National Book Foundation Announces 10 Nominees for 2016 Fiction Award

National Book Foundation Announces 10 Nominees for 2016 Fiction Award

The contenders for the 2016 National Book Award for fiction include novels about American slavery, mental illness, terrorism, post-Civil War America, and a book about a couple on the cusp of marriage that also features a charismatic squirrel.

The 10 nominees were announced on Thursday.

Colson Whitehead’s best-selling novel “The Underground Railroad,” which was selected for Oprah Winfrey’s book club, centers on a slave named Cora who escapes a Georgia plantation and flees north via the underground railroad — a literal subterranean railroad. In Karan Mahajan’s novel “The Association of Small Bombs,” a community in New Delhi struggles to recover from a terrorist attack. Adam Haslett’s “Imagine Me Gone” explores the effects of mental illness on generations of a family. Jacqueline Woodson, who won the 2014 National Book Award for Young People’s Literature, is nominated this year for “Another Brooklyn,” a coming-of-age story set in 1970s Brooklyn, which is her first adult novel in 20 years. Other nominees include Paulette Jiles, Chris Bachelder, Brad Watson, the debut novelist Garth Greenwell and Elizabeth McKenzie, whose novel “The Portable Veblen” features a neurotic soon-to-be married couple and a friendly squirrel, who becomes a sort of sidekick to the novel’s heroine.

Books about war, racism and slavery also dominated the list of nonfiction nominees, which included two books about slavery, by Manisha Sinha and Andrés Reséndez, who wrote about American Indian enslavement, and a history of racism in the United States, by Ibram X. Kendi. Viet Thanh Nguyen, who won the Pulitzer Prize last year for his novel “The Sympathizer,” was nominated for what he has described as a nonfiction companion to that book, titled “Nothing Ever Dies: Vietnam and the Memory of War.” Heather Ann Thompson’s “Blood in the Water: The Attica Prison Uprising of 1971 and Its Legacy,” which has been widely praised by critics as an indispensable work about police brutality, racism and mass incarceration, is also among the finalists.

In the Young People’s Literature category, the nominated works address challenging subjects like domestic violence, sexuality, race and class, and how children cope during wartime. The nominees include Kwame Alexander’s “Booked,” Kate DiCamillo’s novel “Raymie Nightingale,” Grace Lin’s “When the Sea Turned to Silver,” and Sara Pennypacker’s “Pax.”

The nominees for poetry included Kevin Young, Monica Youn, Jane Mead, the Pulitzer Prize winner and former poet laureate Rita Dove, and Solmaz Sharif, who recently published her first poetry collection.

2013年美国国家图书奖获奖作品《上帝鸟》

“我们需要找到一种方法,让我们在讨论过去时,能有自己发挥的空间,也允许错误的存在。即使我们对所探讨的主题缺乏足够的了解和智慧,我们仍然可以磕绊前行。如果不这样的话,就不存在对话。如果没有对话,话语就会枯竭,学习就会停止,相互理解的能力也就烟消云散了。”

—— 詹姆斯・麦克布莱德

James McBride and his The Good Lord Bird

美国国家图书奖,这一美国文学界的最高奖项之一,于当地时间11月20日在纽约举行的晚宴上揭开了其获奖者的神秘面纱……

始于1950年的美国国家图书奖,至今已有64年的历史了。而此次获得该奖(小说类)的既不是之前短名单中的两大热门小说:《前沿》和《十二月十日》,也不是刚刚与英国布克奖失之交臂的茱帕・拉希里的小说《低地》,而是——詹姆斯・麦克布莱德的《上帝鸟》。对于如此出人意料的结果,读者可能都早已有些心理准备了。文学界的获奖结果总是让人充满期待,而又不乏惊喜。

也许大部分读者都对詹姆斯・麦克布莱德及其获奖作品《上帝鸟》感到比较陌生。而此次其能一举夺得美国文学界最高奖,虽说是在意料之外,却也是在情理之中。

现年56岁的麦克布莱德是美国作家兼音乐家,生长于布鲁克林。他的父亲是一位非裔美国人,母亲是一位来自波兰的犹太移民。1979年麦克布莱德于欧柏林学院获得音乐创作学士学位,此后又在哥伦比亚大学完成了新闻学的学习,并获得硕士学位。作为新闻记者,他是多个知名出版物的撰稿人,其中包括《华盛顿邮报》、《纽约时报》、《人物》周刊等。目前麦克布莱德是纽约大学著名的名誉驻校作家。

