Nikky Finney and Jesmyn Ward Win National Book Awards

Ward is the surprise winner in fiction, while Finney wins for poetry.

The award for young people’s literature went to Thanhha Lai for Inside Out & Back Again. Lai is a Vietnamese immigrant who once wrote for the Orange County Register and now lives in New York. This is her first book. Poet John Ashbery, 84, was presented with the foundation’s lifetime achievement award, the Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters.

Poet Elizabeth Alexander, who read at President Obama’s inauguration in 2009, was also present at the ceremony. 

Congratulations to Nikky Finney and Jesmyn Ward for their important wins.

Read more at the Los Angeles Times.

Watch the acceptance speeches at GalleyCat. Nikki Finney’s speech is at 17:18.

In other news: President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf’s Win Tainted by Violence.

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