Written by Jan Kline on November 24, 2008

National Book Award Winners Announced

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.
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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.
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The poetry award went to Mark Doty, for Fire to Fire, a collection drawn from seven earlier volumes.
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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.
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Photo credits, from top:
Michael Appleton for the New York Times
Ed Betz/Associated Press
Margaretta Mitchell
Paul Llewellyn

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