Elizabeth Acevedo Wins NAACP Image Award in Fiction for ‘Family Lore’

Author Elizabeth Acevedo has won a NAACP Image Award in Fiction for her debut adult novel

Elizabeth Acevedo Family Lore

Credit: Denzel Golatt/HarperCollins

Dominican American poet and writer Elizabeth Acevedo has proven her skill as one of the best writers of her generation and her latest novel continues the trend of critical acclaim and accolades. She made her writing debut with the young adult novel The Poet X and later released her Young Adult books Clap When You Land and With the Fire on High, which landed a movie deal in 2019. Last year, she released her highly-anticipated debut adult novel Family Lore which follows the lives of a group of Dominican women and their daughters as they come to terms with their pasts and futures. Throughout the years, she has also received many accolades including the Carnegie Medal in 2019, making her the first writer of color to receive the honor. This week on March 13, it was announced that Acevedo had won an National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work in Fiction for the novel, recognizing her extraordinary achievement in literature. Other nominees in her category included authors Lola Akinmade Åkerström, Sadeqa Johnson, James McBride, and Jesmyn Ward.

“I loved this book. I loved this book and it went out into the world when I felt at my most vulnerable and I’m still trying to put language to all the ways my relationship to the text changed and changed again and ultimately, changed me,” Acevedo said in an Instagram post announcing the news. “One day I’ll talk about all these things when I have more distance, more clarity. But for now I’ll say, thank you to every reader of this novel. Thank you to every person who saw the art making, the experiments, and let me know they saw it and me. And thank you to the @naacpimageawards for choosing FAMILY LORE for this year’s literary award in fiction. May we all continue to make with wild abandon, with vast ambition; may we pit ourselves against the boundaries of craft with joy with dedication with love love love.”

The NAACP Image Awards were first organized in 1967 by activists and entertainers Maggie Hathaway, Sammy Davis Jr., and Willis Edwards. Since its inception, it’s been hosted annually to honor members of the Black community for their extraordinary work in film, television, theatre, music, and literature. There have been many Afro-Latinx nominees and award winners throughout the award’s history including Panamanian American actress Melissa De Sousa and Puerto Rican actress Ariana DeBose. This year, Colman Domingo, who is of Belizean and Guatemalan descent, was one of five award winners for Entertainer of the Year. This honorary award recognizes talent who have made a big impact on the entertainment industry overall. To see members of our community like Acevedo and Domingo celebrated and honored on such an important stage is inspiration and excitement for us all, and we can’t wait to see even more Afro-Latinx representation in future NAACP award ceremonies.

“I write for us. I write for us to see ourselves depicted with tenderness and nuance and ferocity and unflinching honesty,” she previously told HipLatina. I hope young Latinx readers, particularly if they are Afro-Latinx, see that they are allowed to be the heroes, they are allowed to live loudly and colorfully and with their whole selves. I hope they know they are seen and loved and that I’m rooting for, and cheering on, their triumphs.”

The NAACP Image Award ceremony will air on March 16, 2024 and will be available to view simultaneously on BET and CBS.

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