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Duende-Word BIPOC Bookseller Award Logo

2021 Annual BIPOC Bookseller Award

Duende District & The Word continue with the second annual BIPOC Bookseller Awards to celebrate and uplift the Black and Brown independent booksellers whose dedication to indie bookstores, and their Black, Indigenous and POC colleagues and communities, have touched and influenced countless lives.


All BIPOC who work in U.S. independent bookstores in any capacity are eligible to be nominated for the three categories (nominations for the same bookseller in multiple categories is allowed). The winning booksellers will be honored during #MarginsBookstores Month celebrations, and will receive a plaque and a $1000 prize.

Thank you to all who nominated for our 2021 award.  Congratulations to our wonderful 2021 winners!



This award is for the bookseller who goes above and beyond to advocate for Black and Brown booksellers and literary representation, in their stores and communities.


This award is for the bookseller whose vision, whether entrepreneurial or programmatic, has shown us what the future of the industry should be.


This award is for the bookseller who has dedicated their career to supporting, uplifting, and leading Black and Brown booksellers in their stores, communities, regions, and/or nationally, fighting for systemic change for all BIPOC in the bookstore industry.

2021 Award Winners!!


2021 Activism Award Winner

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Bookstore owner and seller Denise Chávez is a Fronteriza writer, bookseller, and activist for sentient life. She is the author of The King and Queen of Comezón, Loving Pedro Infante, A

Taco Testimony: Meditations on Family, Food and Culture and Face of An Angel, among other

works and has degrees in Theatre and Creative Writing.


Chávez is the Co-Founder, with Kari Lenander, Executive Director of The Border Servant Corps

(BSC) of Libros Para El Viaje, an ongoing Refugee, Migrant, and Asylum-seeker book initiative

that delivers books to Refugee and Migrant children and families on the U.S./Mexico border.

Casa Camino Real Bookstore, in collaboration with the ABA, collected thousands of

books donated by book sellers, bookstores, and publishers for the Libros program. The Libros program has distributed over 30,000 books in Spanish, Portuguese, French, and English to Refugee and Migrant families.

Currently Chávez is co-editing an upcoming anthology WE ARE HERE TO REPRESENT,

which will feature the work of multi-generational writers and artists telling the story of their

service to our Migrant families. 

She is a founding member of the American Bookselling Association Committee on Diversity,

Equity, and Inclusion.
*photo credit: Daniel Zolinsky



2021 Innovation Award Winner

Dartricia Rollins (pronouns: she/her) is the Assistant Director of Charis Circle, and a bookseller at Charis Books and More. She holds a Bachelor's of Science in Human Services with a concentration in Nonprofit Management and Social innovation and a minor in Gender and Sexuality Studies from Kennesaw State Univerity. Dartricia is an art and book collector and does research and program coordination for independent artists and scholars. 
Dartricia is a cultural worker and community organizer. She serves on the Board of Directors at Access Reproductive Care-Southeast and is a member of the Black Alliance for Peace (BAP) a people(s)-centered Human Rights project against war, repression, and imperialism.

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2021 Leadership Award Winner

Michelle Malonzo is a buyer at Changing Hands Bookstore in Tempe and Phoenix, AZ. She's on the board of directors of the American Booksellers Association (ABA) and Mountains & Plains Independent Booksellers Association (2018-2021) as well as a member of the ABA Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee. Michelle was a 2020 Bookselling Without Borders Fellow, a 2019 Kirkus Judge for Fiction and for nearly 10 years worked in publishing. 

2021 Nominees:

All of our 2021 nominees are incredible and creative booksellers. Thank you to all of you for all you do!


Abi Ayala-Oquendo, Alex Rhett, DeAndra Beard, Kathy M. Burnette, Lane Jacobson, Mariana Calderon,

Melanie Knight, Melinda Powers, Pilot Viruet, Read Davidson, Revati Kilaparti, Serena Morales, and

Troy Landrum Jr.

2021 Judges:

A big thank you to our 2021 judges!



WORD Bookstore

For Deidre Dumpson, the path to bookselling began when she was able to read books that allowed her to know that her circumstances were never permanent. It expanded when she found that the words and ideas she held on to from books allowed her to navigate the world with confidence and curiosity. It blossomed when she stumbled upon the revolutionary stories written by women of color while pursuing her Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies graduate degree. Deidre has served as a bookseller at both The Dolphin Bookshop and WORD Bookstores in New York. She is most passionate about literacy, education, and reading Black women's literature. 



Program Coordinator, The Word | A Storytelling Sanctuary

Aida Lilly is the Program Coordinator for The Word and an Associate Agent at KT Literary Agency who lives in the Denver area. She studied English and writing at the University of Montevallo and attended the Publishing Institute at the University of Denver. She holds an MA in Organizational Management with a specialization in Media Management. She previously managed a bookstore.



Townie Books and Rumors Coffee and Tea House

Arvin Ramgoolam is a writer and co-owner of Townie Books and Rumors Coffee and Tea House in Crested Butte, Colorado. He is the 2020 One Story Adina Talve-Goodman Fellow and a 2022 MacDowell Fellow. For 10 years he and his wife Danica have passionately endorsed books by diverse authors for readers of all ages. His stories can be found in The Normal School and The Jellyfish Review, You can find him on twitter @ArvinRam1. 



Thank you to our major donors!

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Additional Sponsors

Thank you to all our additional generous donors!

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