“A Rebel’s Outcry,” published by the Little Tokyo Historical Society, recently received the Commonwealth Club’s California Book Award.
The book, which honors the legacy of Japanese American human rights activist and community leader Sei Fujii (1882-1954), with lessons for the civil rights struggle today, was recognized in the category of Contribution to Publishing.
This publication has been a passion project of Jeffrey Gee Chin and Fumiko Carole Fujita for over a decade, complete with detailed photographs, illustrations, and historical documents. “A Rebel’s Outcry” is based on the official biography on Fujii “Rafu Gigyu Ondo” (1983) by Kenichi Sato, who was commissioned by the Kashu Mainichi (Japan-California Daily News). The text was translated by Saeko Higa-Dickinson and edited by Naomi Hirahara, with layouts by Amy Inouye (Future Studio) and original artwork by Takashi Uchida.
The effort to recognize Fujii also produced a film, “Lil Tokyo Reporter,” and a monument in Little Tokyo’s Japanese Village Plaza.
The winners of the 91st annual California Book Awards will be celebrated on Monday, June 6, during an online program. To register, go to: https://tinyurl.com/yc9wur9r
Since 1931, the California Book Awards have honored the exceptional literary merit of California writers and publishers. Each year a select jury considers hundreds of books from around the state in search of the very best in literary achievement. Over its 90 years, the California Book Awards have honored the writers who have come to define California to the world. Among them are John Steinbeck, Wallace Stegner, MFK Fisher, Thom Gunn, Richard Rodriquez, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Joan Didion, Ishmael Reed, and Amy Tan.
Recent award winners include Hector Tobar, Viet Thanh Nguyen, Susan Orlean, Rachel Kushner, Rachel Khong, Tommy Orange, Morgan Parker and Steph Cha.
This year’s Gold Medal winners include:
Fiction — Shruti Swamy for “The Archer” (Algonquin Books, an imprint of Workman Publishing, Hachette Book Group)
First Fiction — “Skinship” byYoon Choi(Alfred A. Knopf)
Juvenile — “Wishes” byMượn Thị Văn and Victo Ngai (Orchard Books, an imprint of Scholastic Inc.)
Silver Medal winners for fiction include “The Committed” byViet Thanh Nguyen (Grove Atlantic).