National Book Award Goes to Louise Erdrich

Manhattan ceremony goes glam

By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff

Posted Nov 15, 2012 6:40 AM CST

(Newser) – Louise Erdrich's novel Round House won the National Book Award last night, beating out big-name contenders like Junot Diaz and Dave Eggers. Erdrich's book tells the story of a teenage boy's confrontation with violence on a North Dakota reservation, the New York Times reports. "This is a book about a huge case of injustice ongoing on reservations. Thank you for giving it a wider audience," she said, in an acceptance speech that partly featured her Native American language. The nonfiction prize went to Katherine Boo, whose book Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity describes life in an Indian slum.

David Ferry took the poetry prize for Bewilderment: New Poems and Translations, while William Alexander won for Young People's Literature with Goblin Secrets. Novelist Elmore Leonard received the Distinguished Contribution to American Letters award, and Times publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr. was recognized for his Outstanding Service to the American Literary Community. This year's awards—which occurred despite Sandy's flooding of the National Book Foundation's office—sought to turn a formerly "dowdy" event glamorous, the Times notes. Held in the sparkling Cipriani Wall Street, the event featured a red carpet and attendees like Molly Ringwald. "It’s not about being glitzy," said the foundation's chairman. "It’s about increasing the impact great books have on the culture."

Author Louise Erdrich.
Author Louise Erdrich.   (AP Photo/Dawn Villella)
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