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National Book Awards

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The New York Times reports on the relatively unknown winners of the National Book Award. At the ceremony, Steve Martin said, “I am so pleased to see Robert Caro was nominated. It brings to two the total number of writers I’ve actually heard of.”

NPR’s Rick Karr also reports on the ceremony and the awards were discussed Wednesday on Talk of the Nation by Laura Miller of Salon and Roger Sutton editor of Horn Book, a magazine about children’s books.

Julia Glass won best novel for Three Junes. It was a selection of Good Morning America’s book club. I wonder if they’ll be able to squeeze in a mention of the award between Bachelor interviews Thursday morning.

Caro won the nonfiction award for the third volume of his biography of LBJ. Kurt Vonnegut (who recently turned 80) interviewed Caro in 1999 and there was an article on his LBJ project in June’s Columbia Journalism Review.

Nancy Farmer won the young people’s literature award for The House of the Scorpion.

Philip Roth was given a lifetime achievement award. He was interviewed last year on FreshAir.

The poetry award went to 87 year old Ruth Stone for In the Next Galaxy. NPR profiled Stone’s publisher Copper Canyon Press (which Eric posted about). This is one of the poems from Stone’s book:


    When I am sad
    I sing, remembering
    the redwing blackbird’s clack.
    Then I want no thing

    except to turn time back
    to what I had
    before love made me sad.

    When I forget to weep,
    I hear the peeping tree toads
    creeping up the bark.
    Love lies asleep
    and dreams that everything
    is in its golden net;
    and I am caught there, too,
    when I forget.

They will post the acceptance speeches on the NBA website. Until then, you can read past speeches from Ralph Ellison, William Faulkner, W. H. Auden, John Updike, Saul Bellow, Gore Vidal, Joyce Carol Oates, Pauline Kael and others.

Eric posted here and here when the nominations were announced.

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