By November 20, 2008 4 Comments Read More →

Matthiessen, Gordon-Reed, Doty, and Blundell The Win National Book Award

The National Book Award winners were announced last night:


Shadow Country by Peter Matthiessen (Modern Library)

Non Fiction

The Hemingses of Monticello: An American Family by Annette Gordon-Reed (Norton)


Fire to Fire by Mark Doty (HarperCollins)

Young People’s Literature

What I Saw and How I Lied by Judy Blundell (Scholastic) 

Each winner took home a $10,000 cash prize and a nice bronze statue.

It’s been suggested that there may be some controversy over Matthiessen’s win. Shadow Country is a revised compilation of three earlier works (Killing Mister Watson, Lost Man’s River, Bone by Bone) based on the life of outlaw Edgar J. Watson.

Gordon-Reed’s win could not have come at better time if she planned it. Referencing President-Elect Obama, The New York Times quoted her saying:

[Gordon-Reed] was the first African-American author to win the prize for nonfiction since Orlando Patterson won for “Freedom” in 1991. “I can’t say what a wonderful November this has been,” she said. “It’s sort of wonderful to have the book come out at this time. People ask me if I planned it this way; I didn’t. All of America — we’re on a great journey now and I look forward to the years to come.”



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4 Comments on "Matthiessen, Gordon-Reed, Doty, and Blundell The Win National Book Award"

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  1.' Steve says:

    Here is a link to a video with Annette Gordon-Reed talking about The Hemingses of Monticello:

  2.' Pete says:

    I’ll bet right now Updike is furiously condensing his four Rabbit books into a single volume so he’ll have a shot at next year’s fiction award.

  3. Keir says:

    Ha! Good one, Pete.

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