National Book Awards at SHSU: 2018

by Bianca Saldierna

The National Book Awards Festival returned to Sam Houston State University this April as part of an annual tradition. The NBAF–sponsored by the College of Humanities and Social Sciences and the Master of Fine Arts Program in Creative Writing, Editing, and Publishing, and spearheaded by Amanda Nowlin-Obanion–brought three recent NBA finalist and winners to our university.

This year, Lisa Ko, Danez Smith, and Jason Reynolds joined us for a reception and a mainstage reading & discussion which was free and open to the public. Jason Reynolds, a New York Times bestselling author, was the 2016 Finalist in Young People’s Literature for his book Ghost and the 2017 Finalist for his book Long Way Down.

SHSU, LEAP Center, LEAP Ambassadors, National Book Awards at SHSU, Jason Reynolds

Danez Smith was the 2017 Finalist in poetry for Don’t Call Us Dead. Lisa Ko, was the 2017 Finalist in Fiction for her book The Leavers.

SHSU, LEAP Center, LEAP Ambassadors, National Book Awards at SHSU, Lisa Ko

The LEAP Ambassadors are always honored to have the opportunity to meet inspiring and talented people such as these authors.

For the reception, Beatriz and I joined the visiting authors and several important and well-known community and university figures such as President Dana Hoyt, Mayor Andy Brauninger, Provost Dick Eglsaer, Vice Provost Mary Robbins, Dean Phillip Lyons, and LEAP’s life-long friends, the Woodwards! Throughout the evening, we enjoyed the delicious finger food and interesting conversations that echoed through the room. Certainly, attending to the reception served us well, as we are a few weeks away from graduation and we needed people who inspired us to live our lives more fully and creatively!

Thank you to the organizers for all their hard work and for giving us the opportunity to attend share an evening with them.


Author: mikeyawn

Mike Yawn teaches at Sam Houston State University. In the past few years, he has taught courses on Politics & Film, Public Policy, the Presidency, Media & Politics, Congress, Statistics, Research & Writing, Field Research, and Public Opinion. He has published academic papers in the Journal of Politics, Political Behavior, Social Security Quarterly, Film & History, American Politics Review, and contributed a chapter to the textbook Politics and Film. He also contributes columns, news analysis, and news stories to newspapers such as the Houston Chronicle, San Antonio Express News, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Stamford Advocate, Greenwich Time, Huron Daily Tribune, Laredo Morning Times, Beaumont Enterprise, Connecticut Post, and Midland Reporter Telegram. Yawn is also active in his local community, serving on the board of directors of the local YMCA and Friends of the Wynne. Previously, he served on the Huntsville's Promise and Stan Musial World Series Boards of Directors. In 2007-2008, Yawn was one of eight scholars across the nation named as a Carnegie Civic Engagement Scholar by the Carnegie Foundation.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: