tv 2015 National Book Awards CSPAN November 28, 2015 12:00pm-1:31pm EST
you you will probably get shot. what i am saying is it is probably a good idea to make sure there are people in areas where we have vulnerable people who can oppose these people not with just words but who are trained, they can be retired police, military, teachers might have the ability to do that. i would feel much safer if my kid or a grandchild was in a school where i knew there were people who could protect him if somebody like that came in. what i'm talking about is common sense. some of the people out there, there is no such thing as common sense. [applause] >> we're almost out of time. ..
honorary mug. [applause] >> thank you. >> you are developing a connection. a couple of final questions. if the situation was right down on the campaign trail, could you consider being donald trump's running mate? >> the press will have a field day with this one. before i answer, i just want to mention many in the press will say that i'm sensitive and, you know, i should not be thinking about running for office because i get offended by what they do. of course, they'll say that. but the reason that i expose the press is because i want the people of america to understand
what they're doing. it's not because i'm sensitive. i will continue to expose them every time they do something because as more people understand who they are and what they're doing, it will negate their effect and until they have the kind of transformation that is necessary for them to become allies of the people, we have to know what they're doing. now, in terms of trump. how could i forget? [laughter] >> okay. you know, i believe that donald trump has been very useful because he's brought in a lot of people, brought in a lot of curiosity and enthusiasm and whoever the eventual nominee is will benefit from that even if it's him. that's a good thing, you know, that's one of the reasons i
don't talk about him, i don't talk about anybody else. but in terms of a vice president, i would obviously want someone who is compatible with me. i would not necessarily be looking for somebody who can bring this demographic or that demographic because the things that have to be done are very, very serious things, quite frankly. this can't be tampering around the edges. we have to go to the heart of the matter and i don't think we have a whole lot of time to do that. it has to be somebody that's compatible and understand the urgency of what we are doing and willing to suffer the slings and arrows. that's what it will take. [applause] >> ladies and gentlemen, please give a counted of applause -- a round of applause to our speaker. [applause]
i would also like to thank staff members of the national press club and journalism institute in their work for preparing for today's event. of a copy of today's program or to learn more about the national press club, go to that website, press.org. thank you, we are adjourn. >> you're good. [inaudible conversations] [laughter] [inaudible conversations] >> many of this year's presidential candidates have written books and to remote their views on issues, here is a look at some of the candidates
books. in his newest book reply all jeb bush catalogs e-mail correspondence. a better understanding of the constitution is necessary to solve america's most pressing issues, in his book a more perfect union. hillary clinton looks back on her time serving in the obama administration in hard choices. in a time for truth, texas senator ted cruz from u.s. senate. another declared candidate for president. in rising to the challenge she shares lessons she's learned from difficulties and triumphs. lindsey graham released an e book. he details childhood and career in the air force. former arkansas governor, huckabee gives take on policy
and kasich calls for return of traditional american values in stand for something. george is also running for president, in 1998 the former new york governor released when his book, taking the stand. american dreams, he outlines he is plan to advance economic opportunity. bernie sanders is another candidate for the democratic nomination for president. his 1998 now titled outsider in the white house was updated to include time in the senate and launch of presidential campaign. and in blue collar conservatives presidential candidate rick santorum argues the republican party must focus on the working
class. donald trump has written several best sellers, in his book crippled america he outlines political flat form. and finally, governor chris christie and o'malley have announced canned day but haven't released books. book t has covered many candidates, you can watch them on our website. booktv.org. >> sixty-sixth annual book awards was held this past wednesday in new york city. this year's winners. robin lewis and awards to james patterson for their contribution for american literature and the literary community. ♪ >> thank you very much.
