Vol. XV, no. 2 TCU Library Newsletter, Web Edition April, 2003

Book Award to Jeff Guinn

Jeff Guinn, Fort Worth Star-Telegram books editor, is the winner of the second biennial TCU Texas Book Award for Our Land Before We Die.  Established two years ago by TCU, the Friends of the TCU Library, and the TCU Press, the award recognizes the best book on Texas published in the previous two calendar years.


Jeff GuinnWritten after seven years of research and more than two dozen interviews, Our Land Before We Die is a history of African runaway slaves who in the 18th century fled to Florida uniting with the Seminole Indians.  When the Seminoles lost their land in the Florida Everglades the Negro Seminoles were moved to Oklahoma Indian Territory and later migrated to Mexico.  Later they returned to Texas to help defend the border against other Indian tribes. They believed that with time they would someday have land of their own, a cry still echoed today by their descendants.

Bill Bryson called the story “A remarkable story brilliantly told” and James McBride, “an important American story here that has long needed telling, and {Guinn} tells it with passion, skill and humor.”  Iris Chang says “Jeff Guinn embarks on a personal quest to explore the heartbreaking—yet ultimately inspiring—legacy of the Seminole Negro

Indians in their search for freedom.”

Guinn will receive his award and the accompanying $5,000 prize on April 22nd at the Dee J. Kelly Alumni Center. Scott and Sally Mooring generously funded the prize this year in honor of Mary Mooring.  The Dinner is open to the public; tickets are $30 per person.  Our Land Before We Die: will be available for purchase and autographing. 

Also on April 22, Guinn will celebrate the anniversary of his 20 years with the Star-Telegram.  He began his career with the paper as a business reporter and later became the lead investigative reporter.  Subsequently he became a regular columnist, feature writer and has for the past four years been the books editor.   His first published book titled You Can’t Hit the Ball with the Bat on Your Shoulder, was coauthored with Bobby Bragan.  Seven more books followed including the popular, The Autobiography of Santa Claus: It’s Better to Give

Honorable mentions were awarded to John Graves and Wyman Meinzer for Texas Rivers; James Haley for Sam Houston and Clay Reynolds for Tentmaker. Judges were James Ward Lee (retired emeritus professor and former chair of English at the University of North Texas,  now acquisitions editor for TCU Press) Don Graham (J. Frank Dobie Professor of English and American Literature at the University of Texas at Austin), and

Thomas Pilkingham (University Scholar at Tarleton State University)

The previous winner was Stephen Harrigan for Gates of the Alamo.



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