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2015's National Book Award-Winners

2015's National Book Award-Winners

By Friendspire

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About the list

"The National Book Awards are a set of annual U.S. literary awards. At the final National Book Awards Ceremony every November, the National Book Foundation presents the National Book Awards and two lifetime achievement awards to authors. The National Book Awards were established in 1936 by the American Booksellers Association, abandoned during World War II, and re-established by three book industry organizations in 1950. Non-U.S. authors and publishers were eligible for the pre-war awards. Now ... Read more

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Fortune Smiles

2015 | Adam Johnson

Winner of the Pulitzer Prize for his acclaimed and bestselling novel The Orphan Master's Son, Adam Johnson is one of America's most provocative and powerful authors. In Fortune Smiles - his first book since Orphan Master - he continues to give voice to characters rarely heard from, while offering something we all seek from fiction: a new way of looking at our world. In six masterly stories, Johnson delves deep into love and loss, natural disasters, the influence of technology, and how the political shapes the personal. "George Orwell Was a Friend of Mine" follows a former warden of a Stasi prison in East Germany who vehemently denies his past, even as pieces of it are delivered in packages to his door. "Nirvana," which won the prestigious Sunday Times short story prize, portrays a programmer whose wife has a rare disease finding solace in a digital simulacrum of the president of the United States. In "Hurricanes Anonymous" - first included in the Best American Short Stories anthology - a young man searches for the mother of his son in a Louisiana devastated by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. And in the unforgettable title story, Johnson returns to his signature subject, North Korea, depicting two defectors from Pyongyang who are trying to adapt to their new lives in Seoul, while one cannot forget the woman he left behind. Unnerving, riveting, and written with a timeless quality, these stories confirm Johnson as one of America's greatest writers and an indispensable guide to our new century.

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Between the World and Me

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2015 | Ta-Nehisi Coates

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#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER - NATIONAL BOOK AWARD WINNER - NAMED ONE OF TIME'S TEN BEST NONFICTION BOOKS OF THE DECADE - PULITZER PRIZE FINALIST - NATIONAL BOOK CRITICS CIRCLE AWARD FINALIST - ONE OF OPRAH'S "BOOKS THAT HELP ME THROUGH" - NOW AN HBO ORIGINAL SPECIAL EVENT Hailed by Toni Morrison as "required reading," a bold and personal literary exploration of America's racial history by "the most important essayist in a generation and a writer who changed the national political conversation about race" (Rolling Stone) NAMED ONE OF THE MOST INFLUENTIAL BOOKS OF THE DECADE BY CNN - NAMED ONE OF PASTE'S BEST MEMOIRS OF THE DECADE - NAMED ONE OF THE TEN BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY The New York Times Book Review - O: The Oprah Magazine - The Washington Post - People - Entertainment Weekly - Vogue - Los Angeles Times - San Francisco Chronicle - Chicago Tribune - New York - Newsday - Library Journal - Publishers Weekly In a profound work that pivots from the biggest questions about American history and ideals to the most intimate concerns of a father for his son, Ta-Nehisi Coates offers a powerful new framework for understanding our nation's history and current crisis. Americans have built an empire on the idea of "race," a falsehood that damages us all but falls most heavily on the bodies of black women and men--bodies exploited through slavery and segregation, and, today, threatened, locked up, and murdered out of all proportion. What is it like to inhabit a black body and find a way to live within it? And how can we all honestly reckon with this fraught history and free ourselves from its burden? Between the World and Me is Ta-Nehisi Coates's attempt to answer these questions in a letter to his adolescent son. Coates shares with his son--and readers--the story of his awakening to the truth about his place in the world through a series of revelatory experiences, from Howard University to Civil War battlefields, from the South Side of Chicago to Paris, from his childhood home to the living rooms of mothers whose children's lives were taken as American plunder. Beautifully woven from personal narrative, reimagined history, and fresh, emotionally charged reportage, Between the World and Me clearly illuminates the past, bracingly confronts our present, and offers a transcendent vision for a way forward.

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Voyage of the Sable Venus

2015 | Robin Coste Lewis

WINNER OF THE NATIONAL BOOK AWARD A stunning poetry debut: this meditation on the black female figure throughout time introduces us to a brave and penetrating new voice. Robin Coste Lewis's electrifying collection is a triptych that begins and ends with lyric poems considering the roles desire and race play in the construction of the self. The central panel is the title poem, "Voyage of the Sable Venus," a riveting narrative made up entirely of titles of artworks from ancient times to the present--titles that feature or in some way comment on the black female figure in Western art. Bracketed by Lewis's autobiographical poems, "Voyage" is a tender and shocking study of the fragmentary mysteries of stereotype, as it juxtaposes our names for things with what we actually see and know. Offering a new understanding of biography and the self, this collection questions just where, historically, do ideas about the black female figure truly begin--five hundred years ago, five thousand, or even longer? And what role has art played in this ancient, often heinous story? From the "Young Black Female Carrying / a Perfume Vase" to a "Little Brown Girl / Girl Standing in a Tree / First Day of Voluntary / School Integration," this poet adores her culture and the beauty to be found within it. Yet she is also a cultural critic alert to the nuances of race and desire and how they define us all, including herself, as she explores her own sometimes painful history. Lewis's book is a thrilling aesthetic anthem to the complexity of race--a full embrace of its pleasure and horror, in equal parts.

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