Randall Horton's Hook Wins GLCA New Writers Award for 2017

We are incredibly proud to acknowledge that Randall Horton’s Hook has won the Great Lakes College Association New Writers Award for 2017 in the category of creative nonfiction. Other titles earning the GLCA New Writers Award this year include Nate Marshall’s Wild Hundreds in the category of poetry, and Charles Boyer’s History’s Child in the category of fiction.


As a small press, we consider this recognition a great honor, extending our congratulations to Randall and our gracious thanks to the Great Lakes College Association.


Learn more about Hook here.

PHOTO RECAP: Randall Horton’s Hook Release Event

On Friday, November 20th, Augury joined forces with African Voices Magazine to host a night in celebration of the launch of Randall Horton’s Hook. The event featured many special guests and close friends of Horton, who read from their own work, shared anecdotes, and ultimately all expressed a collective feeling of joy for what Hook has become. Our dear friend Dave Bledsoe is credited with all of these photos.

Julia Judge, Mike Miller, Kimberly Steele, Randall Horton, Kate Angus, Nicolas Amara, Carolyn Butts, and Ian Lloyd.


Randall Horton signing copies of Hook.


The crowd at African Voices’ Upper West Side space.


Nkosi Nkululeko.


Tyehimba Jess.


Sally Ann Hard.


Hettie Jones.


Becky Thompson


Linda Perez.


Randall Horton reading from Hook.



Randall Horton and Linda Perez.



Randall Horton’s author page.

Book Cover Debut: Randall Horton’s ‘Hook’

Hook cover

Original Cover Art by Michael Miller

Augury Books is excited to join Randall Horton and designer Michael Miller in unveiling the cover art for the upcoming Hook (2015).

Hook: A Memoir is a gripping story of transformation. Without excuse or indulgence, author and educator Randall Horton explores his downward spiral from unassuming Howard University undergraduate to homeless drug addict, international cocaine smuggler, and incarcerated felon—before showing us the redemptive role that writing and literature played in helping him reclaim his life. The multilayered narrative bridges past and present through both the vivid portrayal of Horton’s singular experiences and his correspondence in letters with the anonymous Lxxxx, a Latina woman awaiting trial. Hook explores race and social construction in America, the forgotten lives within the prison industrial complex, and the resilience of the human spirit.

Read author bio and praise for Hook.

Augury’s Reading Period Is Open for Prose and Poetry May 1 – July 31, 2015:

Submit now via Submittable, and thank you for your interest in Augury Books!

Upcoming Readings by ‘Hook’ Author Randall Horton

Photo: Rachel Eliza Griffiths

Augury is excited to announce some upcoming readings from Randall Horton, author of Hook, forthcoming from Augury Books in 2015.


June 12th, 6-8pm: 

CUNY School of Professional Studies

Joseph S. Murphy Institute for Worker Education, Urban and Labor Studies

25 West 43rd Street, New York, NY.


June 13th, 1pm:

Worker Writers Summer School on Governor’s Island

Building #20A in Nolan Park.


June 16th, 8pm:

Over the Eight

594 Union Avenue, Williamsburg, Brooklyn.


In addition to these readings, Horton will be reading with Meg Kearney and Anne-Marie Oomen on Saturday, July 11 at 7:30 pm. This will include readings from Hook: A Memoir, as well as his poetry collection Pitch Dark Anarchy. Readings will be held in the Founder’s Room of Pine Manor College, 400 Heath Street, Chestnut Hill, and are free and open to the public.

Check out an excerpt from Hook on our blog.


Augury Books’ spring/summer 2015 reading period is now open for submissions in poetry and prose. For guidelines and general information, please visit our submissions page.

Randall Horton Featured in 2015 PEN World Voices Anthology

Carleton Watkins’ Among The Tree Tops Calaveras Grove (1829), courtesy of the Public Domain Review

We would like to congratulate Randall Horton on having an excerpt from Hook: A Memoir through Letters featured in the 2015 PEN World Voices Online Anthology. Hook is forthcoming from Augury Books in 2015. The PEN collection is comprised of prose, poetry, and dramatic writing from the participants of this year’s World Voices Festival. Among the other authors included are Nathalie Handal, Zoe Pilger, and Cormac James.

PEN’s World Voices Festival, running from May 4th to the 10th, celebrates literature from all over the globe. This year’s theme, On Africa, strives to make heard the voices of contemporary African artists.

The full PWV Anthology can be read online here. New writings are added weekly.

More on Randall Horton

Randall Horton Featured on Poetry Society of America

Image from James C. Watson’s A Popular Treatise on Comets, courtesy of the Public Domain Review

Randall Horton‘s poem “When Winter is a Transitional State” was recently featured on the Poetry Society of America‘s website. The Poetry Society of America is the oldest poetry organization in the country, and its mission is to foster an interest in poetry and to support poets nationwide. Horton discussed his thoughts on the poem:

I wanted to explore what an unconventional love looks like. To most of the outside world, this kind of love would seem abnormal. I worked within the freedom and constraint of the couplet form, going for the duality of thought within the speaker’s mind.”