thank you. okay, we are not going to begin till everybody is seated and quiet because some important stuff is going on. ladies and gentlemen of the jury, before we begin let's have a big round of applause for the national book found -- foundation, everybody. love, show your love. [applause] >> excellent. and a little protip, you have got to check out their amazing website national book.org. i've been there. it is exciting, it is addictive. i have made it my homepage, i have. i start every day at national book.org and if you go there, you can literally spend all day on the faq's because you know all those questions that you are frequently asked about the
national book foundation, they are answered as last, yeah. for example, one question i have found myself asking frequently is what is the national book foundation. right? you don't know. you just applauded for them and you do not know who they are. don't lie to me national book awards audience. you're better than that. i went to national book.org/faqs and here is what i found. in 1986 the publishing community established the national book foundation to oversee the awards, diversify and expand their mission. okay, now at this point i found myself losing consciousness but check out the website, it is
awesome. nationalbook.org, ladies and gentlemen, let's hear it. [applause] >> we are rolling now. >> ladies and gentlemen, i'm so honored to be your host tonight. i'm here for the same reason you are here, i love books. we are all here, everybody in this room loves books, right? [applause] >> even the agent loved their books and they are here tonight. i grew up in a household that was filled with books, my parents were these super intellectual, graduates and met as undergraduates at harvard. i say the last thing at the risk of making you hate them because
really the most al -- alianated thing is that they went to harvard. that's true. if i said that i cooked meth, for example, you would be like we should be compassionate, we don't know what led him to cook meth but if i told you i went to harvard, you're like what a -- [laughter] >> and you would be right. you would be absolutely right. they were like the supersmart people. it was hard to deal with, it was sort of challenging for me. little story. i remember one time i was in middle and we were sitting around the dinner table and i guess i was looking a little bit down in the mouth and my dad said to me, what's wrong, and i
said, all the kids at school are continuously telling me i'm a queer and in those days in the 70's high school queer, weird, uncool, unpopular, that sort of thing. and my dad looked at me and he said, they're not continuously telling you're a queer. [laughter] >> they're continually telling you you're a queer. [laughter] >> continuously would be you're queer, queer, queer, queer. [laughter] >> continually would be you're
queer, you're queer. and the moral of that story is that is why i'm severely damaged. that's true. well, i want to thank you for letting me talk about myself for the last five minutes, although i must say if you're not in the mood to hear people talk about themselves, you have come to the wrong place tonight. [laughter] if history is any guide, it's going to kind of be a theme up in here tonight. yes, but that's cool because it's the national book awards. ladies and gentlemen, are you ready for the show. [applause] [cheers and applause] >> are you ready? i have hosted this three times and i have to say this is the best national book award audience i've ever dealt with it. you guys are a pleasure, absolute pressure. you know, i'm not doing this for the money, i'm not being paid,
the national book foundation made that abundantly clear. [laughter] >> they were like you're getting a free meal and metro card and then you're out of here. i was like, dude, i did not get into publishing to make money. that would be insane. cool, no metro card. it was good. [laughter] >> all right, we are going to begin our medal presentation with the presentation of the literarian award. is that even a word? that sounds like an faq to me. we are about to find out. award to the most outstanding community service, teacher, superintendent, school leader's guide to excel eendz, --
excellence, chancellor, ladies and gentlemen, my hero, carmen ferena. ♪ ♪ >> now i know you have to be literary and funny to be here. it is a gift to an educator to have a writer that really gets people to read their books, and james not only got people to read their books but did something above and beyond, he contributed and donated for literacy to children. if any of you do not have a seventh grader in your life, for those who have had a seventh
grade in your life and survived it, consider yourself even luckier, what james patterson did, he didn't have to do, he decided to write for his mental school audience. i was privileged enough to be in the room when he was talked to middle-school kids about reading. what he did is something i tell people to write when they write to middle school, make the books gross and in the sense that everything goes wrong in their live and as negligent as possible and you'll have immediate readers. i have three grandsons and one of them looks at a book and breaks my heart. after meeting james and he donated books to all our sixth graders and i took the books about living life in middle school and charlie says, wow, he really gets us. it's wonderful to say that there's a writer that sees
beyond his own life and his own ability to write and make money and says what i want to do is give the gift of lit ra -- lit litracy. i hope that many of you will step up to the plait and help the children of new york city become more eager to read and write. thank you so much. [applause] [applause] >> thank you, carmen, thank you, thank you. special thanks to little brown, lare for sticking with me
through thick and thicker since i was 26, over a dozen years ago thanks to bob barnett that are here. it is a long, long way from north plank road to the national book awards. i feel happy to have my wife sue and my son jack here. to be honest, i feel a little bit uncomfortable. it's a long way from newburg. i feel uncomfortable, well, because i am the elephant in the room t stranger in a strange land the big mac. let me tell you a few things about myself and maybe you won't think of me as a stranger after tonight. it's relevant that it was a
tough town being a kid. it's still a tough town. his mother, my grandmother was a woman who clean it had poor house's bathroom and kitchen. for her work she and my father got the share a room. when my father was head to go world war ii he received message from this man said that his parents told him the night before that they loved him very much but they weren't his birth parents. he had been adopted when he was a year old. my grandmother had been force today give up her baby before my father was born.
