A historical fantasy set partly in Africa and a biography of a feminist poet were among the winners Tuesday night of the Hurston/Wright Legacy Awards, given annually to outstanding books by writers of African descent.
Maryse Conde's "Who Slashed Celanire's Throat," winner of the fiction prize, takes place at the turn of the 20th century and follows a woman's journey from Europe to Ivory Coast to her native Guadeloupe and South America as she seeks to discover who scarred her as a baby.
The nonfiction winner, Alexis De Veaux's "Warrior Poet," is the story of Audre Lorde, a self-described "black, lesbian, feminist, mother, poet warrior" who died of breast cancer in 1992 at age 58.
Other winners were Chris Abani's "Graceland" for best debut fiction, and Tracy Price-Thompson's "A Woman's Worth" for contemporary fiction.
Winners each received $10,000.
"Congratulations to the recipients for their hard work. We look forward to their future work. We have only scratched the surface of what is possible in black literature," Clyde McElvene, executive director of the Zora Neale Hurston/Richard Wright Foundation, said.
The foundation was started in 1990 to "develop, nurture and sustain the world community of writers of African descent."