The National Book Awards ceremony was held earlier this evening at Cipriani Downtown in New York City. Shortly after the dinner began, host Andy Borowitz took the stage. The Medal for Distinguished Contribution to Literature was presented to Gore Vidal (recently interviewed by John Meroney at The Atlantic). Dave Eggers was then awarded the Literarian Award for Outstanding Service to the Literary Community which was presented by Samatha Hunt, author of the novel, The Invention of Everything Else. The Best of the National Book Awards is an award given to one of the 77 books which have won the National Book Award for fiction over the past 60 years and was given to The Complete Stories of Flannery O’Connor.
Philip Hoose won the National Book Award for Young People’s Literature for his book, Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice. The other finalists in this category were Deborah Heiligman for Charles and Emma: The Darwins’ Leap of Faith, David Small for Stitches: A Memoir (reviewed here), Laini Taylor for Lips Touch: Three Times, and Rita Williams-Garcia for Jumped.
Keith Waldrop won the National Book Award for Poety for his poetry collection, Transcendental Studies: A Trilogy. The other poetry finalists were Rae Armantrout for Versed: Wesleyan Poetry, Ann Lauterbach for Or To Begin Again, Carl Phillips for Speak Low: Poems, and Lyrae Van Clief-Stefanon for Open Interval.
T. J. Styles won the National Book Award for Nonfiction for The First Tycoon: The Epic Life of Cornelius Vanderbilt. Finalists in this category were David M. Carroll for Following the Water: A Hydromancer’s Notebook, Dr. Sean B. Carroll for Remarkable Creatures: Epic Adventures in the Search for the Origins of Species, Greg Grandin for Fordlandia: The Rise and Fall of Henry Ford’s Forgotten Jungle City, and Adrienne Mayor for The Poison King: The Life and Legend of Mithradates, Rome’s Deadliest Enemy.
Colum McCann won the National Book Award for Fiction for Let the Great World Spin. The other fiction finalists were Bonnie Jo Campbell for American Salvage, Daniyal Mueenuddin for In Other Rooms, Other Wonders, Jayne Anne Phillips for Lark and Termite, and Marcel Theroux for Far North.
Information about this year’s judges and links to author interviews can be found at The National Book Foundation’s website. The award dinner and ceremony will be shown on BookTV (C-span2) November 21, 2009 at 8:00 p.m. EST and November 22, 2009 at 9:00 a.m. EST.