my other grandfather was a cook. i spent more time with laura's family than with my own and that experience with a loving black family is how i came to write the novels. that's where it all started. during my senior year at st. patrick's high school, i signed up and i never got a response so i went to see the christian brother, only to affiliated, he then told me that i had a full scholarship to the
catholic college which i had never applied. it was a terrific experience. after manhattan i went to grad school in literature and also rewarding. i took a job in advertising believe it or not because i had been rejected for for a job driving a taxi cab, the dispatcher said my hair was too long, i wish i had the hair right now. that's nonfiction folks. possible to prove that i wasn't the a communist but i have been clean for over 20 years. during my years as a student and working at night shift at mcclain hospital in vermont i feel in love with novels and short stories, i read
everything. my favorite novels to this day are mr. bridge and mrs. bridge. when i was 25i wrote a novel of my own, a mystery and turned down by 31 publishers. it won't on aide -- edgar of mystery of the year. i kept a list of all the editors that turned down my novel. sometimes they send me books and asked for blurbs. because of the experiences i've always felt compelled to do the best i can, compelled to tell the best stories i'm capable of specially my stories for children, compelled to start an infant for kids called jimmy with message when child will say, please give me another
book. what a sweet thing to hear from your child, please give me another book. publishing needs to innovate more, much more. on occasion i found myself stupid i will saying that i believe publishing is in some trouble, that i believe american literature is in some trouble. i'm compelled to try to help independent bookstores survive and prosper and help school libraries in any way i can. when we made an offer we received over 28,000 pleas for help and that tells you an incredible story about the library. i guess i'm endured to being a doers. there's so much to do right now.
let's all be literarians, whatever the hell that means. most of us know what it means. let's find a way to make sure there's another generation of readers out there and bookstores and libraries. one another story, my grandfather would take me on his dli ri ruth and he delivered ice cream and we all know that that isn't the most romantic thing in the world to be driving a truck in the morning. every morning my grandfather would motor to west point and be singing at the top of his voice and the clumsy truck will drive, we would put another nickel. he told me, he said, jim, when you grow up, i don't care if
you're a truck driver or president of the united states, just remember that when you go over the mountain to work in the morning, you've got to be singing. i do. by the way, i didn't wear a tux because the newburg tux is powder blue with a ruffled shirt. thank you so much for this precious moment. [applause] >> let's hear one more time for james patterson, ladies and
gentlemen. yes. [applause] >> before we go on, just a little bit behind-the-scene stuff, i'm not suggesting they think i'm an idiot, but it is possible based on reading this, for example, after i introduced carmen, it says and i quote, borowitz takes the seat off stage, water available. i guess they're like, you know, after five minutes of speaking, i will be so parched i will need to rehydrate. well, it has been done. i can carry on now. they also provided with a protein biscuit, i'm good to go. how are the national book awards
working so far? are you enjoyingjoying the even? [applause] >> the best is yet to come. the best is yet to come. and now to present the med al for distinguished contribution to american letters the author of the invisible circus, look ae which was nominated in 2001 and the best seller, recent novel was also a national best seller, the national book critic, ladies and gentlemen, i love jennifer egon. [applause]
>> in a hundred years assuming that there are still people on earth and they still read books, it's hard to imagine a way they might better understand american life in the second half of the 20th century and the beginning of the 21st, then by reading don's novels. his sensibility -- yeah. [applause] >> his sensibility is epic. i use the word despite that epic is going the way of awesome because no other will exactly do. for scale of inquiry is global and historic. over 45 prolific years he has pushed into the sidelines with pressures of an ordinary human
collide with history. who else could follow underworld, saga of 50 years of american life with the body artist, an int your -- interior novel with ghost. more than one has raised questions. what role does an artist expect to play in a world that's so muscled and flattened by technology that the only act are acts of violence? but i'm getting it wrong harping on his ambition. to my mind his work is outstanding. he has impact gift for catching speech. it was the dialogue in his books that made me realize
conversation is mostly repetition and that people never really answered each other. it's also what renders up the humanity of his character. never settled premier beauty, the most familiar thing becomes strange in the descriptive hands , she liked working past the feeling of this is it. importance to keep going and come upon a moment of blessing. her work is made of blessings.
