The National Book Foundation announced yesterday (November 14) that five literary works by writers of color earned all of its 2018 National Book Awards. Here are the winning novels and collections, as noted on the foundation’s website:
- Fiction: “The Friend,” by Sigrid Nunez. The novel explores a woman’s grief after her best friend and mentor dies and leaves her his Great Dane.
- Nonfiction: “The New Negro: The Life of Alain Locke,” by Jeffrey C. Stewart. The Black studies scholar chronicles the life and relationships of the first African-American Rhodes Scholar and Harlem Renaissance leader.
- Poetry: “Indecency,” by Justin Phillip Reed. This collection features several poems of varying forms that explore incarceration, White supremacy, masculinity and other social and racial justice issues.
- Translated Literature: “The Emissary,” by Yoko Tawada and translated from original Japanese by Margaret Mitsutani. This novel takes place in Japan, after a major disaster prompts the country to isolate itself from the world. In this society, children like Mumei are born frail, while elderly people like his great-grandfather Yoshiro have the energy to care for the youth. “The Emissary” follows the pair’s day-to-day activities and fun in the face of dystopia.
- Young People’s Literature: “The Poet X,” by Elizabeth Acevedo. A Dominican-American teenage girl navigates adolescence, crushes, harassment and her Harlem community while finding her voice through slam poetry.