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Mass Book Awards Recognize Emersonians in Multiple Categories

Jerald Walker head shot smiling
Professor Jerald Walker

Writing, Literature and Publishing Professor Jerald Walker’s How to Make a Slave and Other Essays (Mad Creek Books/The Ohio University Press) won a Massachusetts Book Award for Nonfiction from the Massachusetts Center for the Book, and Alumna Asako Serizawa, MFA ’01 was selected for Fiction Honors for her debut short story collection, Inheritors (Doubleday/Penguin Random House).

The 21st Annual Book Awards and Honors, announced Tuesday, November 16, were awarded to works of Fiction, Nonfiction, Poetry, Middle Grade/Young Adult, and Picture Books and Early Readers written by Massachusetts residents and published in 2020. Books are selected by a panel of librarians from across the commonwealth, as well as MassBooks staff and consultants.

Of How to Make a Slave, MassBooks wrote “This collection of powerful essays about growing up, parenting and writing as a Black man in America deftly combines humor and anger in the author’s personal and cultural observations.”

“I’m grateful to the Massachusetts Center for the Book for recognizing my work with this award. It’s such a tremendous honor,” Walker said.

Last fall, How to Make a Slave was short-listed for a National Book Award, and earlier this year, Boston Magazine named Walker a Best Author for 2021.  “Kaleshion,” an essay from the collection, was awarded a 2022 Pushcart Prize.

asako serizawa head shot
Asako Serizawa, MFA ’01. Photo/Matthew Modica

Serizawa’s Inheritors, a collection of interconnected stories that follow her characters through 150 years of imperialism, war, and upheaval, won a PEN Open Book Award last spring, given to authors of color of book-length works of fiction, literary nonfiction, biography/memoir, or poetry.

The following Emersonians were included on MassBooks’ Long List (Must Read) for 2020:

Noé Alvarez, MFA ’17, Spirit Run (Nonfiction)
Janella Angeles ’15, Where Dreams Descend (Middle Grade/YA)
Former WLP faculty member Margot Livesey, The Boy in the Field (Fiction)
Former WLP faculty member Gail Mazur, Land’s End (Poetry)
WLP Professor Pamela Painter, Fabrications (Fiction)
Heidi Pitlor, MFA ’98, Impersonation (Fiction)

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