Saturday, November 21, 2009

National Book Awards

The winners of the National Book Awards have been announced:

Colum McCann has been award the fiction prize for

"In the dawning light of a late-summer morning, the people of lower Manhattan stand hushed, staring up in disbelief at the Twin Towers. It is August 1974, and a mysterious tightrope walker is running, dancing, leaping between the towers, suspended a quarter mile above the ground. In the streets below, a slew of ordinary lives become extraordinary in Colum McCann’s intricate portrait of a city and its people. Let the Great World Spin is the author’s most ambitious novel yet: a dazzlingly rich vision of the pain, loveliness, mystery, and promise of New York City in the 1970s". - publisher's description

T. J. Stiles has won the non-fiction prize for

"Founder of a dynasty, builder of the original Grand Central, creator of an impossibly vast fortune, Cornelius “Commodore” Vanderbilt is an American icon. Humbly born on Staten Island during George Washington’s presidency, he rose from boatman to builder of the nation’s largest fleet of steamships to lord of a railroad empire. In The First Tycoon, T.J. Stiles offers the first complete, authoritative biography of this titan, and the first comprehensive account of the Commodore’s personal life." - publisher's description.

The poetry prize was given to Keith Waldrop for his work, Transcendental Studies: a trilogy

"This compelling selection of recent work by poet Keith Waldrop presents three related poem sequences—“Shipwreck in Haven,” “Falling in Love through a Description,” and “The Plummet of Vitruvius”—in a virtuosic poetic triptych. In these quasi-abstract, experimental lines, collaged words torn from their contexts take on new meanings. Waldrop, a longtime admirer of such artists as the French poet Raymond Queneau and the American painter Robert Motherwell, imposes a tonal override on purloined materials, yet the originals continue to show through. These powerful poems, at once metaphysical and personal, reconcile Waldrop's romantic
tendencies with formal experimentation, uniting poetry and philosophy and revealing him as a transcendentalist for the new millennium." - publisher's descripton.

The award for Young People's Literature goes to Phillip Hoose for Claudette Colvin: twice toward justice.

"On March 2, 1955, a slim, bespectacled teenager refused to give up her seat to a white woman on a segregated bus in Montgomery, Alabama. Shouting “It’s my constitutional right!” as police dragged her off to jail, Claudette Colvin decided she’d had enough of the Jim Crow segregation laws that had angered and puzzled her since she was a child. But instead of being celebrated, as Rosa Parks would be when she took the same stand nine months later, Claudette found herself shunned by many of her classmates and dismissed as an unfit role model by the black leaders of Montgomery. Undaunted, she dared to challenge segregation again a year later—as one of the four plaintiffs in the landmark busing case, Browder v. Gayle." - publisher's description.

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