By Katherine Dyer
The excitement that the National Book Awards evokes is a yearly phenomenon within the literary community. Both authors and readers alike anticipate the Long List, followed by the Short List and finally, the winners. On November 17th, 2021, five authors were presented with this prestigious award.
There is a worthy reason for why authors so strongly aspire to achieve this award. The National Book Awards was established in 1936, deserted during World War ll and then re-established in 1950 by a different company. The Awards currently host the genres of Nonfiction, Fiction, Translated Literature, Young People’s Literature, and Poetry. The process is lengthy, as 1-2 thousand books are submitted for consideration. After that, each category is narrowed into a Long List, composed of ten books each, and then a Short List, consisting of five books each. Eventually, one book from each category is selected from the Short List and is presented with the National Book Awards medallion.
The five5 books awarded this year were chosen on November 17th, 2021. The winners are Hell of a Book for Fiction, All That She Carried for Nonfiction, Floaters for Poetry, Winter in Sokcho for Translated Literature, and Last Night at The Telegraph Club for Young People’s Literature. Translated Literature is the translation of dramatic and creative poetry into other languages. Each author’s reaction was one of accomplishment and joy.
Jason Mott is the author of Hell of a Book. His novel follows a Black author traveling across the country to gain recognition for his book, a young boy who lives in a rural community, and an imaginative kid who appears to the author on his tour. The winning author for Nonfiction, Tiya Miles, wrote All That She Carried. Her novel involves an enslaved woman who is separated from her daughter, Ashley. Years later Ashley’s granddaughter continues the novel of the intriguing family story with love and resilience throughout generations. Moreover, Malindo Lo wrote Last Night at the Telegraph Club for Young People’s Literature. Last Night at the Telegraph Club is about two girls who fall in love and explore San Francisco’s Chinatown. Martín Espada is the Author of Floaters, Poetry. Floaters is about fallen dreamers, visionaries, poets and rebels. Aneesa Abbas Higgins and Alisa Shua Duspin are both authors of Winter in Sokcho, Translated Literature. The book is about a young French-Korean woman who travels out of her dreadful town. She journeys to snowy mountaintops and dramatic waterfalls.
At the online ceremony, these five books were chosen and their authors were overcome with a sense of honor and pride. All five winning books (and some front runners) are being sold in Barnes and Nobles. Hopefully the books will be to Byram Hills interest!