在发表此次获奖作品《上帝鸟》之前,麦克布莱德已有多部小说以及剧本问世。他于1996年出版的自传体小说《水的颜色》,连续两年跻身于纽约时报的畅销书名单,并成为了美国经典文学作品之一。其早期小说作品还包括《圣安娜奇迹》、《歌声悠扬》,前者经好莱坞黑人导演斯派克·李改编为同名电影,后者入围有色人种促进协会形象奖和代顿文学和平奖决选名单。

麦克布莱德此次的获奖小说《上帝鸟》出版于2013年8月。小说以十九世纪五十年代末美国废奴运动为背景,讲述了美国南北战争爆发前夕的一段故事……

1857年,堪萨斯领地正陷入如火如荼的奴隶制度存废之争。小说的叙事者亨利·沙克尔福德是一个生活在这里的年仅12岁的黑奴。当史上著名的废奴运动领导者约翰·布朗抵达此地之后,与亨利的主人发生争执,并最终演变成暴力冲突。也就是在那个下午,亨利的父亲被杀害。变成孤儿的亨利最后被迫随布朗一道离开该地。由于亨利弯曲的头发、纤细的身躯以及柔弱的声音,布朗误认为他是个女孩,并把他叫做“小洋葱”;而亨利为了更好地生存下去也将错就错,隐瞒了自己的真实性别,以一个女性的身份一直跟随布朗辗转各地:在密苏里,他住进了妓院;在费城,他惊叹于那里的拥有自由的黑人公民,他们就同白人一样拄着拐杖,带着胸针和戒指,而对奴隶制毫不关心;在波士顿,他出席了一个废奴主义者集会,在会上每个人都会就黑人问题发表演讲,除了黑人。直到1859年,两人到达弗吉尼亚州的哈珀斯费里,布朗在那里发动了起义。亨利最后也找回了自己。

对于约翰·布朗这一历史人物以及其在美国弗吉尼亚州的哈珀斯费里发动起义这一历史事件,想必读者们并不陌生。《上帝鸟》也显然不是第一部关于约翰·布朗的文学作品,赫尔曼·麦尔维尔、兰斯顿·休斯、罗素·班克斯等都曾描写过这个历史人物。

但是麦克布莱德对该历史人物和事件的重塑却独具创新:他将虚构的人物——年轻黑奴亨利加入到布朗的一小群跟随者中,并通过他的视角以及夸张、搞笑、讽刺的叙事手法让我们看到了不一样的历史人物与事件。

麦克布莱德说:“关于约翰·布朗的作品已经有很多了。他们都是严肃的作品。……我想写一部让人们发笑同时也让他们思考的作品。同时,这种夸张搞笑的手法更容易接近于真实,而且不压抑。”

的确,《上帝鸟》是一本轻松的读物,其中充满了各种逗笑的情节。对于历史小说来讲,尤其是关于奴隶制和内战的小说,这是不同寻常的。但是,《上帝鸟》绝不是对约翰·布朗的挖苦。恰恰相反,对这位英雄的“戏说”,不是一种讽刺而是另一种尊崇。在麦克布莱德的笔下约翰·布朗是一个伟大的战士,但同时,他也激进、偏执,他也有缺点,也有会做出荒谬的事。他仿佛就是我们身旁的一个朋友,栩栩如生。当我们读到小说末尾,看到监狱中的布朗,仍在不停说道,我们不禁为他感到悲哀。他是那么独特,就如书名所指的“上帝鸟”一样——如此的罕见,以至于谁见到它都不禁惊叹一声“上帝啊!”。麦克布莱德通过这种让约翰·布朗更人性化的手法,给约翰·布朗献上了自己的赞歌。

