June 21, 2010
WNBA Names Masha Hamilton Winner of 2010 WNBA Award
Masha Hamilton receives WNBA Award proclamation from award chair Lee Fairbend.
The Women’s National Book Association announces that Masha Hamilton has been chosen the winner of the 2010 WNBA Award. The award is presented by WNBA to a living American woman who derives part or all of her income from books and allied arts, and who has done meritorious work in the world of books beyond the duties or responsibilities of her profession or occupation.
Masha Hamilton is a novelist and former foreign correspondent. As a journalist, Masha worked for the Associated Press, reporting from the Middle East, and for the Los Angeles Times and NBC/Mutual Radio, reporting from the Soviet Union during its final years.
Masha’s fiction clearly draws on her close-up observation and knowledge of contemporary concerns and current events. She has written several award winning, critically acclaimed novels including The Camel Bookmobile (2007), about a traveling library in Africa that brings precious books to villagers. The Camel Bookmobile was selected as a Book Sense Choice by Independent Booksellers and earned starred reviews in both Booklist and Library Journal.
Most recently, Masha has written 31 Hours (2009), which the Washington Post selected as one of the best novels of 2009 and which was an Indie Choice pick by independent booksellers. Masha also teaches the craft of writing to other writers.
Masha doesn’t stop with writing novels. She turns her activities as an author into action, including the establishment of two literacy programs. From the experiences and knowledge gained from writing The Camel Bookmobile, Masha launched in 2007 the Camel Book Drive, a nonprofit enterprise that supplies books to a camel-born library in Kenya. Books are donated from individuals in the U.S. and other countries and these books are delivered as part of a lending library to rural villages in northeaster Kenya.
Rachel de Baer, Project Director, Afghan Women’s Writing Project; Masha Hamilton, founder of AWWP and WNBA Award honoree; Lee Fairbend, WNBA Award Chair; Valerie Tomaselli, WNBA Vice President; Karen Livecchia, WNBA-NYC Chapter President; Mary Grey James, WNBA President, at the March 2011 ceremony presenting the award to Ms. Hamilton.
Masha also established the Afghan Women’s Writing Project in 2009 “to foster creative and intellectual exchange between Afghan women writers and American women authors and teachers.” The website publishes the work of Afghan writers under the mentorship of AWWP participants, including authors, poets, essayists, memoirists, and others.
“These two activities reveal the depth of Masha’s commitment to the world of literacy and books beyond her own career. She is a sterling example of what the WNBA Award truly intends to honor—meritorious work in the world of books beyond her profession”, states Valerie Tomaselli, WNBA New York Chapter President.
The award has been presented continuously since 1940, at first annually, and since 1976 every other year. 2010 will mark the 53rd presentation of the WNBA Award.