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'Hell of a Book,' 'All That She Carried,' Highlight National Book Award Winners

NBA Awards

Jason Mott's Hell of a Book took home the National Book Award fiction prize and Tiya Miles won the nonfiction prize for All that She Carried: The Journey of Ashely's Sack, a Black Family Keepsake. The winners were announced during a virtual ceremony Wednesday evening.

Hell of a Book intertwines three different stories - a Black author on a cross-country book tour, a young Black boy living in a rural town in the recent past, and the story of The Kid, a possibly imaginary child who appears to the author on his tour. The book builds theses storylines in a funny and heart-wrenching way that goes to the heart of racism, police violence, and the hidden costs exacted upon Black Americans, and America as a whole.

Other fiction finalists included Matrix, by Lauren Groff; Cloud Cuckoo Land, by Anthony Doerr; Zorrie, by Laird Hunt; and The Prophets, by Robert Jones, Jr.

All That She Carried traces the life of a single object handed down through three generations of Black women to craft an extraordinary testament to people who are left out of the archives. Through the story of a cotton bag, the book creates a singular and revelatory history of the experience of slavery, and the uncertain freedom afterward, in the United States.

Other nonfiction finalists included A Little Devil in America, by 2021 AViD author Hanif Abdurraqib; Running Out, by Lucas Bessire; Tastes Like War, by Grace M. Cho; and Covered with Night, by Nicole Eustace.

Other winners include:

Young People's Literature: Last Night at the Telegraph Club, by Malinda Lo

Poetry: Floaters, by Martín Espada

Translated Literature: Winter in Sokcho, by Elisa Shua Dusapin

See a list of previous winners >>>

Published on November 17, 2021
Last Modified December 05, 2021