The winners of this year’s National Book Awards were revealed on Wednesday night in New York City. Among this year’s winners was one for Translated Literature, a new category in 2018, and all the authors and the translator were first-time finalists. Below are the winning titles in all five categories. You can watch the full, Nick Offerman-hosted 69th National Book Awards ceremony here.
Winner for Fiction
Sigrid Nunez, The Friend
Riverhead Books / Penguin Random House
Contemplating mourning and the unexpected places we find solace, Sigrid Nunez’s The Friend is the story of a writer who loses her dearest friend, only to inexplicably be left his aging Great Dane. Infusing its first-person narrative with quotes and anecdotes from literary texts, the novel provides a realistic portrayal of a devoted writer struggling to cope with loss and parsing the complicated legacy of a loved one.
Winner for Nonfiction
Jeffrey C. Stewart, The New Negro: The Life of Alain Locke
Oxford University Press
Jeffrey C. Stewart’s The New Negro: The Life of Alain Locke provides a granularly detailed account of the life of the often-overlooked Alain Locke, a Harvard-educated philosopher and scholar who was one of the key architects of the Harlem Renaissance. The work explores his years of education, his becoming the first African-American Rhodes Scholar, his role as a champion of African-American art in the Jazz Age, his complex personal life, and his work and contributions in helping lay the groundwork for contemporary African-American studies.
Winner for Poetry
Justin Phillip Reed, Indecency
Coffee House Press
Questions of systemic hostility and the struggle against oppressive institutions live at the heart of Justin Phillip Reed’s Indecency, which seeks to intimately confront issues of masculinity, sexuality, racism and more, working to both critique and lament a culture of exploitation.
Winner for Translated Literature
Yoko Tawada, The Emissary
Translated by Margaret Mitsutani
New Directions Publishing
In Yoko Tawada’s The Emissary, translated from Japanese by Margaret Mitsutani, a young boy and his great-grandfather live fully entwined lives in Japan following a fictional, unnamed disaster, their dispositions reflecting and juxtaposing one another.
Winner for Young People’s Literature
Elizabeth Acevedo, The Poet X
HarperTeen / HarperCollins Publishers
A novel in verse, Elizabeth Acevedo’s New York Times bestseller The Poet X follows a Dominican teen who [finds] her voice in slam poetry, even as she pushes back against a restrictive family life and the unwanted attention of her neighbors.