National Book Awards: Jesmyn Ward wins fiction prize

salvage-the-bone

Despite a major snafu last month, the 62nd National Book Awards named its winners as planned at a ceremony in New York City on Wednesday night. Jesmyn Ward won the fiction prize for her critically lauded but under-the-radar Salvage the Bones, a fierce, lyrical novel set against the tragic backdrop of Hurricane Katrina. The nonfiction honor went to Stephen Greenblatt for The Swerve: How the World Became Modern, and Nikki Finney picked up the poetry prize for Head Off & Split.

In perhaps the most fraught category this year — due to the brouhaha surrounding Lauren Myracle’s mistaken and eventually rescinded nomination — Thanhha Lai beat out the other finalists for the Young People’s literature award. Her novel centers on 10-year-old Ha, a girl whose life is forever changed when the Vietnam War ravages her hometown.

See below for a full list of winners and finalists:

Fiction
++ Andrew Krivak, The Sojourn
++ Téa Obreht, The Tiger’s Wife
++ Julie Otsuka, The Buddha in the Attic
++ Edith Pearlman, Binocular Vision
++ Jesmyn Ward, Salvage the Bones

Nonfiction
++ Deborah Baker, The Convert: A Tale of Exile and Extremism
++ Mary Gabriel, Love and Capital: Karl and Jenny Marx and the Birth of a Revolution
++ Stephen Greenblatt, The Swerve: How the World Became Modern
++ Manning Marable, Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention
++ Lauren Redniss, Radioactive: Marie & Pierre Curie, A Tale of Love and Fallout

Young People’s Literature
++ Franny Billingsley, Chime
++ Debby Dahl Edwardson, My Name Is Not Easy
++ Thanhha Lai, Inside Out and Back Again
++ Albert Marrin, Flesh and Blood So Cheap: The Triangle Fire and Its Legacy
++ Gary D. Schmidt, Okay for Now

Poetry
++ Nikky Finney, Head Off & Split
++ Yusef Komunyakaa, The Chameleon Couch
++ Carl Phillips, Double Shadow
++ Adrienne Rich, Tonight No Poetry Will Serve: Poems 2007-2010
++ Bruce Smith, Devotions

Read more:
Lauren Myracle: Her Novels Are Beloved — and Banned
Spoof of the National Book Award snafu — VIDEO
Britain’s Man Booker Prize goes to Julian Barnes
Lauren Myracle’s National Book Award nomination withdrawn — Myracle reacts on Twitter
National Book Awards finalists announced — Tea Obreht reacts to her nomination

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