Barack Obama prevailed last night over two former U.S. presidents—Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter—to win a 2008 Grammy Award for the spoken-word recording of his book The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream (Random House Audio, 2006). Obama received his first Grammy in 2005 for the audio recording of Dreams From My Father (Random House Audio, 2005).
Clinton was nominated for Giving: How Each of Us Can Change the World (Random House Audio, 2007) and Carter for Sunday Mornings in Plains: Bringing Peace to a Changing World (Simon & Schuster Audio, 2007). Other spoken-word finalists were Maya Angelou for Celebrations (Random House Audio, 2006) and Alan Alda for Things I Overheard While Talking to Myself (Random House Audio, 2007).
In other awards news, the winners of the first Essence Literary Awards, to be awarded annually, were announced last night during a ceremony in New York City. Tracy K. Smith won the prize in poetry for Duende (Graywolf Press), Margaret Cezair-Thompson won in fiction for The Pirate’s Daughter (Unbridled Books), and Edwidge Danticat won in memoir for Brother, I’m Dying (Knopf). Best-selling author Terry McMillan received a Lifetime Achievement Award. The awards gala helped launch Essence’s "Save Our Libraries" campaign, which will begin by raising funds for Countee Cullen Regional Library in Harlem.