Posted on 11/21/2019 at 07:09 AM by Sadye Scott-Hainchek
The National Book Foundation handed out the 2019 National Book Awards last night.
The following five books emerged from a starting pool of more than 1,700 titles, earning $10,000 and an actual medal, are:
Fiction: Trust Exercise, by Susan Choi.
Nonfiction: The Yellow House, by Sarah M. Broom.
Poetry: Sight Lines, by Arthur Sze.
Translated literature: Baron Wenckheim’s Homecoming, written by László Krasznahorkai and translated by Ottilie Mulzet.
Young people's literature: 1919: The Year That Changed America, by Martin W. Sandler.
Broom, the winner of the nonfiction prize, told the audience that the awards are just as much for those who supported writers and cited her mother, who raised twelve children.
“As a child, I watched her every move, seeing her eyes fall upon every word everywhere — encountered in the grocery store, on a bus, pamphlets, the package labels, my high school textbooks,” she said, according to NPR.
“She was always wolfing down words, insatiable — which is how I learned the ways in which words were a kind of sustenance, could be a beautiful relief or a greatest assault.”
Choi, the fiction winner, also thanked a supporter: 2018 winner Sigrid Nunez, who convinced her to sit down and write the book.
“This book is collaboration more so than any other book I’ve written,” she said, according to the Guardian.
“Given what we’re all facing today I find it an astonishing privilege what I get to do every day. I get to lead a life centered on books and bring other people into that world.”
Edmund White won the Distinguished Contribution to American Letters medals for his trailblazing gay fiction — which depicted the everyday experience, not the “exotic” world of drag queens and hustlers — in the 1960s and 1970s.
White told the audience that some editors later admitted that they rejected his work out of fears their colleagues would suspect them of being gay and recalled how a book review called his work “too gay.”
“To go from being the most maligned to a highly lauded writer in a mere half-century is a stunning is astonishing indeed,” he added.
Among White’s best-known works are the semi autobiographical novel A Boy’s Own Story and the sex manual The Joy of Gay Sex.
The Literarian Award, which honors service to the literary community, went to Oren J. Teicher, chief executive at the American Booksellers Association.
You can read more about the winners and why judges chose them on the National Book Awards' website.
Categories: Today in Books