Friday, November 16, 2012

National Book Award Winners

On Wednesday, the National Book Awards were presented in New York. This is the equivalent of the Governor General's Literary Awards here in Canada, as the NBA also presents awards in several categories, such as fiction, non-fiction, children's literature and poetry.

The nominees for the fiction prize caused a minor stir among critics, especially this guy, as the short list was seen as pandering to popular criticism. In prior years, the NBA has been relatively literary organization, giving lesser-known authors recognition:
"This year it issued new instructions to the judges, in red ink no less, apparently as a signal to the judges that it was O.K. to nominate writers whose books were widely read. Critics had complained that in recent years judges had preferred little-known authors, which diminished the award’s stature."
 The fiction list was "the best-known list of nominees for fiction in years," including Junot Diaz, Dave Eggers, Ben Fountain, Lousie Erdrich and Kevin Powers. The winner was The Round House by Louise Erdrich:
"The Round House – already named book of the year by earlier this week – took the $10,000 National Book award for fiction at a ceremony in New York last night. Her novel, set on a reservation for the Native American Ojibwe people in 1988, follows the investigations of 13-year-old Joe into an assault on his traumatised mother."
Read about the rest of the winners, including the Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters for Elmore Leonard, here.

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