Industry & Advocacy News
November 17, 2023
The National Book Foundation has announced the 2023 recipients of the prestigious National Book Awards, which celebrate the best of American literature. This year’s awards were marked by the exceptional achievements of authors of color, showcasing the rich diversity and breadth of American literature. We want to give a round of applause to the talented authors and artists behind these remarkable books:
Justin Torres took home the Fiction prize for his novel Blackouts (FSG), about two friends on their deathbeds, discussing topics such as sexuality, being shunned by family, their Puerto Rican heritage, and movies.
Ned Blackhawk won the Nonfiction category for The Rediscovery of America: Native Peoples and the Unmaking of U.S. History (Yale University Press), which upends conventional historical narratives.
Craig Santos Perez secured the Poetry award for From Unincorporated Territory [åmot] (Omnidawn), a collection giving voice to the Chamorro people of Guam.
The Young People’s Literature prize went to Dan Santat for A First Time for Everything (Quill Tree Books), a poignant graphic novel about experiencing life’s adventures.
Bruna Dantas Lobato’s translation of The Words That Remain (Black Cat) received the Translated award for bringing Stênio Gardel’s novel about two gay men in Brazil’s little-known hinterland to English-speaking audiences.
The evening was further highlighted by the presentation of the Literarian Award for Outstanding Service to the American Literary Community to Paul Yamazaki by Mitchell Kaplan, and the Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters, presented to Rita Dove by Jericho Brown.
A significant moment of the ceremony was when Fiction winner Justin Torres, upon receiving his award for Blackouts, invited his fellow writers onstage. Fiction finalist Aaliyah Bilal read a joint statement calling for a humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza, condemning anti-Semitism and Islamophobia, and advocating for the value of human life amidst conflict.
Hosted by Oprah Winfrey and LeVar Burton, the event also underscored the critical issue of censorship, particularly relevant in light of the recent surge in book-banning efforts in the United States.
This year’s National Book Awards not only celebrated literary excellence but also reflected the ongoing commitment to diversity, freedom of expression, and the unifying power of literature.
The National Book Awards are among the most prestigious honors bestowed upon American authors. The winners in each category receive $10,000, a statue, and a bronze medal. Finalists receive $1,000 and a bronze medal.
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