The 2018 winners of the National Book Awards

Congratulations to the winners of this year’s National Book Awards.


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Fiction

The 2018 winner is The Friend by Sigrid Nunez.

When a woman unexpectedly loses her lifelong best friend and mentor, she finds herself burdened with the unwanted dog he has left behind. Her own battle against grief is intensified by the mute suffering of the dog – a huge Great Dane traumatised by the inexplicable disappearance of its master. Isolated from the rest of the world and increasingly obsessed with the dog’s care, the woman comes dangerously close to unravelling. The Friend is a meditation on loss and a celebration of human-canine devotion.


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Nonfiction

The 2018 winner is The New Negro: The Life of Alain Locke by Jeffrey C. Stewart.

Jeffrey C. Stewart has crafted a magisterial biography of Alain Locke, the father of the Harlem Renaissance. Drawing from surviving primary sources and on interviews with those who knew him personally, Stewart explores both Locke’s professional and private life, including his relationships with his mother, his friends, and his white patrons, as well as his lifelong search for love as a gay man.


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Poetry

The 2018 winner is Indecency by Justin Phillip Reed.

In these poems, Justin Phillip Reed experiments with language to explore inequity and injustice and to critique and lament the culture of white supremacy and the dominant social order. The author unpacks his intimacies, weaponising language to take on masculinity, sexuality, exploitation, and the prison industrial complex and unmask all the failures of the structures into which society sorts us.


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Translated Literature

The 2018 winner is The Emissary by Yoko Tawada (translated from Japanese by Margaret Mitsutani).

After suffering a massive, irreparable disaster, Japan cuts itself off from the world. Children are born so weak they can barely walk; the only people with any get-up-and-go are the elderly. Mumei lives with his always worried great-grandfather Yoshiro, and they carry on a day-to-day routine in what could be viewed as a post-Fukushima time. But while Mumei may be frail and gray-haired, he is also a beacon of hope.


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Young People’s Literature

The 2018 winner is The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo.

Xiomara has always kept her words to herself. When it comes to standing her ground in her Harlem neighbourhood, she lets her fists and her fierceness do the talking. But X has secrets – her feelings for a boy in her bio class, the notebook full of poems that she keeps under her bed, and a slam poetry club that will pull those secrets into the spotlight. Because in spite of a world that might not want to hear her, Xiomara refuses to stay silent.


You can read more about the winning books here, and you can view the full list of finalists here.

The Poet X

The Poet X

Elizabeth Acevedo

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