在小说中,约翰·布朗是一个疯狂不羁的老人,但他却比以往任何时候更具英雄的魅力。也许该书最大的意义就在于:它再次让人们思考历史书写与小说之间的关系。

麦克布莱德无疑是尊重历史的。他煞费苦心地加入了诸多历史细节,如和哈丽特·塔布曼的会面、道格拉斯和布朗最终的分道扬镳等。尽管“书中夸张的人物做着滑稽的事情,但它确是建立在真实的事件之上。” 其实,《上帝鸟》中所讲述的大部分的事件都是真实发生过的,但是如何证明这一点呢?无法证明。我们对于约翰·布朗的了解都是从别人的讲述中得来的。麦克布莱德认为:“研究约翰·布朗的历史学家根据一系列标准频繁改变他们书写的目的。这些标准在今天看来可能是不相关的,或者不是那么值得信赖。事实上,决定写什么而忽略什么这一行为本身就让人对所有的非小说写作产生质疑。这样说来,小说也可以更加接近真实。”

对于历史书写和小说的关系,麦克布莱德给出了自己的答案。他的小说《上帝鸟》无疑是对其观点的实践。在该小说中,他将历史和幻想相糅合,立足小人物的视角让我们对约翰·布朗的传奇故事有了新的理解和看法。《上帝鸟》通过小说的形式实现了历史书籍不曾实现的效果。也许只有时间能说明它是否能够成为经典,但就其主题和写作手法而言,《上帝鸟》无疑是2013年最重要的小说之一。【陈妍颖/文】

2012年度美国国家图书奖获奖作品《圆屋》及其作者厄德里克简介

Louise Erdrich(1954- )

纽约当地时间11月14日晚,2012年度美国国家图书奖颁奖仪式在Cipriani酒店举行,印第安裔女作家路易丝•厄德里克(Louise Erdrich)凭借一部感人至深的小说《圆屋》(The Round House)击败了胡诺特•迪亚兹及戴夫•伊戈斯等人极受好评的新作,获得了2012年度美国国家图书奖小说奖。

创建于1950年的美国国家图书奖(American National Book Award)是美国文学界的最高荣誉之一,是与著名的普利策文学奖齐名的文学奖项。

2012年美国国家图书奖小说奖的竞争比去年更加激烈。和往年不同的是,往年都有许多不知名作家入围。但今年的评委将许多知名作家选入最后短名单。除了路易丝•厄德里克,还有前普利策奖小说奖得主朱诺•迪亚兹。他的入围小说是《这就是你失去她的道理》(This Is How You Lose Her)。戴夫•易格斯的《国王的全息象》(A Hologram for the King),以上两位作家的作品也都曾在中国翻译出版。凯文•鲍威尔(Kevin Powers)的《黄色鸟群》(The Yellow Birds)也入围了今年的国家图书奖短名单。(他的小说中文版已在翻译中,估计近期将会出版。)最终厄德里克的小说《圆屋》荣获此项殊荣。

厄德里克是以描写美国原住民部落成名的小说家、诗人、儿童小说作家。其作品主要关注美国印第安文化遗产方面的问题。她是批评家肯尼思•林肯(Kenneth Lincoln)所倡导的“印第安文学复兴”运动中于1968年之后出现的最具代表性的一位作家。她被视为可与威廉•福克纳齐名,是美国当代最多产、最重要、最有成就的作家之一,曾先后获纳尔逊•阿尔格伦短篇小说奖、苏•考夫曼奖、欧•亨利短篇小说奖、全国书评家协会奖。2008年在我国由译林出版社出版发行的中文版小说《爱药》是她的成名作和代表作,也是第一部被译成中文的当代美国印第安长篇小说。

《圆屋》是路易丝•厄德里克的第14部小说,展现了奥吉布瓦人和白人居住在同一个社区中的艰辛。在厄德里克的获奖感言中,她用印第安人的奥吉布瓦语发表自己的感想,她说获得国家图书奖部分是对美国原住民语言的肯定,也是对“原住民女性优雅和坚韧”的肯定。“这部作品是对原住民保留地还在发生的大量不公正事件的控诉。感谢你们让更多人知道”。厄德里克通过描写这些贴近生活的人物角色,充分展现了生活中的悲剧性、戏剧性。评论家齐亚巴塔里(Jane Ciabattari)说,《圆屋》是厄德里克所创作的最优秀的一部小说, Continue reading

本年度美国国家图书奖揭晓:厄尔德里克的小说《园房子》获此殊荣

The best of American literature was recognized on Wednesday in New York City.

‘The Round House’ by Louise Erdrich wins the National Book Award for fiction.

Louise Erdrich’s The Round House, a novel about a woman who is raped and left traumatized on an Indian reservation in North Dakota, won the National Book Award for fiction on Wednesday.

