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2022 American Book Award!

I'm thrilled to share that my book has received an American Book Award (Walter & Lillian Lowenfels Award for Criticism) from the Before Columbus Foundation. You can read more about the award and the other winners here:

From the press release:

The American Book Awards were created to provide recognition for outstanding literary achievement from the entire spectrum of America’s diverse literary community. The purpose of the awards is to recognize literary excellence without limitations or restrictions. There are no categories, no nominees, and therefore no losers. The award winners range from well-known and established writers to under-recognized authors and first works. There are no quotas for diversity, the winners list simply reflects it as a natural process. The Before Columbus Foundation views American culture as inclusive and has always considered the term “multicultural” to be not a description of various categories, groups, or “special interests,” but rather as the definition of all of American literature. The Awards are not bestowed by an industry organization, but rather are a writers’ award given by other writers.

Justin Desmangles of the Before Columbus Foundation offers these kind words about the book:

Hear the word music and most often it will be in reference to a recording, so thoroughly has music been supplanted by its archiving devices. But what impact has this sudden departure from the ancient muses had on American literature? Jessica Teague has some answers; surprising, beautiful, and frequently vivacious answers. To begin, this great revolution in recording coincided with the even greater revolution in Jazz. This alone dramatically changed the way we not only hear, but how we write and what we hear when we read. Stranger still, how we hear what it is we write as we write it! Authors, musicians, creative writers, poets, were all transformed by the experience of recording and playing-back. The newsreel, the “talkie” and the first 78 rpm records turned the world of literature on its ear. Legendary composers and musicians could now “write” books from their own speaking voices, taken gently down on tape by interested archivists. Poets could interpolate the sounds they heard directly from records into their books, intimating what their inner-ear might have otherwise not so adamantly insisted. Emerging from all this cataclysm was a rebirth, the traumatic break with the past was also a fertile new harvesting of sound. Great composers such as “Jelly Roll” Morton and Sidney Bechet are given their due as authors by Teague, revealing the complexities of putting Black speech into print. Interpreters of the master improvisors in music, authors as diverse as the great Langston Hughes and the experimentalist Jack Kerouac, are given bountiful rendering in thought provoking analysis. Dystopic uses of recording and its technocratic nightmares are explored in the daunting works of William S. Burroughs. The pioneering search for a new aesthetic, embodying the struggle for self-determination among Blacks internationally, is explored with a significant chapter on Amiri Baraka. All in all, Teague’s work itself is pioneering, charting a territory very few have begun to enter. It is an area that Teague explores with wit, curiosity, tenacity, and a thoroughness all too rare in the field. We congratulate Teague and are elated to bring this honor to her work.
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