Book Club Immortality

Forget the 10k and the bronze statue. What these authors really want is for people to read their books.

 An American Family book jacket

Well, last night, they all got their wish. The National Book Awards were bestowed at a ceremony hosted by playwright Eric Bogosian. The nonfiction winner, Annette Gordon-Reed, received a pretty nice birthday present when she became the first African-American woman to win the award for her book, The Hemingses of Monticello: An American Family.

Peter (or should I say “repeater”) Matthiessen took home an NBA prize for the second time in his career for his novel Shadow Country. In 1991 he won the nonfiction prize for The Snow Leopard. That’s a nice matched set for his mantel.

One of the most eagerly anticipated NBA awards in library land is the Young People’s Literature award. This year Judy Blundell is going home with the prize for her bleak novel, What I Saw and How I Lied.

Respected and popular poet Mark Doty won the poetry award for his collection, Fire to Fire.

Other luminaries of the literary world were Maxine Hong Kingston who received the Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters. Barney Rosset earned the Literarian Award for Outstanding Service to the American Literary Community. He won a hardfought battle to publish Henry Miller’s modern classic, Tropic of Cancer.

Who needs a tchotchke and a couple of ducats? These folks are writers who deserve to feted and read. Grab a copy now.