Eligibility and Judging


       This review is by the New York Times of Jessie Redmon Fauset's
       book entitled, "There is Confusion."  Originally, published in 1924
      by Boni and Liverright (New York),  Fauset's work traces the lives
       of Joanna Mitchell and Peter Bye whose families must come to
       terms with an inheritance of prejudice and discrimination as they
       struggle with legitimacy and respect. 

On Saturday, August 9, 2014, the 8th Annual Leimert Park Book Fair debuted its first ever Book Awards named after one of the most prolific and revered novelists , and writers of the Harlem Renaissance, Jessie Redmon Fauset .   During her lifetime, Fauset was the literary editor of the NAACP magazine The Crisis. She also was the editor and co-author for the African-American children's magazine The Brownies' Book. She studied the teachings and beliefs of W.E.B Du Bois and considered him to be her mentor. Fauset was known as one of the most intelligent women novelists of the Harlem Renaissance, earning her the name "the midwife". In her lifetime she wrote four novels as well as poetry and short fictionhonoring oustanding literary achievements.

Between 1924 and 1933, Fauset produced four novels: There is Confusion (1924), Plum Bun (1928), The Chinaberry Tree (1931), and Comedy, American Style(1933). Inspired by T. S. Stribling's novel Birthright, Fauset recognized a dearth of positive depictions of African American experience in contemporary literature, and thereby set out to portray African-American life as realistically, and as positively, as possible.  And as Literary Editor, Fauset fostered the careers of many of the most famous authors of the Harlem Renaissance, including Countee Cullen, Claude McKay, Jean Toomer, and Langston Hughes.Her work and dedication to promoting literacy and helping others is the inspiration for the Book Awards. 

The Book Awards covers five single-title categories: biography, fiction, first fiction, poetry/spoken word, and young adult literature, with special recognitions also given to Oustanding Publisher and Bookclub of the Year.

Special Recognition is given to the one outstanding Bookclub  which through their activities and program promoted literacy and education.  The Publisher's Award recognizes the people and institutions that are doing cutting edge work to promote books, publishing and storytelling.  For these awards there are no nominees, just winners that are selected by an anonymous internal Los Angeles Times-committee.

Who is Eligible?
Eligibility for the prizes requires a book to have its first United States publication between January 1 and December 31 of the prize year. This American publication must be in English; however, English does not have to be the original language of the work. Authors may be of any nationality. They should be alive at the time of their book’s qualifying U.S. publication although eligibility is also extended to significant new translations of the work of deceased writers.Books by current employees of the Leimert Park Book Fair, Inc., by currently serving judges of the Jessie Redmon Fauset Book Awards or  by immediate family members of these groups are not eligible.

Who Are the Judges?
The Book Awards judges are writers, academics, journalists, librarians, who generally work in the fields in which they judge or they have a deep connection to that field. Not all of the judges are, in any given year, from Los Angeles, or even from California. Most, but not all, are published writers. Judges are appointed, typically, for two year terms which are usually staggered so that on each panel either one or two judges are replaced every year.

Timing/Other Details
Five finalists in each single-title category are announced in late June of the year following the actual Award year.  At that time, the winners of the Outstanding Bookclub and Publisher Awards  are revealed. From each group of category finalists, a winner is announced when the Book Awards are presented in a public ceremony on the Friday night that inaugurates the annual Leimert Park Book Fair. 

Contact Information
Leimert Park Book Fair, Inc.  presents the Jessie Redmon Fauset Book Awards and the Leimert Park Book Fair as part of its many community programs promoting literacy and education to benefit people across Southern California. For more information contact the Book Awards  administrator, Annette Thomas (annettethom2@yahoo.com).