams-Forson

University of North Carolina Press

Education of Betsey Stockton: An Odyssey of Slavery and Freedom

Gregory Nobles

The University of Chicago Press

Enslaved: The Sunken History of the Transatlantic Slave Trade

Simcha Jacobovici and Sean Kingsley

Pegasus Books

Fear of Black Consciousness

Lewis R. Gordon

Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Formidable: American Women and the Fight for Equality

Elisabeth Griffith

Pegasus Books


Lauren Kessler


Free Joan Little: The Politics of Race, Sexual Violence, and Imprisonment

Christina Greene

University of North Carolina Press

Freedom Inside? Yoga and Meditation in the Carceral State

Farah Godrej

Oxford University Press

Freedom's Dominion: A Saga of White Resistance to Federal Power

Jefferson Cowie

Basic Books

Hated Cage: An American Tragedy in Britain's Most Terrifying Prison

Nicholas Guyatt

Basic Books

High Price of Freeways

Judy Juanita

Livingston Press

How To Survive an Apocalypse: Poems

Jacqueline Trimble

University of Georgia Press

I Kissed Shara Wheeler

Casey McQuiston

St. Martin's Press

Kingdoms of Savannah

George Dawes Green

Celadon Books

Last Summer on State Street

Tonya Wolfe

William Morrow

Legacy of Slavery at Harvard

The Presidential Committee on the Legacy of Slavery

Harvard University Press

Legacy of Violence

Caroline Elkins

Alfred A. Knopf

Letters to Martin

Randal Jelks

Chicago Review Press

Lynching in Port Jervis

Philip Dray

Farrar, Straus and Giroux

McMullen Circle

Heather Newton

Regal House Publishing

Mother Country

Jacinda Townsend

Graywolf Press




My Faith in the Constitution is Whole: Barbara Jordan and the Politics of Scripture

Robin L. Owens

Georgetown University Press



My Seven Black Fathers

Will Jawando

Farrar, Straus and Giroux

No Choice: The Destruction of Roe v. Wade and the Fight to Protect a Fundamental American Right

Becca Andrews


No Equal Justice

Peter J. Hammer and Edward J. Littlejohn

Wayne State University Press

None But the Righteous

Chantal James


O.N. Pruitt's Possum Town: Photographing Trouble and Resilience in the American South

Berkley Hudson

University of North Carolina Press

On Account of Sex: Ruth Bader Ginsburg and the Making of Gender Equality Law

Philippa Strum

University of Kansas

People's Plaza: Sixty-Two Days of Nonviolent Resistance

Justin Jones

Vanderbilt University Press

Postcard from the Delta

Michael Gaspeny

Livingston Press

Power: The Rise of Black Women in America

Charity C. Elder

Skyhorse Publishing

Praesidium - Shadows in the Wind Book 1

McKinley Aspen

Muse Literary

Real Americans: National Identity, Violence, and the Constitution

Jared A. Goldstein

University of Kansas

Reclaiming Two-Spirits: Sexuality, Spiritual Renewal & Sovereignty in Native America

Gregory Smithers

Beacon Press

Redemptive Path Forward: From Incarceration to a Life of Activism

Antong Lucky


Requiem for the Massacre: A Black History on the Conflict, Hope, and Fallout of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre

RJ Young


Resident Strangers: Immigrant Laborers in New South Alabama

Jennifer E. Brooks

LSU Press

Revolution by Law: The Federal Government and the Desegregation of Alabama Schools

Brian K. Landsberg

University of Kansas

Revolutionary: Samuel Adams

Stacy Schiff

Little, Brown and Company

Selena Didn't Know Spanish Either

Marisa Tirado

Texas Review Press

Slenderman: Online Obsession, Mental Illness, and the Violent Crime of Two Midwestern Girls

Kathleen Hale

Grove Atlantic

Smoking the Bible

Chris Abani

Copper Canyon Press

Solito: A Memoir

Javier Zamora

Hogarth (Random House)

Southern Beauty: Race, Ritual, and Memory in the Modern South

Elizabeth Bronwyn Boyd

University of Georgia Press

Southernization of America

Frye Gaillard and Cynthia Tucker

NewSouth Books

Struggling to Learn: An Intimate History of School Desegregation in South Carolina

June Manning Thomas

University of South Carolina Press

Third Reconstruction: America's Struggle for Racial Justice in the Twenty-First Century

Peniel E. Joseph

Basic Books

Trayvon Generation

Elizabeth Alexander

Grand Central Publishing

True Biz

Sara Novic

Penguin Random House

Under the Skin

Linda Villarosa

Penguin Random House

Unsettled Land: From Revolution to Republic, the Struggle for Texas

Sam W. Haynes

Basic Books

Voice in the Wilderness: A pioneering Biologist Explains How Evolution Can Help Us Solve our Biggest Problems

Joseph L. Graves

Basic Books

Walking Gentry Home: A Memoir of My Foremothers in Verse

Alora Young

Hogarth (Random House)

We Borrowed Gentleness

J. Estanislao Lopez

Alice James Books

What the Children Told Us

Tim Spofford


What The Eyes Can't See

Margaret Edds

University of South Carolina Press

Which Side Are You On

Ryan Lee Wong


White Mosque

Sofia Samatar


Yellow Dog Blues

Alice Faye Duncan

Eerdmans Books for Young Readers