Awards: Grateful American; New Mexico, Arizona Book

Margot Lee Shetterly has won the $13,000 2017 Grateful American Book Prize for Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race (HarperCollins), which was the basis for the Oscar-nominated film of the same name.

David Bruce Smith, co-founder of the prize, commented about the book's subject: "They were called 'computers' where they worked and were largely dismissed until the authorities at the space agency's Langley Memorial Aeronautical Laboratory in Virginia realized that their help was indispensible if the U.S. was to prevail over the Soviet Union in the conquest of space. Despite the rampant racism of the times, four mathematicians, Dorothy Vaughan, Mary Jackson, Katherine Johnson and Christine Darden, showed they had the right stuff. Using primitive tools by today's standards--pencils and adding machines--they calculated the trajectories that would successfully launch America's first astronauts into outer space."

Honorable mentions went to:

Dreamland Burning by Jennifer Latham (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers), about the Tulsa race riot of 1921.

The Story of John Quincy Adams 250 Years after His Birth by Edward Cody Huddleston (Atlantic Publishing Group).

Awards will be presented on October 12 at a reception at the National Archives in Washington, D.C.


Finalists in the 61 categories of the 2017 New Mexico & Arizona Book Awards have been announced and can be seen here. Winner will be announced at a dinner in Albuquerque, N.Mex., on November 17.

In addition, the Friends of New Mexico Books Award is being presented to Jill Lane, director of the Anderson-Abruzzo Albuquerque Balloon Museum Foundation. She is an author, partner with Travelin' Jack and "was the force behind" the Chama Book Fair and the current Balloon Museum Holiday Book Fair.

The New Mexico Literary Award is being presented to Janet and Art Brennan, founders of Casa de Snapdragon publishing company in Albuquerque. They have been active members of the New Mexico Book Association, PubWest and the New Mexico Book Co-op, helping New Mexico Books and authors.

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