Invitation to Nominate for the 2016 Carey McWilliams Award

To the California Studies Association community:

Each year, the California Studies Association gives the Carey McWilliams Award to a writer, scholar or artist who lives up to the best tradition of McWilliams’ work. That is, someone whose artistic vision, moral force and intellectual clarity gives voice to the people of California, their needs and desires, sufferings, struggles and triumphs.

Last fall, we awarded the Japanese American playwright, Hiroshi Kashiwagi.

Hiroshi Kashiwagi was born in Sacramento in 1922, and grew up in Loomis.  In 1942, he and his family were incarcerated at Tule Lake concentration camp, in northeastern California, including when the Tule Lake camp became a high-security “segregation center” for Japanese Americans who were classified as “disloyal” by the federal government’s deeply flawed loyalty review process. Kashiwagi was one of 5,000 Tule Lake prisoners who renounced their American citizenship, and it was not until 1959 that the government finally restored full citizenship rights to him and most of the other renunciants.

After the war, Kashiwagi received a BA from UCLA and an MA from UC Berkeley.  He became a noted poet, playwright, actor, and author.  He also served for many years as a San Francisco public librarian. Throughout his adult life, he’s been a vocal activist and advocate for Japanese American redress and civil rights in general.

In 2011, President Obama invited Kashiwagi to participate in a White House evening of poetry and prose. In 2015, he was among a group of prominent Japanese Americans who met with Muslim American leaders to protest the rise of anti-Muslim prejudice and the use of the wartime internment as precedent for anti-Muslim policies.

Among his publications: “Starting From Loomis and Other Stories” (2013) and “Swimming the American, a Memoir and Selected Writings” (2005).

At our event in the fall, Mr. Kashiwagi delivered a vivid reading of his work, and the afternoon was moving and powerful. 

This year, we are asking members of the California Studies community to nominate a person they feel best fits the spirit of the award.

To nominate someone for the award, please use this online form.

To see the list of past awardees, please visit our website.

Submissions must be received by May 24, 2016. 

The California Studies Association Steering Committee will meet in late May to deliberate over the nominations and select this year’s award winner. 

Thank you to all for making this organization a vibrant public space to discuss the politics, culture, and environments of California. We look forward to seeing you at the 2016 Carey McWilliams award event!


The California Studies Association Board