Four IUP books were named winners of Foreword Reviews’s INDIEFAB Book of the Year Awards at the American Library Association Annual Conference in San Francisco last month. The books were chosen by a select group of librarians and booksellers. There were more than 1,500 entries in 63 categories. IUP winners include:
Roland Hayes: The Legacy of an American Tenor by Christopher A. Brooks and Robert Sims won gold in the performing arts and music category. Brooks is a professor of anthropology at Virginia Commonwealth University. Sims is a professor of voice in the School of Music at Northern Illinois University.
Performing in a country rife with racism and segregation, the tenor Roland Hayes was the first African American man to reach international fame as a concert performer and one of the few artists who could sell out Town Hall, Carnegie Hall, Symphony Hall, and Covent Garden. This engaging biography spans the history of Hayes's life and career and the legacy he left behind as a musician and a champion of African American rights. It is an authentic, panoramic portrait of a man who was as complex as the music he performed.
Learn more about the book in this podcast with the authors.
The Clandestine History of the Kovno Jewish Ghetto Police translated and edited by Samuel Schalkowsky won bronze in the history category. Schalkowsky, a survivor of the Kovno ghetto, was a volunteer at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.
As a force that had to serve two masters, both the Jewish population of the Kovno ghetto in Lithuania and its German occupiers, the Kovno Jewish ghetto police walked a fine line between helping Jews survive and meeting Nazi orders. In 1942 and 1943 some of its members secretly composed this history and buried it in tin boxes. The book offers a rare glimpse into the complex situation faced by the ghetto leadership and the Jewish policemen, caught between carrying out the demands of the Germans and mollifying the anger and frustration of their own people.
Read more about the book and Schalkowsky's wartime experience in this Q&A.
Irish Travellers: The Unsettled Life by Sharon Bohn Gmelch and George Gmelch won honorable mention in the social sciences category. Bohn Gmelch is a professor of anthropology at the University of San Francisco. Gmelch is a professor of anthropology at the University of San Francisco and Union College.
Anthropologists George and Sharon Gmelch have been studying the quasi-nomadic people known as Travellers since their fieldwork in the early 1970s, when they lived among Travellers and went on the road in their own horse-drawn wagon. In 2011 they returned to seek out families they had known decades before—shadowed by a film crew and taking with them hundreds of old photographs showing the Travellers' former way of life. Many of these images are included in this book, alongside more recent photos and compelling personal narratives that reveal how Traveller lives have changed now that they have left nomadism behind.
See photos from the book in this trailer.
Mourning Headband for Hue: An Account of the Battle for Hue, Vietnam 1968 by Nha Ca and translated by Olga Dror won bronze in the war and military category. Nha Ca lives in Southern California with her husband where they publish the Vietnamese-language newspaper, Viet Bao. Dror is an associate professor of history at Texas A&M University.
As citizens of Hue prepare to celebrate Tet, author Nha Ca prepares to attend her father’s funeral. Without warning, war erupts all around them, leaving their beautiful city in ruins and thousands dead. Nha Ca's memoir is an unvarnished and riveting account of the Vietnam War as experienced by ordinary people caught up in the violence.
Learn more about the book in this podcast with translator Olga Dror.
See a complete list of INDIEFAB winners on Foreword Reviews's website.