later a writer says of his own profession what terrorists gain, novelist lose. 1991. what will happen to reading and writing in this new century. it's a question i'm guessing most people in this room have asked request a certain urgency. my own answer is always the same. it's up to us, the writers. if we capture textures of contemporary lives in way that feel essential, people will read us, fictions have done this repeatedly. he has answered his own question. the artist who can show us our american lives at this moment and help us to fathom is
performing an essential role. i'm so grateful to me for the rigor and play fullness of his work and prove to go my generation of writers that fiction can do anything it wants. it is my great honor and pleasure to present don with the medal for distinguished contribution to american writers. [applause] ♪ [applause]
>> i'm here to talk about myself. books, this is why we're here this evening. early books, paperbacks, the first books i ever owned and it resembled some kind of evil old and scared and crumbled at the touch of human finger. i'm the human in the story. and when i left the book from the shelves contingently i -- gently what a book carries with it.
the house of the dead, first printing, 1959, 50 cents, adventures, thomas, badly bruised copy, first printing, may 1956, cover illustration includes a woman wearing black stockings and nothing else. the number scrolled in the front cover, did i wrote the numbers, do i remember the naked woman more clearly, 45 cents. words on paper, hand-held, each wrinkled spine baring a title, the lives inside, authors and characters, the lives of the
books themselves, books in rooms, the one room where i used to live and i read the books that stand on the shelves all these years later and where i became a writer myself. many of these books were packed in boxes hidden for years, maybe this is why i find myself gazing like a museum, two long roads in a room down the hall. reflections in a golden eye caution the colors and the margins of each page resembling nicotine hands. phantom books, 1953, 25 cents. are any of the writers of these old frailed volumes still alive? i don't have to study the authors' names to think of recent departures, friends, joe
and peter and edgar, others i did not get to know as nearly as well. bob stone. printed with blind pages. in case between protective covers. old definition needing to be expand of electronic devices. but here are the old paperbacks. book still in native skin, not the writer, sentences on a sheet of paper. here i'm not the writer, i'm the
grateful reader. thank you for this honor. [applause] >> john delillo, ladies and gentlemen. [applause] >> enjoy your dinner and we will be back with the national book awards. thank you. ♪ ♪ >> good evening, on behalf of the board of the national book foundation, i want to welcome you to the 66th national book
awards. we are -- we are packed this evening. it is great to see so many of you here, it's a special evening, the national book awards is the biggest night of the year for the national book found allegation, -- foundation, it's not the only thing that we do. one of the programs here, we have a video, we are ready to run that individual bow. >> when i was young i never read books as pleasure. it took me a while to come around in being the reader. one of the most important things you can do to a person. >> the national book started in 2007 as an intervention, we
believe that everyone regardless of who they are and where they live are entitled to the joys of reading. >> some famous book that we haven't read before and we get to analyze and play games. >> in bookup kids get to choose and keep the books they read. bookup is a national program serving over 420 students annually and book of faculty is so key to that success. >> if you teach a book, you know that kids are really excited about books. i've never seen kids as excited add the way that they are when you come in with all the books and they realize that they get to keep them. it's unparallel. it's an amazing thing. >> this is often the students to build a library for themselves and their families. bookup provided students over 25,000 books free of charge. we also take them on field trips
to local libraries and bookstores and give them money to spend on books of their choosing. [laughter] >> just to see the kids genuinely exciting but still engaged in literature, that's really fantastic time for me. >> i actually want to be an author when i grow up and bookup fits in because it gives me ideas on how to be a good author. >> you have like a bad day and come to bookup and you finish it off on a good note, you are always optimistic. >> a book could actually tell you things that you never knew about yourself. >> kids need to see themselves as protected. they will always need that and they haven't always had the opportunity. i think you can see a lot of them are used to not seeing themselves and we are working with kids with color, a lot of
children of color, you know, truly represents who they are. >> bookup continues to empower the most vulnerable and want to be able to bring this to more sites. ♪ ♪ >> when an organization is nationally recognized as the book foundation really understands the need, that's a change. it's really important. it's going to speak to all the lgbtq's. there's a community out there looking out for them. ♪
>> we want to make bookup available for every state, for every school, for every student. donate now and help the national book foundation create a new generation of life-long impassion readers all across the country. >> the best thing that they say in bookup is what are we reading next. [shouting] ♪ ♪ >> thank you, thank you, and thank you to the terrific national book foundation staff for their great work on this and others programs. thank you. [cheers and applause] >> yeah.
