Peter Tillou-VENTURE SMITH Book Prize
This annual Book Prize recognizes an outstanding work of fiction, non-fiction, or poetry written in English by an unpublished West African author/scholar. The Prize enables a highly deserving and unrecognized writer to see his or her work widely recognized throughout North America, Europe, and Africa.
Peter Tillou, for whom this award is in part named, is a preeminent collector of rare antiquities, who has devoted many decades to supporting and promoting the work of highly talented but unknown creative artists. He is also a generous supporter of work that advances the cause of racial equality in the United States.
Venture Smith, whose name is also attached to the Book Prize, was born in West Africa in the early-18th century. He emancipated himself from slavery while a resident of Connecticut and then wrote and published his own compelling autobiography. His life and accomplishments express the spirit and intent of the Book Prize.
The Documenting Venture Smith Project in Torrington, Connecticut, a scholarly collaboration led by several distinguished historians, in collaboration with The John A. Kufuor Foundation in Accra, Ghana, will oversee the Book Prize. On even years the Prize will be awarded in the US and on odd years in West Africa.
The recipient of the Prize will be determined by a committee made up of highly distinguished scholars from West Africa, North America, and the United Kingdom. Several world-class scholars have already agreed to serve in this capacity.
The award includes the printing and distribution of his/her work, along with $5,000 to enable the winner to be present at the award ceremony, and to promote their book.
2,500 printed copies and an e-book edition will be designed, typeset, and printed by the Project. The book’s national and international promotion will be organized and distributed by the Documenting Venture Smith Project through its contracts with Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and others.
The Project will pay the author standard royalties on all sales.
Peter Tillou and Bruce Schnitzer awarded the first Peter Tillou – Venture Smith Book Prize to Kwadwo Opoku-Agyemang of Ghana for his book WISE EYES: The Anomabo Poems on November 3, 2018, at the Connecticut State Library in Hartford.
Simultaneously, in Accra, Ghana, former President John A. Kufuor and Chandler B. Saint presented copies of the Prize Winning book and the biography of Venture Smith to students from around Ghana.