The first Author Awards were presented in 1992 as a small event held in Brooklyn, New York to recognize those authors and publishers that made significant contributions in the writing and publication of quality books for and about people of African descent. That year we honored Gloria Naylor for Bailey’s Café and New Authors of the Year Barbara Neely for Blanche on the Lam and Barbara Summers for Nouvelle Soul. We gave a publishing award to Beacon Press for their work in publishing authors of color. We were delighted when they all showed up to accept their awards. That was the beginning of a GOG tradition. The annual Author Awards event has travelled the United States from east to west as well as outside the U.S. to Jamaica, West Indies and Toronto, Canada.
Beginning in 1993, the one-night event became a three-day weekend where chapters meet and take care of business issues and celebrate the winning authors. It's also an opportunity for members to meet and reconnect with their literary sisters from all over the country.
Each year winning authors are selected from our reading list based upon votes from each Go On Girl! Book Club chapter for Author of the Year and New Author of the Year. They are then invited to receive their awards in person at the annual Awards Ceremony. GOG members and guests have had the honor of awarding in person to Pearl Cleage, Bebe Moore Campbell, Walter Mosely, Jill Nelson, Valerie Wilson Wesley, Diane McKinney Whetstone, Lawrence Hill, Daniel Black, Isabel Wilkerson to name a few.
This flagship event is one of the ways of expressing our deep authentic respect for Black literature and authors, reinvigorating our literary sisterhood, and providing a platform for new literary talent to emerge.