Arab American Book Award

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The Arab American Book Award was established in 2006 to celebrate and support the research of, and the written work of, Arab Americans and their culture. The Arab American Book Award encourages the publication and excellence of books that preserve and advance the understanding, knowledge, and resources of the Arab American community by celebrating the thoughts and lives of Arab Americans. The purpose of the Award is to inspire authors, educate readers and foster a respect and understanding of the Arab American culture. [1]


The Arab American Book Award was brought about by the Arab American National Museum and faculty members of the nearby University of Toledo. The winning titles are chosen by groups of selected readers including respected authors, university professors, artists and AANM staff. The Awards are given during an invitation only event in the Fall of the award year. The AANM first gave these awards in 2007 for books published in 2006; for 2007, the number of submissions more than doubled from the inaugural year. [2]

To help ensure the continuity of the Arab American Book Award a special endowment fund has been launched with a $10,000 gift from Drs. A. Adnan and Barbara C. Aswad. Dr. Barbara C. Aswad is Professor Emerita of Anthropology at Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan and a past president of the Middle Eastern Studies Association and a Board Member Emerita for the Arab Community Center for Economic and Social Services (ACCESS), parent organization of the Arab American National Museum. Dr. A. Adnan Aswad is Professor Emeritus of Engineering at the University of Michigan–Dearborn. The Aswads, now based in Los Angeles, were inspired to make the gift after the inaugural Book Award ceremony in Fall 2007. [2]

In 2011, the non-fiction prize was renamed to honor the legacy and contributions to Arab American scholarship of Evelyn Shakir, who died of breast cancer in 2010. In addition to winning the Arab American Book Award for Fiction in 2008, Professor Shakir extensively researched the history of Arab women and wrote the groundbreaking work Bint Arab: Arab and Arab American Women in the United States in 1997. Evelyn's longtime partner, poet George Ellenbogen, established the award in collaboration with the Arab American National Museum. [3]

Chronology change (2009)

In 2009, The Arab American Book Award Committee changed the name of the '2008 Arab American Book Award' to the '2009 Arab American Book Award' in order to reflect the true award date instead of the publication date of the winning books. All dates in the previous Award years were also changed retroactively. While the date within the Award name has changed, the rules regarding the publication dates for eligible submissions have not.

Award winners

Adult Fiction

YearWinnerHonorable mentions
2020 The Other Americans by Laila Lalami A Woman is No Man by Etaf Rum
2019Amreekiya by Lena Mahmoud
2018Salt Houses by Hala Alyan
2017The Angel of History by Rabih Alameddine 13 Ways of Looking at a Fat Girl by Mona Awad
2016A Curious Land by Susan Muaddi Darraj In the Language of Miracles by Rajia Hassib
2015 An Unnecessary Woman by Rabih Alameddine and The Moor's Account by Laila Lalami
2014The Corpse Washer by Sinan Antoon The Woman Upstairs by Claire Messud
2013Lebanese Blonde by Joseph Geha Flying Carpets by Hedy Habra
2012Birds of Paradise by Diana Abu-Jaber Anatomy of a Disappearance by Hisham Matar
2011Loom: a Novel by Thérèse Soukar Chehade
2010Master of the Eclipse: And Other Stories by Etel Adnan
2009 A Map of Home: A Novel by Randa Jarrar
2008Remember Me to Lebanon by Evelyn Shakir Origin by Diana Abu-Jaber
2007 In the Country of Men by Hisham Matar

Evelyn Shakir Non-Fiction Award

(Awarded as the Adult Non-Fiction prize prior to 2011.)

