This association of book reviewers was established in 1981
to honor the work of local writers and to recognize exceptional
service in the field of literature among northern California
writers and publishers. Each year, the association also
gives awards to newly published books in fiction, nonfiction,
children's literature and poetry.
The Fred Cody Award is named after the founder and proprietor
of Cody's Books in Berkeley and one of the association's
founders. When Fred Cody died in 1983, the association created
the award to honor literary figures with an important body
of work who have given a great deal to northern California.
Past Cody Award winners include UC Berkeley lecturers Ishmael
Reed and Maxine Hong Kingston, as well as Gary Snyder, M.F.K.
Fisher, Wallace Stegner, Robert Hass, Lawrence Ferlinghetti,
Alice Walker and Adrienne Rich.
The award will be presented to Takaki on April 3, 2003,
in the Koret Auditorium of the San Francisco Main Library.
Takaki has taught in the Ethnic Studies Department at UC
Berkeley for 30 years, the same campus from which he earned
his Ph.D. in American History.
"This award has special meaning for me and also for the
Bay Area," Takaki said of the Fred Cody Award. "I was born,
politically and intellectually, at UC Berkeley. After I
entered the history Ph.D. program at Berkeley in 1961, I
was stirred by the moral vision of Martin Luther King and,
like many students, joined the civil rights movement." Takaki
wrote his dissertation on slavery.
Takaki helped found UC Berkeley's Ph.D. program in ethnic
studies, which was established in 1984 and was the first
of its kind in the country. He was also instrumental in
establishing the campus's American Cultures requirement,
which requires all undergraduates to complete a course designed
to broaden their understanding of racial and ethnic diversity.
He is the author of 11 books, including "Strangers from
a Different Shore: a History of Asian Americans" (Little,
Brown), which was selected by The New York Times as a "Notable
Book of the Year," and by the San Francisco Chronicle as
one of the best 100 nonfiction books of the 20th century.
Takaki is currently working on a television miniseries
based on his book, "A Different Mirror: A History of Multicultural
America" (Little, Brown), which was hailed by Publishers
Weekly as "a brilliant revisionist history of America that
is likely to become a classic of multicultural studies."