WASHINGTON, DC, Sep 21 – The winner of the 2017 Grateful American Book Prize is Margot Lee Shetterly, for her non-fiction work, HIDDEN FIGURES, a New York Times number one bestseller, which tells the story of the pioneering African-American women who overcame racial barriers at NASA in the 1960s. They played significant roles in the very early days of America’s space program.
“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,” David Bruce Smith, co-founder of the Prize, said in making the announcement of the 2017 Prize.
Ms. Shetterly’s book was published in November of 2016 by HarperCollins; the Academy Award nominated film version – also released last year – starred Taraji P. Henson, Janelle Monáe, Octavia Spencer and Kevin Costner.
Jennifer Latham’s DREAMLAND BURNING, a work of historical fiction – also about racial injustice – and Edward Cody Huddleston’s THE STORY OF JOHN QUINCY ADAMS 250 YEARS AFTER HIS BIRTH were selected to receive the Prize’s Honorable Mention Awards for 2017.
Dreamland Burning, published by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, with its focus on the Tulsa race riot of 1921, raises important questions about the complex state of US race relations – yesterday and today, according to one reviewer.
The Story of John Quincy Adams, produced by the Atlantic Publishing Group, examines the life of the sixth president of the United States, whose father, John Adams, was America’s second American president. “This work of historical nonfiction is likely to have a special appeal to young readers; despite his burdensome self-doubt, he was a constant achiever,” according to Smith.
The Prize, which carries an award of $13,000, and a medallion created by American artist, Clarice Smith, will be presented at an October 12th reception at The National Archives in Washington, D.C. Recipients of this year’s Honorable Mentions will also receive the medallion, and $500 each.