YearWinnerHonorable mentions
2020When We Were Arabs: A Jewish Family’s Forgotten History by Massoud Hayoun Women of the Midan: The Untold Stories of Egypt's Revolutionaries by Sherine Hafez
2019Syrian and Lebanese Patricios in Sao Paulo, by Oswaldo Truzzi
2018The Rise of the Arab-American Left: Activists, Allies, and Their Fight Against Imperialism and Racism, 1960s–1980s by Pamela E. Pennock Sexagon: Muslims, France, and the Sexualization of National Culture by Mehammed Amadeus Mack
2017Inter/Nationalism: Decolonizing Native America and Palestine by Steven Salaita Industrial Sexuality: Gender, Urbanization, and Social Transformation in Egypt by Hanan Hammad
2016This Muslim American Life: Dispatches from the War on Terror by Moustafa Bayoumi and Handbook of Arab American Psychology edited by Mona M. Amer and Germine H. Awad
2015 Old Islam in Detroit: Rediscovering the Muslim American Past by Sally Howell
2014We Are Iraqis: Aesthetics and Politics in a Time of War edited by Nadje Al-Ali and Deborah Al-Najjar Between the Middle East and the Americas: The Cultural Politics of Diaspora edited by Evelyn Alsultany and Ella Shohat and The Gaza Kitchen: A Palestinian Cultural Journey by Laila El-Haddad and Maggie Schmitt
2013House of Stone: A Memoir of Home, Family and Lost Middle East by Anthony Shadid The Girl Who Fell to Earth by Sophia Al Maria and Even My Voice Is Silence by Soha Al-Jurf
2012Arab and Arab-American Feminisms: Gender, Violence, & Belonging edited by Rabab Abdulhadi, Evelyn Alsultany and Nadine Naber Modern Arab-American Fiction: A Reader's Guide by Steven Salaita
2011Arab Americans in Toledo: Cultural Assimilation and Community Involvement edited by Samir Abu-Absi Barefoot in Baghdad by Manal M. Omar
2010Angeleno Days: An Arab American Writer on Family, Place, and Politics by Gregory Orfalea Homeland Insecurity: The Arab American and Muslim American Experience After 9/11 by Louise Cainkar
and A Country Called Amreeka: Arab Roots, American Stories. by Alia Malek
2009How Does It Feel to Be a Problem?: Being Young and Arab in America by Moustafa Bayoumi The Encyclopedia of Arab American Artists by Fayeq Oweis
Palestine Inside Out: An Everyday Occupation by Saree Makdisi
2008Another Arabesque by John Tofik Karam Kisses from a Distance by Raff Ellis
Annals of the Caliphs’ Kitchens by Nawal Nasrallah
2007The Iron Cage by Rashid Khalidi The Arab Americans by Randa Kayyali
“Evil” Arabs in American Popular Film by Tim Jon Semmerling

Children's/ Young Adult

YearWinnerHonorable mentions
2020I Was Their American Dream: A Graphic Memoir by Malaka Gharib Other Words for Home by Jasmine Warga
2019I’ve Loved You Since Forever by Hoda Kotb Mirage by Somaiya Daud
2018No Winner
2017The Treasure of Maria Mamoun by Michelle Chalfoun The Three Lucys by Hayan Charara and Balcony on the Moon: Coming of Age in Palestine by Ibtisam Barakat
2016No Winner
2015The Turtle of Oman by Naomi Shihab Nye The Olive Tree by Elsa Marston and Claire Ewart, illustrator
2014Kids Guide to Arab American History by Yvonne Wakim Dennis and Maha Addasi The Arab World Thought of It by Saima S. Hussain
2013Hands Around the Library: Protecting Egypt's Treasured Books by Karen Leggett Abouraya and Susan L. Roth Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi
2011Saving Sky by Diane Stanley Time to Pray by Maha Addasi, illustrated by Ned Gannon
2010No Winner
2009Honeybee: Poems & Short Prose by Naomi Shihab Nye
2008Tasting the Sky: A Palestinian Childhood by Ibtisam Barakat
2007One Green Apple by Eve Bunting and Ted Lewin, illustrator

George Ellenbogen Poetry Award

YearWinnerHonorable mentions
2021Birthright by George Abraham (poet) Washes, Prays by Noor Naga
2020A Theory of Birds by Zaina Alsous Invasive species by Marwa Helal
2019Footnotes in the Order of Disappearance by Fady Joudah El Cerrito by Noor Al-Samarrai
2018The January Children by Safia Elhillo Water & Salt by Lena Khalaf Tuffaha
2017Something Sinister By Hayan Charara One Hundred Hungers by Lauren Camp and Hagar Poems by Mohja Kahf
2016The Republics by Nathalie Handal Sand Opera by Philip Metres
2015Tahrir Suite: Poems by Matthew Shenoda And the Time Is: Poems, 1958-2003 by Samuel Hazo
2014A Concordance of Leaves by Philip Metres My Daughter La Chola by Farid Matuk and Alight by Fady Joudah
2013Atrium by Hala Alyan Sea and Fog by Etel Adnan
2012Abu Ghraib Arias by Philip Metres Transfer by Naomi Shihab Nye
2011Tocqueville by Khaled Mattawa This Is a Nice Neighborhood by Farid Matuk
2010Diary of a Wave Outside the Sea by Dunya Mikhail
2009breaking poems by Suheir Hammad

See also

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  1. Arab American Book Award Official Webpage
  2. 1 2 Arab American National Museum Press Release, October 13, 2008
  3. Evelyn Shakir: Remembering a West Roxbury writing pioneer "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2012-04-07. Retrieved 2011-10-25.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)