NEW YORK — Debut novelist Yaa Gyasi and longtime author-activist Nancy Mercado are among this year’s winners of American Book Awards for contributions to diversity in American literature.

Gyasi was cited Friday for her acclaimed “Homegoing.” Mercado, a key member of the Nuyorican literary movement, was given a lifetime achievement prize. The awards are presented by the Before Columbus Foundation, a not-for-profit organization founded in 1976 by author-activist Ishmael Reed and dedicated to promoting multiculturalism.

Other winners Friday include such nonfiction authors as Flores A. Forbes for “Invisible Men” and Patrick Phillips for “Blood at the Root.” Poet Solmaz Shariz was honored for her debut collection “Look” and Randa Jarrar for her story collection “Him, Me, Muhammad Ali.”

Previous recipients of the awards include Toni Morrison, Louise Erdrich and Sherman Alexie.


This story has been corrected to show the name of Gyasi’s book is “Homegoing,” not “Homecoming.”