Jesmyn Ward Wins National Book Award for ‘Sing, Unburied, Sing’

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The award for nonfiction went to Masha Gessen for “The Future Is History: How Totalitarianism Reclaimed Russia,” which chronicles the return of authoritarianism below Vladimir V. Putin by means of the lives of 4 Russians born within the 1980s.

“I never thought that a Russia book could ever be longlisted or shortlisted for the National Book Award, but of course things have changed,” Ms. Gessen stated in her acceptance speech, alluding to Russia’s interference within the 2016 American presidential election.

The National Book Awards, which had been established in 1950 and are introduced by the National Book Foundation, have gone to a number of the most revered writers within the United States, together with William Faulkner, Saul Bellow, Philip Roth, Ralph Ellison, Susan Sontag and Flannery O’Connor. This 12 months’s awards had been open to American authors who revealed books between Dec. 1, 2016, and Nov. 30, 2017.

The awards, which got at a black-tie dinner with near 800 company at Cipriani Wall Street in Manhattan, are sometimes probably the most glamorous literary occasion of the 12 months, drawing the business’s greatest names and gamers. This 12 months’s ceremony had further star energy, with the actress Cynthia Nixon internet hosting the ceremony, and former President Bill Clinton and the actress Anne Hathaway presenting awards.

“It’s a privilege to be in this room full of huge nerds, I feel right at home,” Ms. Nixon stated in her opening remarks.

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Masha Gessen was awarded this 12 months’s nonfiction prize “The Future Is History: How Totalitarianism Reclaimed Russia.”

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Naima Green for The New York Times

This 12 months’s ceremony got here at a comparatively optimistic second within the publishing business, as print gross sales have risen and the once-explosive development of e-books has fallen off. Publishers’ revenues grew by three.5 % within the first half of 2017 in contrast with the identical interval final 12 months, based on a current report from the Association of American Publishers, and hardcover print gross sales rose by practically 10 %.

Robin Benway’s younger grownup novel “Far From the Tree,” a coming-of-age story about an adopted solely little one who reconnects together with her siblings, received the award for younger folks’s literature.

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The poetry prize went to Frank Bidart for “Half-light: Collected Poems 1965-2016,” which the judges of their quotation referred to as “an investigation of selfhood that spans five decades of work and several hundred years of concerns.”

The Literarian Award, for “outstanding service to the American literary community,” was given to Richard Robinson, the chairman, president and chief govt of Scholastic, the kids’s publishing firm. Mr. Clinton, who introduced the award, praised Mr. Robinson’s efforts to spice up literacy charges and entry to books amongst kids by means of Scholastic’s school-based e-book golf equipment and e-book gala’s and nonprofit partnerships. “Because of people like Dick, the gap by race and ethnicity and income, in their readiness to start school, is closing rapidly,” Mr. Clinton stated. “All over this country there are people who are forming new neural networks at the speed of light, stimulated by books that would not be there were it not for his day job at Scholastic and his commitment to this kind of philanthropic work.”

Mr. Clinton added that he was personally grateful to Mr. Robinson as a result of “he sent Hillary and me copies of the Harry Potter books so we didn’t have to wait in line at bookstores.”

In his acceptance speech, Mr. Robinson famous that best-selling Scholastic titles, like “The Hunger Games,” “Harry Potter” and “Captain Underpants,” have “converted nonreaders into readers and made reading available to all.”

Annie Proulx, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of “The Shipping News,” “Barkskins” and different works, acquired the inspiration’s medal for distinguished contribution to American letters. Ms. Hathaway, who appeared in a movie adaptation of Ms. Proulx’s quick story “Brokeback Mountain” and introduced the award, praised Ms. Proulx’s potential to create “worlds that feel desolate and full, bleak and hopeful.”

“We are richer because of the deceptively simple, precise, devastating poetry of Ms. Proulx,” she stated.

Ms. Proulx, who was born in 1935, joked about the truth that she was getting a lifetime achievement award regardless that she didn’t begin writing till she was in her 50s. “I kept thinking about it and putting it off,” she stated.

In a forceful speech, Ms. Proulx expressed alarm on the present state of the world, citing the current spate of mbad shootings, the destruction of the surroundings, the unfold of misinformation over social media, threats of nuclear battle and revelations within the media about badual harbadment. “We don’t live in the best of all possible worlds,” she stated. “This is a Kafkaesque time.”

Women dominated the listing of finalists this 12 months, making up 15 of the 20 finalists in 4 clbades. Four out of 5 fiction finalists had been ladies: The fiction finalists included Min Jin Lee’s novel “Pachinko,” Lisa Ko’s debut novel “The Leavers,” Carmen Maria Machado’s debut quick story badortment “Her Body and Other Parties,” and Elliot Ackerman’s novel “Dark at the Crossing.”

“Don’t get me wrong, the men’s books are wonderful too,” Ms. Nixon stated after noting the prevalence of feminine authors this 12 months. “But shout out to the ladies.”

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