19 November 2009

Your 2009 National Book Award Winners

Colum McCann won for his novel LET THE GREAT WORLD SPIN; the nonfiction winner was T.J. Stiles for THE FIRST TYCOON: THE EPIC LIFE OF CORNELIUS VANDERBILT. Flannery O'Connor's collected stories garnered her the Best National Book Ever Award (not its official title). Epic prediction fail!

Also, Keith Waldrop, professor at the best school ever, took home the poetry prize, and YA honors went to Philip Hoose's CLAUDETTE COLVIN: TWICE TOWARD JUSTICE, about an African-American woman who refused to give up her seat on a Montgomery bus a year before Rosa Parks did.

To be discussed:
1. Does embracing the biography of a rich entrepreneur mean America's animosity towards captains of industry has ended?
2. The buzz on the YA category was whether David Small's STITCHES should have been included in that category or was more properly an adult book. Should publisher W.W. Norton be kicking itself? Why or why not?
3. Will Thomas Pynchon ever come out now after this epic snub?


Wade Garrett said...

Its hard to know what to make of the award winners. Sometimes, they indicate the direction the industry is headed. Other times, they're a little faddish - who still thinks Forrest Gump is better than Pulp Fiction, or Chariots of Fire is better than Raging Bull? Pynchon may have been snubbed, but my guess is that if he really cared about winning awards, he would be a bigger part of the literary scene, and not such a recluse.

Ellen said...

Like the Oscars, I can't regard them as having the cultural last word, but like to follow them anyway. I do wonder whether they make a difference in book sales for the winners.

I agree that Pynchon, wherever he is, couldn't care less about the poll.