Erdrich, who gave part of her acceptance speech in Ojibwe, said the award “recognized the grace and endurance of native women.” USA TODAY’s four-star review called it “deeply moving” and “impossible to forget.”

The other winners are:

Non-fiction:Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity by Katherine Boo, who said that “small stories and hidden places matter.” The judges praised the “interview-based narrative in which the interviewer never appears.”

Young People’s Literature: Goblin Secrets by William Alexander, a fantasy about a boy searching for his missing brother. The judges praised it for “brilliantly revealing our own selves by holding up our masks.” Alexander called his win “proof that alternative realities exist.”

Poetry: Bewilderment by David Ferry, which the judges praised for “singing about the human condition as casually and ferociously as it is lived.”

Katherine Boo won the non-fiction National Book Award for ‘Behind the Beautiful Forevers.'(Photo: Random House)

The winners in fiction, non-fiction, poetry and young people’s literature each receive $10,000 — and a boost in their literary reputations and book sales. To be eligible for this year’s awards, a book must have been published in the USA between Dec. 1, 2011, and Nov. 30, 2012, and been written by a U.S. citizen.

The 62-year-old awards, rivaled only by the Pulitzers in prestige, are sponsored by theNational Book Foundation, which is supported by the publishing industry.

REVIEW: ‘The Round House’ by Louise Erdrich

2012年度美国国家图书奖短名单揭晓!

在我们广大的中国读者欢庆第一位拥有中国国籍的用汉语进行创作的作家获得诺贝尔文学奖之际,美国国家图书奖评审委员会公布了本年度进入角逐国家图书奖(National Book Award)的5位候选人名单。其中,已经享有较高声誉的朱诺特·迪亚兹(Junot Diaz)、罗伊斯·艾尔德里奇(Louise Erdrich)和戴夫·艾格尔斯(Dave Eggers)榜上有名。另外两位则是凭借处女作跻身短名单的凯文·鲍尔斯(Kevin Powers)和本·方丹(Ben Fountain)。该项奖励的最终结果将于11月14日在纽约公布。

以下是来自USA Today的相关报道:

进入国家图书奖短名单的作品。上面一行为虚构类作品(Fiction);下面一行为非虚构类作品(Non-Fiction)。

Diaz, Erdrich, Eggers earn National Book Award noms

Three novelists who’ve gained literary respect as well as commercial success — Junot Diaz, (This is How You Lose Her), Louise Erdrich (The Round House) and Dave Eggers (A Hologram for the King) — are among the finalists for the National Book Award for fiction announced Wednesday.

Junot Diaz

The other two finalists are debut novels about the war in Iraq and its aftermath: Kevin Powers’ and Ben Fountain’s Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk.

The five finalists for the non-fiction award include The Passage of Power, Robert Caro’s fourth book on Lyndon Johnson; Behind the Beautiful Forevers, Katherine Boo’s account of life in a Mumbai slum; and House of Stone, a memoir, set mostly in Lebanon, by Anthony Shadid, a Lebanese-American reporter who died in February at 43 while covering the civil war in Syria for The New York Times.

The awards — rivaled in the book world only by the Pulitzers — were announced on on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, the first time in the awards’ 62-year history that the finalists were revealed on TV. In the past, they were announced at a literary site, such as William Faulkner’s home in Oxford, Miss., or City Lights Bookstore in San Francisco.

And in contrast to recent years, when many of finalists and even the winners were not well known, this year’s selections include several books that not only got rave reviews but landed on USA TODAY’s Best-Selling Books List:

— Caro, whose third book on LBJ, Master of the Senate, won a National Book Award in 2003, reached No. 15 with his latest book that opens with a vivid description of the Kennedy assassination from Johnson’s perspective.

— Diaz, a native of the Dominican Republic who grew up in New Jersey and now teaches at MIT, hit No. 29 on the list with his latest, a collection of linked stories about love, or its lack. It features the novelist’s alter ego, Yunior, from Diaz’s novel, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, which won the Pulitzer Prize in 2008.

— Boo’s first book, based on her reporting in Mumbai for The New Yorker, reached No. 28 on the list, driven mostly by rave reviews. It got 3 and 1/2 stars from USA TODAY’s Deirdre Donahue who called it “original, detailed and so unbelievably sad, it makes Slumdog Millionaire (the hit move) seem almost like a romantic comedy.”

