The National Book Awards are annual awards that present literary achievements in Fiction, Nonfiction, Poetry and Young People’s Literature. Past winners have included: Alice Walker’s The Color Purple, John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath, and Louis Sachar’s Holes. These prestigious awards have been given out since 1936, and this year’s winners are among the best, competing against some other very strong finalists.
Reployment the award winner for Fiction was written by Phil Klay who is a veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps, and stages this book on the front lines of the war in Iraq and Afghanistan. It is written as a series of stories, that delves into the most emotional, traumatic and difficult issues that soldiers and personnel are forced to deal with. Described as honest and genuine, Klay’s stories manage to perfectly sum up the experiences felt on the front lines, at home, and the soldiers themselves dealing with devastating PTSD diagnoses. Although a fictional novel, Redeployment characterizes the true nature of these wars, and can earnestly assist the readers in coming to a better understanding of both wars.
The other finalists for Fiction were:
- An Unnecessary Woman by Rabih Alameddine
- All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
- Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel
- Lila by Marilynne Robinson
Brown Girl Dreaming, the award winner for Young People’s Literature is a beautifully written book that appears as a series of poems. Author Jacqueline Woodson, known for her other novels such as Miracle’s Boys, Feathers and After Tupac & D Foster, wrote this book as a memory of her very own childhood. As an African American, Woodson grew up in the 1960s during a time when the Jim Crow laws and racial segregation in the US made life very difficult for many Americans. This articulate and powerful memoir has a way of telling Woodson’s story through gorgeous prose and style. The readers are taken on an inspiring journey with verse, which opens up your mind to the heartbreak, struggle, and love that Woodson felt.
The other finalists for Young People’s Literature were:
- Threatened by Eliot Schrefer
- The Port Chicago 50: Disaster, Mutiny, and the Fight for Civil Rights by Steve Sheinkin
- Noggin by John Corey Whaley
- Revolution: The Sixties Trilogy, Book Two by Deborah Wiles