Becoming Ms. Burton by Susan Burton (New Press), a memoir written with Cari Lynn, has won the inaugural Goddard Riverside Stephan Russo Book Prize for Social Justice, which "celebrates the power of the written word to create change in the name of justice for all people."
The organizers described the winning book as tracing Burton's "life from an abusive childhood through teen motherhood--and the tragic loss of her five-year-old son to a hit-and-run driver. With no access to counseling for her grief, Burton self-medicated with alcohol and cocaine. Six prison terms later, she finally got the treatment she needed and began to heal. Now Burton runs a network of safe houses in Los Angeles that help formerly incarcerated women start new lives through education and employment."
"Becoming Ms. Burton is both an unforgettable autobiography and a powerful call to reform our criminal justice system," said Josh Marwell, president of sales at HarperCollins and Book Prize spokesperson. "We could not have found a better book to express the ideals of this award."
Finalists have been named in 15 categories for the 12th annual Bord Gáis Energy Irish Book Awards, which were created to "celebrate the extraordinary quality of Irish writing, to help bring the best books to a wider readership annually, and to promote an industry under severe competitive pressures."
Winners will be announced November 28 at a gala ceremony in Dublin, where David Walliams will receive the 2017 Bord Gáis Energy International Recognition Award "in recognition of his significant contribution to children's literature in the past decade." Check out the complete Irish Book Awards shortlists for fiction and nonfiction here.