National awards delivered
NEW YORK - The Associated PressThe National Book Awards has honored both longtime writers and new authors, from Louise Erdrich for “The Round House” to Katherine Boo for her debut work, “Beyond the Beautiful Forevers.”
Erdrich, 58, has been a published and highly regarded author for nearly 30 years but had never won a National Book Award until being cited Nov. 14 for her story, the second of a planned trilogy, about an Ojibwe boy and his quest to avenge his mother’s rape. A clearly delighted and surprised Erdrich, who’s part Ojibwe, spoke in her tribal tongue and then switched to English as she dedicated her fiction award to “the grace and endurance of native people.”
The works of two other winners also centered on young boys, Boo’s for nonfiction, and William Alexander’s fantasy “Goblin Secrets,” for young people’s literature. David Ferry won for poetry.
Boo’s book, set in a Mumbai slum, is the story of a boy and his harsh and illuminating education in the consequences of crime or perceived crime. The author, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist currently on staff with The New Yorker, said she was grateful for the chance to live in a world she “didn’t know” and for the chance to tell the stories of those otherwise ignored. She praised a fellow nominee and fellow Pulitzer-winning reporter, the late Anthony Shadid, for also believing in stories of those without fame or power.