NEW YORK (AP) – Jason Mott’s “Hell of a Book”, a surreal meta-narrative about an author’s promotional tour and his haunted past and present, won the National Book Award for fiction – a twist that Mott had not imagined for himself.
“Hell of a Book” is a satirical version of a black writer’s adventures on the road for a promotional tour – Mott himself has had his fair share of experiences speaking of earlier works such as his first novel “The Returned “- and a story of racial violence and identity, drawing on recent headlines and the author’s childhood.
“I would like to dedicate this award to all the other crazy kids, to all the strangers, the weirdos, the bullies, those so weird that they had no choice but to be misunderstood by the world and those around them. “, Mott, 43 years old. , said in his acceptance speech.
He also quoted “those who, despite this, refuse to go beyond their imagination, refuse to give up their dreams, refuse to deny, to diminish their identity, or their truths, or their loves – unlike so many others”.
“Everything She Wore: The Trip of Ashley’s Bag, A Keepsake of the Black Family” by Tiya Miles was the winner for the non-fiction.
Malinda Lo’s “Last Night at the Telegraph Club” – a same-sex and cross-cultural love story set in the 1950s – won the Children’s Literature Award.
The poetry prize went to “Floaters” by Martín Espada and the best translation to “Winter in Sokcho” by Elisa Shua Dusapin, translated from French by Aneesa Abbas Higgins.
The winners of the competitive Wednesday night categories each receive $ 10,000.
Two honorary awards were presented: playwright Karen Tei Yamashita received a Lifetime Achievement Medal for distinguished contribution to American literature, and NPR author-librarian-commentator Nancy Pearl received the literary award for outstanding service to the American literary community.
The 72nd annual awards were presented by the nonprofit National Book Foundation. While other literary events such as the annual PEN America Gala were held in person this fall, the Foundation decided in September to host a virtual ceremony for the second year in a row.
Yamashita and Pearl were among the winners who spoke of a precarious gift, worrying about the surge in efforts to censor books in schools and libraries and the violent attacks on racial minorities.
The juries reviewed more than 1,800 submitted books. This year’s judges included acclaimed authors like Eula Biss, Ilya Kaminsky, and Charles Yu, the 2020 winner of the National Book Award for Fiction.By HILLEL ITALY national writer AP