>> now, one of the things that's special about tonight is tonight when our literary stars come out, i would like to recognize by name, it's an incredible list. i'm going to ask you to hold your applause. so we have with us tonight winners of the prize, michael cunningham, annette is winner of national book award and a member of national book foundation board. adam johnson, tracy smith. we have edgar, and winners of national book award. robert taro, don tellilo, phil
clye and gloria, please join me in recognizing these great writers who are here. [cheers and applause] >> thank you for being here. now, before we go on to the award ceremony we have to thank barnes & noble, penguin random house, i remember penguin random house, big supporters. amazon, book span. debra willey.
thank you for making this possible. [applause] >> thank you also for our afterparty committee. everybody here is invited in the afterparty, it's up in the boll -- balcony behind me. thank you. [cheers and applause] >> thank you. thank you to our extraordinary dinners who have transform third-degree dinner, debra, shelley, thank you. [applause] >> thank you to fellow board members who worked so hard and care about the foundation and its mission. i have one more thank you. i have a big thank you here. a big one.
he has made a huge difference in the world. since he arrived bookup, you saw the video 535 awards, national book awards on campus, these are programs that. >> launched, moving to this venue, people remember the old venue, adding the long list, adding the afterparty, announcing the finalists on national television and national radio, it's happening tonight. countless ways in which harold has made a difference. as we owe him a great deal and we spent time to figure out what
gift to give. where's morgan? signed first editions of the two books that the judges voted to be the best works of fiction ever to win a national book award for fiction. so we -- those two books were, when we did this a few years, morgan harold helped organize this, complete stories that won award in 1972 and invisible man which won the award in 1953. amazing, right? [applause] >> so it turns out that getting a signed first edition is really hard. i was talking to morgan about it, right, i can't find this. it turns out it's actually impossible because the book was
published in 1971 and she passed away 1964, so we did get a first edition but not signed. we did get a signed first edition of invisible man and i tried to look into it today to see if i could learn more about it and i was really struck by the inscriptions so i'm going to read you something about the inscription here. this is what it says. it says this copy was inscribed by ellison. first dark-skinned african american model, left to work in
france, she later returned to the united states and was a successful model here for many years. so the edition we have for harold is signed personally inscribed by ralph ellison written to helen williams and knowing harold as i do and knowing the values, i thought would make more meaningful as a gift. i would like to ask harold to step up, come up here on stage and give him these gifts, please join me in recognizing harold. [cheers and applause] >> thank you.
[cheers and applause] >> thank you, thank you, please sit down because lynn wants to move things forward. thank you, david, and thank you to everybody here. i have not spoken since my first year when i talked about what my literary values were. i do want to clear one thing up before i go, and it comes from the frequently asked question section of the national book award. a literarian is a person that dedicates life to enjoyment of literature. it's the 19th century word that went out of fashion until it was
revived by the national book award to start the literarian award. i consider myself a literarian in the old style and the old style because dedicating myself to literature has been one of the great pleasures of my life and i want to thank the board of the national book foundation for giving neglect opportunity to work with you, i want to thank the staff of the national book foundation because none of the things we have done in the past ten years, would not have been possible with creativity or imagination and without their energy, and so really they deserve a lot of the credit of anything that's happened. [applause] >> and the last thing i would like to say is thank everybody here in the book industry and out there to anybody that's watching, when you're a book person, that's really one thing you can do, work, live in the life of books and you really
don't want to do anything else. the fact that i've been doing that for the past years, it's been a great pleasure in my life and i thank you very much for giving me that opportunity. [cheers and applause] >> and now on behalf of the foundation, it's all our finalists, good luck and on to the award ceremony. [applause] >> okay, the awards will be given out in reverse al -- alphabetical. that's the way we are going to roll tonight. young people's literature.
