2013 New Visions Award Winners

New York, NY—April 11, 2013—Tu Books, the science fiction, fantasy, and mystery imprint of respected multicultural children’s publisher LEE & LOW BOOKS, is thrilled to announce that author Valynne Maetani has won its first annual New Visions Award for her young adult mystery novel, Remnants of the Rising Sun. The New Visions writing contest was established to encourage new talent and to offer authors of color a chance to break into a tough and predominantly white market. The award honors a fantasy, science fiction, or mystery novel for young readers by an author of color who has not previously published a novel for that age group.

Remnants of the Rising Sun is about a Japanese American teenage girl, Claire Takata, whose life is turned upside down when she discovers her father was a member of the Japanese mafia, Yakuza. “As kids, my brothers and I loved to watch Yakuza movies with our grandpa,” Maetani says. “I knew that I wanted to write a mystery, and I knew that I wanted my book to reflect my Japanese roots. The intrigue of the mafia made the Yakuza a perfect fit.” Maetani will receive a cash grant of $1,000 and a publication contract with Tu Books.

Rahul Kanakia’s novel This Beautiful Fever has been chosen as a New Visions Award Honor. The novel, an alternative history, asks the question: what if a disease like AIDS made people beautiful and powerful for a few years before it ruined them?

On writing This Beautiful Fever, Kanakia says, “I just was not at all sure that it was possible to sell a YA novel with a protagonist who was both [queer and a person of color]. . . . Because of this contest, my novel exists in a form that it wouldn’t have otherwise had: I was able to overcome that mental block and write that book about a queer Indian kid that I always should have been writing.” Kanakia will receive a cash grant of $500.

Last year, books by authors of color comprised less than seven percent of the total number of books published for young readers, according to the Cooperative Children’s Book Center at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. The annual New Visions Award is a step toward the day when all young readers can see themselves in books.

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