National Book Award winners announced

The winners of the US National Book Awards were announced yesterday with several upsets and controversial decisions.

Peter Carey was again pipped at the post for the fiction award by Jaimy Gordon for Lord of Misrule. The Wall Street Journal’s headline notes that the win “Scores Big For Small Publisher” as Bruce McPherson of McPherson publishing has suddenly found himself needing to fill “thousands of orders” for the winning novel. The author herself was “completely unprepared and… totally surprised” in her acceptance speech according to New York Times coverage.

Non-fiction winner Patti Smith had more to say on accepting the prize for non-fiction for her book Just Kids and made a plea for the future of the book. “I dreamed of having a book of my own, of writing one that I could put on a shelf. Please, no matter how we advance technologically, please don’t abandon the book. There is nothing in our material world more beautiful than the book.”

Other winners included young people’s literature to Kathryn Erskine for Mockingbird, the series that’s already being called “the next Twilight”, and poetry to Terrance Hayes for her collection Lighthead.

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