yes? come on. yeah. [cheers and applause] >> you were young once. poetry. [cheers and applause] >> nonfiction. [cheers and applause] >> and finally fiction. [cheers and applause] >> okay. to present the national book award in young people's literature is the author of dark water, a 2010 finalist for the national book award for young people's literature and you can't leave me now, stories of true crime, she rand her husband are the authors of decoding of
lana morris. ladies and gentlemen, laura mcniel. ♪ ♪ >> reading all spring and summer in this incredible diverse category reminded me that it's even harder to write well for young people than it is to see them well. you have to start with what they like and introduce complexity. you're trying to make audition that they will eat now but still appreciate later one they will be proud to love. five nominated books in this story have achieved that. all of them speak to young
readers about the transition from not knowing who you are to knowing both who you are and who you want to be. i speak not only for myself but for my incredibly well-read fellow judges, john joseph adams, greg nary, terry and elliot in thanking the finalists for writing books that can be loved for a lifetime. ali benjamin, the thing about jelly fish. [cheers and applause] >> laura ruby, phone gap. [cheers and applause] >> steve, most dangerous. [cheers and applause] >> daniel and the secret history of the vietnam war.
>> wow, i finally achieved my father's dream for me. to be an nba star. [laughter] >> i don't know how the judges did this, the field of books, the finalists were so -- everything was so different. it's like comparing apples to oranges to grapefruits to ban bananas, i'm just thrilled there are so many people to thank starting with my editor rosemary who shaped this book and took this bizarre story and then helped me make it something that people could read. everyone at harper collins and
really editor in my career who has shaped me as a writer from david gail, everyone in my career is made from so many different people in helping you and believing in you from from my agent andrea brown that believed in me -- she hates when i say this, since i was still in college when i wrote my first book and came back to her years later and she has been there supportive. he's been a friend as well as an agent. everyone else in my career. debbie, trevor, eric and jan. so many people. my kids, but for this book
mostly brandon who when he was in second grade did an ocean report on the mariana's trench. i thought challenger deep, what a great title for a book. for years i had no story, i just had the title until brandon was a teenager and he started having some problems. he started to have anxiety that got worse and worse, he started to believe things that weren't true and over a brief period of time fell off a cliff into a place that many people have trouble coming back from. he was diagnosed with different things, everything from depression, schizophrenia, those labels for mental illness,
they're just labels, it's so free-flowing, it presents differently for every patient. when he couldn't tell the difference, dad, i feel like i'm at the bottom of the ocean screaming at the top of my lungs and no one could hear me. i couldn't write it then. it took years until he was better, until he was thriving and had come from the depths that i asked him if i could write a book about mental illness. not about him but a kid that was going through a lot of things that he went through. i took art work that he did during the time that he was struggling with that and used it to help shape a fantasy sequence of the book with real life and worked with him every step of the way and the response has been amazing. it has been a healing process
for both of us. hopefully it will continue to help people and affect them in a positive way to -- to open up a dialogue about mental illness. remove the stigma of mental illness and to show people who are suffering that they're not alone, one out of three families in this country face mental ill innocence one way or another and we have to deal with that, we have to accept that and we have to open up and talk about it more so that we can understand it better and i hope that this book helps to do that. i also want to mention that brandon's doctor, dr. robert is here with us tonight. he flew out from california to be here with us. you helped brandon's life and it means so much that he's here. [applause] >> most of all, brandon, this is yours as much as it is mine and i would like you to come up here
and share it with me. [cheers and applause] >> come on up. thank you. thank you all very, very much. >> that's our show, ladies and gentlemen, goodnight. [laughter] >> i just think it's unfair to whoever has to come up next. just trying to get you off the hook. but that was amazing. another round of applause for father and son.
