Quick Notes on the National Book Awards

National Book Awards, 2014
National Book Award Winners 2014

[Image from nationalbook.org]

I don’t have much time to write today so I wanted to cover some quick notes on the National Book Awards.

First, I wanted to say that they had a spectacular set of authors at the event. I was excited that Sharon Draper, Adam Johnson, Mary Pope Osborn, Neil Gaiman, Geraldine Brooks, and many other favorites were present. Ursula K. Le Guin delivered a wonderful acceptance speech for the Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters. I was even excited that Daniel Handler (Lemony Snicket) was there, until he ruined the evening with his tactless jokes. Thankfully he did the right thing and apologized.

The winners were interesting.

Jacqueline Woodson won with brown girl dreaming in the Young People’s Literature category. She was candid and happy. I was very excited to see her win.

Louise Glück won in the poetry category with Faithful and Virtuous NightShe was nearly in tears. After a few seconds to calm herself, she thanked the appropriate people and expressed how she was nominated before, but this was the first time she won. She also made a point to say how hard it is for the others that don’t win.

Evan Osnos won the nonfiction category with Age of AmbitionHe talked mostly about his respected parents, his connections with The New Yorker, and the people he had the chance to talk to in China. I remain in neutral territory about his winning.

Phil Kay won the fiction category for Redeployment. His acceptance speech almost had me in tears. He was a marine that served in Iraq for more than a year. As a veteran, he began writing about war and such to try and make sense of it all. While his speech was longer, I thought it was well deserved. I was also happy he won.

For more information about the winners, their books, and all of the finalists (short listed and long listed), click here.


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