International Latino Book Awards Celebrates 25 Years of Honoring Books By Latinos

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 16: Edward James Olmos attends the 2023 TCM Classic Film Festival on April 16, 2023 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Charley Gallay/Getty Images for TCM)

More than 100 authors will be recognized for their contributions to Latino literature on October 21 at Los Angeles City College.

Los Angeles, October 2023 — Empowering Latino Futures (ELF) announces that the 25th annual International Latino Book Awards (ILBF) will be held on October 21, 2023, on the campus of Los Angeles City College (Student Union) to recognize authors and their books by, for and about Latinos. With some 111 categories and winners in each, the awards represent a true celebration of literature about the Latino experience and assert the richness of literary traditions among and for the Latino community.

Since the awards were first handed out in 1998, under the support of award-winning actor Edward James Olmos, the International Latino Book Awards has grown to become the largest Latino literary and cultural awards event in the United States. Categories include Children, Young Adults, Nonfiction, Fiction, Poetry, and more.

Among the Nonfiction books, categories include History, Business, Arts, Cookbook, Science Women’s Issues, Best Autobiography, Health and Wellness, and more. Among the Fiction books, categories include Best Latino Focused Book, Adventure or Drama, Historical Fiction, Mystery, Fantasy, Science Fiction, Romance, and more.

There are even awards for eBooks, Audiobooks, Cover Design, Use of Photos or Illustrations, Translations and Books in Portuguese. Of special note are the themed awards that include the Dolores Huerta Best Cultural and Community Themed Book, the Hank Lacayo Best Labor Themed Book, the Best LGBTQ+ Themed Book, the Ambassador Julian Nava Best Educational Themed Book, and others. To round off this bounty of books, the Mariposa Awards is a very inspirational category because it represents awards given to first-time authors in five different categories.

“Since co-founding ELF and the first Latino Book and Family Festival, which led to the creation of the International Latino Book Awards,” says Edward James Olmos, actor and ELF chair, “I am continually amazed by the richness of literature in the Latino community. It is a story too little known and shared. Everyone should know about these books. This year’s awards are especially exciting because it is our 25th year, and I look forward to seeing all of everyone at this accomplishment for ELF – and for these authors.”

On October 21, authors, publishers, translators, and designers will gather at Los Angeles City College to find who the Gold, Silver, and Bronze medal winners will be. The awards ceremonies will be divided into two sessions: one at 1 p.m. for Non-fiction, Poetry, Translation, Mariposa, and other categories (with a luncheon break for attendees); followed by another session at 5 p.m. to honor the winners in the Fiction, Children and Young Adult Book categories.

It took more than 200 judges from all over the county to judge the more than 900 books that were submitted for consideration this year. “I have been a judge for about 14 years,” says Julia Abrantes, ELF board member, and former project manager for the Las Comadres and Friends National Latino Book Club, “and I am continually amazed by the quality and quantity of books that are received every year. Every judge is asked to evaluate each book for content, writing quality, and presentation among other considerations. We are even asked to note if the book would make for a good movie or television show, providing another opportunity or leading to some books. When I receive my box of books to judge, it’s like Christmas morning. I can’t wait to delve in.”

On a final note, ILBA also notes books that are worthy of honorable mention. Katharine A. Díaz, also part of ELF and the book awards since their inception, explains, “The ILBA judges are in a quandary every year. There are many top-notch books entered for consideration, but only a few books can win the top Gold, Silver, and Bronze medals. So, we prepare a list of honorable-mention books that are of award quality and that deserve your attention, too.”

2023 Partners: This year’s partners include AARP California, Amazon Literary Partnership, Blue Shield California, Google Transformation Tech, Hudson Pacific Properties, KPFK, Independent Book Publishers Association, Lantia, Las Comadres, Los Angeles City College, Los Angeles Community College District, MAAC, MiraCosta College, Molina Healthcare, MyPoint Credit Union, Sacramento City College, Sacramento Progressive Communities, San Diego County, TrueCare, and Watkins Wellness. Music is courtesy of Carlo Lopez and the Echo Park Project.


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