Thursday, November 20, 2008

2008 National Book Award Winners

And the winners of this year's National Book Awards are:
  • Fiction: Peter Matthiessen's Shadow Country
  • Nonfiction: Annette Gordon-Reed's The Hemingses of Monticello: An American Family
  • Young People's Literature: Judy Blundell's What I Saw and How I Lied
  • Poetry: Mark Doty's Fire to Fire: New and Collected Poems
The fiction winner is sure to reawaken the controversy of what it means to be published in a particular year. Matthiessen's Shadow Country is actually a reworking of previously-published work (a one-volume compilation of three novels published from 1990 to 1999).

The New York Times reports the opinion of Harod Augenbraum, the executive director of the National Book Foundation, on the controversy:

It wasn’t really a controversy. ... It was as much a head-scratcher as anything else. ... We allow collections of previously published material ... Collected poems, collected essays, short-story collections — books like that. We don’t allow reprints, but we didn’t consider this a reprint. There’s a lot of new writing here.


bermudaonion said...

All of those books look good to me.

Sandra said...

I was very surprised when I read that Shadow Country was actually a rewrite of his Everglades trilogy into one new volume. I wondered if it should qualify, but if it's the best thing out there in fiction, people should know that. It's also interesting that a writer with 20 more years of experience under his belt than when he began the books should get to go back and make the best parts of it even stronger. A rarity I'm sure. It will be interesting to see what people who've read both have to say about it.