And while Eggers’ and Erdrich’s latest novels – hers is about an attack on a woman at an Ojibwe reservation in North Dakota; his is about a struggling American businessman in Saudi Arabia — haven’t made the best-selling list so far this year, they’ve had best sellers before, including Eggers’ A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius in 2000 and Erdrich’s The Master Butcher’s Singing Club in 2004.

Anthony Shadid

The other finalists this year are:

Non-fiction: Anne Applebaum’s Iron Curtain: The Crushing of Eastern Europe 1945-1956 and Domingo Martinez’s The Boy Kings of Texas, a debut memoirs about coming of age in Brownsville, on the border with Mexico.

Young People’s Literature: William Alexander’s Goblin Secrets, Carrie Arcos’ Out of Reach, Patricia McCormick’s Never Fall Down, Eliot Schrefer’s Endangered, and Steve Sheinkin’s Bomb: The Race to Build — and Steal — the World’s Most Dangerous Weapons.

Poetry: David Ferry’s Bewilderment: New Poems and Translations, Cynthia Huntington’s Heavenly Bodies, Tim Seibles’ Fast Animal, Alan Shapiro’s Night of the Republic and Susan Wheeler’s Meme.

The four winners, selected by five-member panels of other writers, will be announced at a black-tie gala in New York City, Nov. 14, hosted by Faith Salie, the actress, comedian and former Rhodes Scholar.

Winners receive $10,000 each, and a boost in their literary reputations and book sales. To. be eligible, a book must be published in the USA between Dec. 1, 2011, and Nov. 30, 2012, and be written by a U.S. citizen.

The awards are sponsored by the National Book Foundation, which is supported by the publishing industry.

2011US国家图书奖揭晓

The poet John Ashbery was honored for his lifetime of work.

2011年度美国国家图书奖的各个奖项已经揭晓?

  • Jesmyn Ward描写飓风卡特林娜的小说Salvage the Bones因其犀利的卓尔不凡的比喻赢得本年度美国国家图书奖小说奖;
  • Nikky Finney的Head Off and Split获国家图书奖诗歌奖;
  • Thanhha Lai的Inside Out and Back Again 获青少年文学奖;
  • Stephen Greenblatt的传记The Swerve: How the World Became Modern获非虚构类图书奖;
  • 诗人John Ashbery获颁美国文学杰出贡献奖(The award for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters)【John Ashbery已经出版了 20多部诗集,获得过一次普利策奖( Pulitzer Prize)和一次国家图书奖。

以下是一篇来自BBC NEWS的报道:

Salvage the Bones wins US National Book Award

A novel about a Mississippi family confronting Hurricane Katrina has won the US National Book Award for fiction.

The judges praised Jesmyn Ward’s Salvage the Bones for its use of “piercing metaphor and simile”.

Nikky Finney’s Head Off and Split took the poetry prize, while Thanhha Lai’s Inside Out and Back Again won the award for young people’s literature.

Stephen Greenblatt’s The Swerve, about Latin poet Lucretius, triumphed in the non-fiction category.

Author Ward (far right) was in Mississippi with her family when Hurricane Katrina hit

In her acceptance speech, Ward said the death of her younger brother – who was hit by a drunk driver when she was in college – had inspired her to become a writer.

She said she realised life was a “feeble, unpredictable thing,” but that books were a testament of strength in the face of a punishing world.

Greenblatt, tearful in victory, noted the miracle of words in making an ancient poet such as Lucretius matter so greatly centuries later.

University of Kentucky creative writing professor Finney also gave a poetic acceptance speech for her work, which delves into African-American life.

Actor John Lithgow, the show’s host, called it “the best acceptance speech for anything that I’ve heard in my entire life”.

The winners of the awards – which are among the most prestigious in US publishing – each received $10,000 (£6,400).

The awards were hit by controversy last month when the nominees were first announced and author Lauren Myracle mistakenly appeared on the shortlist, in the young people’s literature category, for her book Shine.

The book was withdrawn after the National Book Foundation cited a “miscommunication”. It appeared Myracle’s book had been confused with Franny Billingsley’s similar-sounding novel Chime.

Shortly after, the Foundation welcomed Shine back into the category “based on its merits”, but Myracle was asked to withdraw a number of days later “to preserve the integrity of the award”, the author said.