The 2011 National Book Awards Announced

Last night at Cipriani, an elegant bistro about two blocks away from where Occupy Wall Street protesters reconnoitered, John Lithgow presented the 2011 National Book Awards. Winners included:
Salvage the Bones: A Novel by Jesmyn West
The Swerve: How the World Became Modern by Stephen Greenblatt
Head Off & Split: Poems by Nikky Finney 
Young People's Literature:
Inside Out and Back Again by Thanhha Lai

Watch the beginning of the ceremonies below


I'm a bit surprised The Tiger's Wife by Téa Obreht did not take the Fiction prize. She had been highly touted as one of the New Yorker's 20 under 40. I reviewed that book right here on BJR back in May of this year.

I had heard an excellent interview with Stephen Greenblatt earlier in the year on the New York Times Book Review Blog. His newly awarded book, The Swerve: How the World Became Modern is, in part, a study on the epic poem The Nature of Things  (De Rerem Natura) by Lucretius, part story of its rediscovery by a 15th century scribe and book hunter, which the author argues led to a paradigm shift in accepted philosophical thought of the day, thereby "modernizing" the world. Having read his previous biography, Will in the World: How Shakespeare Became Shakespeare, I'm not surprised Mr. Greenblatt got the NBA nod this year.


  1. Congratulations to all the winners! I haven't read any of these- nor have I read The Tiger's Wife. From what you wrote- I guess I should get out and read it!


  2. Jess,
    Thanks for the comment. Although I do highly recommend The Tiger's Wife, I've heard and read nothing but favorable reviews of this year's fiction winner, Salvage the Bones. Cheers.


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