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Cover of Ira Sukrungruang’s “Southside Buddhist”

USF English professor wins American Book Award

TAMPA, Fla. -- Ira Sukrungruang, associate professor of English at the University of South Florida College of Arts and Sciences, has been named winner of an American Book Award for his memoir “Southside Buddhist” from University of Tampa Press. In this collection of linked personal essays, Sukrungruang uses humor and insight to explore the complexities of Thai immigrant life.

Sukrungruang and other winners will be honored at The Before Columbus Foundation’s 36th Annual American Book Awards ceremony on Sunday, Oct. 25, 2015 at the SF Jazz Center in San Francisco, Calif. This event is open to the public.

The American Book Awards were created to provide recognition for outstanding literary achievement from the entire spectrum of America’s diverse literary community. The purpose of the awards is to recognize literary excellence without limitations or restrictions. There are no categories, no nominees and therefore no losers. The award winners range from well-known and established writers to under-recognized authors and first works. There are no quotas for diversity, the winners list simply reflects it as a natural process.

The Before Columbus Foundation views American culture as inclusive and always has considered the term “multicultural” to be not a description of various categories, groups or “special interests,” but rather as the definition of all of American literature. The Awards are not bestowed by an industry organization, but rather are a writers’ award given by other writers.

The 2015 American Book Award Winners are:

Hisham Aidi
“Rebel Music: Race, Empire, and the New Muslim Youth Culture” (Vintage)

Arlene Biala
“her beckoning hands” (Word Poetry)

Arthur Dong
“Forbidden City, USA: Chinese American Nightclubs, 1936-1970” (DeepFocus Productions)

Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz
“An Indigenous People’s History of the United States” (Beacon Press)

Peter J. Harris
“The Black Man of Happiness” (Black Man of Happiness Project)

Marlon James
“A Brief History of Seven Killings” (Riverhead Books)

Martin Kilson
“Transformation of the African American Intelligentsia, 1880–2012” (Harvard University Press)

Naomi Klein
“This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate” (Simon & Schuster)

Laila Lalami
“The Moor’s Account” (Pantheon)

Manuel Luis Martinez
“Los Duros” (Floricanto Press)

Craig Santos Perez
“from unincorporated territory [guma’]” (Omnidawn)

Carlos Santana, with Ashley Khan and Hal Miller
“The Universal Tone: Bringing My Story to Light” (Little, Brown and Company)

Ira Sukrungruang
“Southside Buddhist” (University of Tampa Press)

Astra Taylor
“The People’s Platform: Taking Back Power and Culture in the Digital Age” (Henry Holt)

Lifetime Achievement:
Anne Waldman


Filed under:English Arts and Sciences Faculty Awards