SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association)- The National Book Awards, which annually celebrates the best of American literature, has announced the best literary works of 2014.
In a luxurious ceremony at Cipriani Wall Street on Wednesday night, hosted by the National Book Foundation, the literary awards were presented to the outstanding authors in four main categories of fiction, non-fiction, poetry and young adult literature.
The best prize for fiction went to Phil Klay for his critically-acclaimed debut short stories entitled Redeployment, the collection which narrates the stories of war and post-war in Iraq and the US. The 31-old writer is himself a US Marine Corps veteran who previously served in Iraq’s Anbar Province for 13 months.
In non-fiction category, the prize was awarded to the American journalist Evan Osnos. Age of Ambition: Chasing Fortune, Truth, and Faith focuses on the inner history of modernization in China, and the role of the Chinese people as well as the Communist Party within the process. Dedicating his triumph to the people he wrote about, Osnos said he tried his best to do them justice in his book. Osnos has long been the Beijing correspondent for the ****New Yorker weekly magazine.
The award for poetry went to Louise Gluck, the former US Poet laureate, for Faithful and Virtuous Night. According to National Book Awards’ judges, her poems are “a story of adventure, an encounter with the unknown” and although they narrate a solo story, “the parts are mutable and the great sweep of its narrative mysterious and fateful, heartbreaking, and charged with wonder.” The 71-year-old Gluck is the winner of 1993 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry for the Wild Iris.
Ultimately, the best book of the year in young people’s literature category went to Jacqueline Woodson for Brown Girl Dreaming. Her book, inspired by her own life experiences, recounts her growing up as an African-American in South Carolina and New York during the civil rights era. She advised the audience to learn the stories of the old people, and to talk to them “before they become ancestors.”
At the beginning of this year’s ceremony, the 85-year old science writer, Ursula K. Le Guin, was also presented the Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters. As one of the most distinguished American authors, Guin influenced some of the most notable writers such as David Mitchell and Neil Gaiman. Criticizing capitalism in her speech, she noted that “Any human power can be changed by human beings.”
The National Book Awards was established in 1936 by the American Booksellers Association, and it is known as America’s most prestigious literary award. This year’s finalists were selected from more than 1,400 literary works.