To read the full poem and Horton’s commentary, click here.

Horton’s second memoir is forthcoming from Augury Books in 2015.

More on Randall Horton

Randall Horton Featured in OF NOTE magazine

From Robert Thornton’s Temple of Flora courtesy of the Public Domain Review

Randall Horton has been featured in The Imprisoned Issue of OF NOTE magazine. OF NOTE magazine is an online journal that features individuals using the arts to promote social activism. Sally-Ann Hard, in reviewing Horton’s work, discusses the importance of spreading awareness about life in prison.

Randall Horton’s poems are the work of a knowing, compassionate witness. He lays out reasons why we should care, why we should be moved to action and why our treatment of people who are imprisoned is an indictment against our moral, ethical and societal values. Writing, in part to relieve the guilt of the choices he made in his own past, his poems ask us to question what kind of justice we have.

We need these poems.”

Read the full review here.

Randall Horton’s book is forthcoming from Augury Books in 2015. Read more on Horton.

An Excerpt From "Letters to Lxxxx" by Randall Horton, Augury Books’ 2015 Prose Selection

Photo: Rachel Eliza Griffiths

Dear Lxxxx,

We script our lives on reaction rather than action, meaning our daily life is always in response to, or a reply to, a command or demand. The world uses us in that way—we are the backsided-brainwash of society’s failure—the aftersound of oppression, but we know this maxim, and yet become willing participants to our own commodification. The world does this to us—holds us down. Then too, I’ve been thinking about the question you pose with regards to women and believing. Perhaps images and how we nurture young women as a society creates this insecurity. The American Dream chokes little girl’s dreams insomuch as not all of them will be able to live up to ideal beauty as constructed by benefactors of the dominant narrative, or those who dictate the ebb and flow of how we live. Beauty is a dangerous thing, and understand, Brown and Black women historically bear the weight of civilization, in addition to their own weight, which, at times, can be daunting. But more than that, the male plays a role in this insecurity, especially in these so-called streets, by his rejection of the woman as equal counterpart and anything other than “sexual object.” We just wanna love and have some warm body love us back—objectification is a delicate balance.

In other words, I saw it play out often with men who dominated women to the point they broke their spirit and stole their sound. The women couldn’t speak of their own oppression because they had no language to express the unimaginable, reminding me of Pudding and Sunshine who prostituted. Pudding was her abuser wrapped in a six-foot frame complete with a gold tooth. Sunshine adored Pudding so much she strolled around Logan Circle in DC every night selling the one commodity she knew well, and that was her[self]. Here’s the oxymoron: Sunshine never saw the light. Darkness choked her to death. She never got to understand we are the shadows in the dark novelist Toni Morrison talks about. We play between histories. Our sound originates from the breaking of sound—and then again. Like life, language is only the beginning and perhaps in its death, too, comes a new beginning, a new language.

At any moment I am inside your peripheral vision, imagining with exact description, the six by nine cell you sleep in, in all its isolation because this is, indeed, something I can reinvent from memory. The gray cinderblock serving as the prison’s architectural foundation is always already present. The dull silver ambiance from the metal toilet emits a lackluster glow. Blue could be the sky’s temperament on a November day when the fading brown leaves, that once seemed verdant, swirl from trees nowhere in sight as you struggle to breathe free air. Lxxxx, I have been thinking long and hard with regards to confinement, and the bordering of color, and how we as a society have imprisoned ourselves within the complexity of skin, as if human survival depends on this one specific thing.

Of course, I could make a conscious effort to avoid color or not invade your personal space trying to make a parallelism, but history can be unforgiving in how the past (re)constructs the future, whether we acknowledge it or not. For some reason, I feel our histories and futures intersect insomuch as we come from the same memory. In other words, I have inhabited the cell door clang, and I can’t ever escape that stagnant image of the pinstripe inmate constructed. There it is again, that word: construct or construction, which is another word for confinement on someone else’s term, a sort of deliberate scaffolding of a misguided structure. If I could go back to that initial moment after the formulation of earth—I’m talking about the first glorious sunrise after the Big Bang. Have you ever wondered what that feeling could have been like? If only someone could have been present after the bang—the explosion of particle-antiparticle into space-universal—suspended liquefied darkness. In the beginning a delayed oceanic swirl lacked blue, foliage lacked green—: construction had not begun. If only someone could have stopped progress at that precise moment. To see something neoteric and novel coming off the horizon must’ve been glory hallelujah.

Randall Horton is the recipient of the Gwendolyn Brooks Poetry Award, the Bea Gonzalez Poetry Award and most recently a National Endowment of the Arts Fellowship in Literature. Randall is a Cave Canem Fellow, a member of the Affrilachian Poets and a member of The Symphony: The House that Etheridge Built. Randall is Assistant Professor of English at the University of New Haven. An excerpt from his memoir titled Roxbury is published by Kattywompus Press. Triquarterly/Northwestern University Press is the publisher of his latest poetry collection Pitch Dark Anarchy.