amazing. [applause] >> to present the national book award for poetry, the writer whose books include fast animal, won the memorial poetry prize and was a 2012 national book award poetry final, honors include an open voice award and fellowships and the province town of fine attar work center. ladies and gentlemen. [applause] ♪ ♪
>> the eye begins to see and i think given our current situation in the world and the events in paris just being one marks one, it seems clear that given the books that i and the other judges have chosen, i think all writer who is are trying to respond with such a way that maybe we invite a little more sanity into the world. it certainly didn't make the task any easier. i think i can speak for all the judges in saying that. there were so many books, you know, which is once a blessing, of course, it's good to see that americans are healthy but at the same time it was too many books to love, too many books to want
to carry forth into the spotlight, right? but anyway,let me thank my fellow judges. [applause] >> the great willy perdomo. kathy, catha, i'm sorry, jan. [applause] >> and unfortunately sherman alxei. he's not feeling well. [applause] so here are five finalists. you have ross gay. [applause] >> published by the university of pittsburgh press.
terrance hays, how to be drawn. [cheers and applause] >> published by penguin books. robin lewis, voice of the demons. [cheers and applause] >> published by alfred. ada lemon. [cheers and applause] >> bright dead things, published by milkweed editions. [applause] >> and finally patrick phillips, broken machine. [cheers and applause] >> published also by alfred a. [applause]
♪ >> i was totally killing at my table, my buzz. hi, everyone. thank you very much for this profound honor. [cheers and applause] [laughter] >> thank you to the national book foundation and most specially to the judges wherever you are in the room for your generous attention, for the rest of my days i will never forget this moment. i will never forget it. thank you. i prepared a little thing to say because i'm really type a and trust me you don't want me to add, i can't do what neal just
did, there's no way. i want to talk about the longest epic in the world, there was a minor character i loved very much and he's the son of the king of outcast, which means he's the prince of outcast. and he inspired to be a great archer and there's always a but, but his but in order to achieve goals, he wanted to study the master archer but drona had to reject him. was determined and so he, instead went back into the woods and built a statute for many, many years. and then one day all of the princess from the court found a deer, arrows in his mouth, he
had been killed. and they could not imagine what magic had taken place to kill this deer because no one, only a god could perform that kind of archery, indeed it turned out to be ecolavia. how did you learn to be a master of archery, he said, well, i built a statute of and i performed before him for years and years and years and it was because of his devotion that the gods, to his teacher, drona that the gods granted him the blind vision and incredible skill. i begin with the story not only because i love epic but because i've had the profound honor of studying with some of the greatest poets of my mind. in my own mind i have established countless writers.
i've copied and stolen from these writers every gorgeous and strong and sharp gesture and evil treat that i could mind. the generosity is one of the reasons i'm here tonight. please allow me to thank my teachers first. marian, nina payne, andrew soci, evelyn, mar -- marilyn nelson, most specially the person i call the sharon code because she's so magical. thank you deeply.
thank you as well to the institutions who supported my work, nyu, ufc and new hampshire college. i'm going to skip. i don't know what i'm doing standing here right now. i could never imagine that a manuscript can be handled so tenderly. a little known story it's weird when i was a little girl, i used to start drawing, obsessed when i was about 7. [laughter] >> okay, go figure. later i got interested and then alfred historical person came into my field because i was doing research in the new york
society, what is not known about alfred is that this man put aside tens of thousands of dollars, she prepared for litigation, he was so devoted to authors that no matter what he -- he protected them. you can publish whatever you want and i will litigate to protect you. so he went onto practice activism. he went on the publish and of course, my national treasures tony morrison, kevin young, profound honor for me that --
>> you, that guy. susan brown. edith, niclas vladimir and my editor debra garbleson. [applause] >> thank you for approaching my work and me. nobody not even the rain has such small hands. thank you. [applause] >> i'm going to take this a little bit more of your time, i'm sorry. family comes, mythical home in the foundation.
