How’s this for taking the sting out of turning 50? Annette Gordon-Reed celebrated this milestone birthday by accepting the National Book Award for Nonfiction for her multigenerational history of a slave family owned by Thomas Jefferson, The Hemingses of Monticello: An American Family. Gordon-Reed is the first African American to win the nonfiction award since 1991, when Orlando Patterson won for Freedom.
The fiction prize went to Peter Matthiessen for Shadow Country, a compilation of three previously published (but newly revised and condensed) novels based on the life of a 19th century Florida cane farmer.
Judy Blundell, who has been a “writer for hire” till now, won the young people’s literature category for What I Saw and How I Lied.
Photo credits, from top:
Michael Appleton for the New York Times
Ed Betz/Associated Press