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Duende-Word BIPOC Bookseller Award Logo



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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.

Nominate Now!  Nominations are open through August 22, 2021. Submit your nominations via this form.



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.

2020 Award Winners!!

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2020 Activism Award Winner


Serena Morales is a Kanaka Maoli and Latinx poet and bookseller from the Big Island of Hawai’i. In 2020, Serena was awarded the Independent Bookseller Scholarship from Tin House Summer Workshops. Currently based in Canarsee/Lenape lands (Brooklyn, New York), Serena works at Books Are Magic, where they help to organize events and champion the works of BIPOC authors.


2020 Innovation Award Winner


Inspired by her personal experience as the daughter of Mexican Immigrants, as well as an art instillation/traveling Spanish bookstore titled "Librería Donceles" by artist Pablo Helguera, owner Rosaura (Chawa) Magaña decided to start her bilingual bookstore. She began with only a few books and an idea fueled by passion and ganas. With some help from the community and her determination, Palabras has evolved into a unique community and cultural space with thousands of books, an art gallery, and a workshop/event space.

​Palabras provides the Phoenix community with books in Spanish and English, with an emphasis on diverse cultural representation of authors and social awareness. Palabras is much more than a bookstore. It is a safe and encouraging environment for inter-cultural community exchange, providing the community with opportunities to share literary, visual, and musical art through workshops and events.

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2020 Leadership Award Winner


Hannah Oliver Depp is the owner of Loyalty Bookstores in Petworth, DC, and Silver Spring, MD. Loyalty serves all readers as a diverse, intersectional feminist bookstore and programming space. She holds a Masters in English from American University. Oliver Depp is a founding member of the American Bookselling Association Committee on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion and serves on the boards of Bookshop.org and the New Atlantic Independent Bookselller’s Assocation. 

2020 Nominees:

All of our 2020 nominees are incredible and creative booksellers. Thank you to all of you for all you do!


Blisse Wilson-Robinson (Milan), Brein Lopez, Christian Vega, Cliff Helm, Cristina Rodriguez, Deidre Dumpson, Denise Chavez, 

Destinee Hodge, Eugenia Vela, Gilbert Martinez, Ikwo Ntekim, Jeff Slim, Jessica Williams-Sullivan, Josiah Luis Alderete, Julia Hobart, 

Kathy M. Burnette, Latanya Devaughn, Leonard and Clarissa Egerton, Lorielle Hollaway, Luis Correa, Mariana Calderon, 

Melanie Knight, Michelle Malonzo, Milan Wilson Robinson, Patrice Mckinney, Paul Yamazaki, Riley Jay Davis, Stephanie Seales, 

Tom Hamilton, Uriel Perez, Valinda Miller, and Veronica Liu

2020 Judges:

A big thank you to our 2020 judges!


Brain Lair Bookstore


Kathy M Burnette (Black, she/her) is a school librarian turned bookseller. She owns Brain Lair Books, which specializes in diverse books and discussion.  Brain Lair Books partners with several local organizations to bring authors and illustrators in for visits. This mission-driven bookstore fundraises for local schools and other organizations that support children from underrepresented populations providing free books and supplies to local families.


Program Coordinator, The Word


Originally from Alabama, Aida Lilly moved to Denver, Colorado, in early 2016. 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 and is now an Associate Agent at KT Literary Agency


Duende District


Angela Maria Spring is the owner of Duende District, a mobile boutique bookstore by and for people of color. She holds an M.F.A. from Sarah Lawrence College and is on the board of the American Booksellers Association. You can find her recent poems in PANK, Radar Poetry, and Glass: A Journal of Poetry, and forthcoming in Borderlands: Texas Poetry Review, and Pilgrimage. Her essays and reviews are at Catapult, LitHub, and Tor.com. Follow her online at Twitter at @BurquenaBoricua.



We thank Bookshop.org, our major 2020 sponsor, who helped bring this award to life!

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