[cheers and applause] >> thank you for your contribution. i'm a child of the 60's and 70's. and so i finally would like to thank my family who have been the best friends my mind could ever have hoped for. thank you sheila, adrienne perry, claudia, alexander, and most specially good and perfect sister candy lewis watkins. i need to imagine that my father and aunts and grandparents and cousins are sitting on a tar right now watching all of us
while they're playing good wi wisks. this award is completely for your. thank you for your love. i want to end with a poem because it's appropriate by pablo. in light of what is happening all over the world and has been happening all over the world, not just for century but millenia, keeping quiet. now we will count to 12 and we will all keep still. for once on the face of the earth let's not speak in any language, let's stop for one second and not move our arms so much. it would be an exotic moment without rush or engines, we
would be all together in a sudden strangeness, fishermen in the cold sea would not harm whales and the men gathering salt but look at his hurt hands, those who prepare green wars, wars with gas, wars with fire, victories with no survivors, put on clean clothes and walk about their brothers in the shade doing nothing. what i want should not be confused with total inactivity. life is what it's about. i want no truth with death. and for once could not do nothing, perhaps a huge silence might interrupt with saddens of never understanding our ourselves and threatening ourselves with death, perhaps the earth can teach us as when
everything seems death and later proves to be alive. now i count to 12 and you keep quiet and i will go. thank you for this profound award, not only for my work but most specially for your attention, honor, tradition from what my works bring and i'm very honored to be here, thank you so much. [cheers and applause] >> to present the national book award for nonfiction is the author of 24 books of nonfiction
and poetry including the best sellers, a national history of the senses, zoo keepers wife. received the 2015 henry award for nature writing. ladies and gentlemen udian ackerman. [cheers and applause] ♪ ♪ >> it's a pleasure an an honor to be here this evening to help celebrate the world of nonfiction and the native nonfiction, or whatever we are now calling the shape shifter that includes everything from history and economics to journalism, politics, natural history, narrative, nonfiction and memoir of all, whatever we
are calling it in the timeless effort to make the world more stable. it's an honor that can be challenging and fun to write n recent years it's also become a wildly popular one in publishing. we have nearly 500 nonfiction books to explore. reading them together is a panel of five was like being part of the very privileged book club. it's been an an honor to work with authors and criticses on the nonfiction authors. [applause] >> adrienne mayor.
[cheers and applause] >> it's an incredible honor to be here. when readers pick up books, they see the finished copy, but they don't see like the five drafts of the book that you wrote. they don't see the moment when you weren't even chose a book, if i make it to the finish line, everything will be okay. i will telling my buddy tony, his book is coming out in february, i believe, you already won, you already won before the book even came out because you made it into a book. and that's such a beautiful, beautiful thing and as much as i hold the joy and i hold that happiness with me, you know, the fact of between the world and me, it comes out of a very, very place, when me a chris began,
pull this together, and if you saw the edits and responses, you will see that it is, in fact, an audessy. one thing we had the core of it. that was the death, the murder, the killing of my friend prince carmen jones. howard university was a gathering place for black people and the book referred to it as the meca and we called it the meca because it was, you know, you would see black folks from all over the world, all over from various, various, economic groups gathered. my duddy is in the audience, he knows what i'm talking. one of the people that i met was
prince jones, you know, i often say n the african american community we have ethic to being twice a good and if you look at the notion of being twice as good you would have had the family of prince jones. his mother jones was born to a family of croppers in louisiana, worked her way up, privileged education in her life was athlete in school, twoant lsu and became a doctor, became head of radiology and served in the navy, did everything america asked of her, raised a beautiful boy, prince jones, exceptional, exceptional student. could have gone to harvard, princeton and yale but want to go come to go howard university where i met him, i know everybody says this about people after they die, but i tell you i've never met an individual that was so filled with love and
compassion. i won't tell you the entire story because that's why we wrote the book. he was killed because he was mistaken for a criminal. he was mistaken for a criminal because at the heart of our country is the notion that we are okay with the presumption that black people somehow have an angle, free disposition toward criminality. we are in this moment where folks are recording on their phones and every day you cut on the tv and you see some sort of violence being directed at black people, you see a young girl being flipped out of a chair and dragged across the floor in the school and you see somebody being choked to death and you see something reaching for their license and being shot over and over again, and it keeps happening. i have waited for 15 years in this moment, the officer that
killed was not prosecuted. he wasn't even disciplined by the police force. he was sent back out in the streets to work as though nothing happened as though prince jones' live didn't matter at all. i'm a black man in america, i can't punish that officer. i can't secure the safety of my son, i can't go home and tell him at night, you know, it's going to be okay. you will not end up like prince jones, i just don't have that right, i don't have that power. but what i do have the power to do is to say, you won't enroll me in this lie, you won't make me part of it. [cheers and applause] >> and that was -- that what was