tv 2017 National Book Awards CSPAN November 24, 2017 11:00pm-1:01am EST
attributable to unconstitutional federal housing policy that was practiced in the 1930s, 40s and into the 50s. the wealth gap is attributed to this segregation back some of these authors have or will be appearing on the tv. you can watch them on a website, booktv .org. ♪ ♪ ladies and gentlemen, please look into your stage cynthia nixon. >> hello, while thank you so much. it is a great honor to welcome
everyone to the 68 national book award. [applause] like most people here tonight i have always been an avid reader and i come from a family of avid readers and i have birthed at least one avid reader, the jury is still out on the younger ones. as an only child and the daughter of two only children it wasn't uncommon in our house to find everyone in separate corners, each of us buried in a book. huge nerds, you might have called us. it's a privilege to be in his room full of huge nerds. i feel right at home. my mother's father was a rare book dealer in chicago so the nerd gene goes back even farther in my family. one year there was a terrible fire and my grandfather store
and the fire itself didn't reach the volume the fire hoses did. water, water, everywhere. his whole inventory ruins and my grandfather felt he had no choice but to close up shop. my grandparents packed up and moved to the ozarks in the heart of missouri where my grandmother was from and they both were effectively retired at that point but my grandfather maintained a sideline of mail order books which he operated from their basement. as a new york city kid the country for grandparent time i would come down daily to play in their basement which held my mother's old dollhouse, my grandmother's home canned fruits and vegetables and rows and rows of my grandfathers 8-foot high bookshelves crammed full of their treasure. i grew up playing between the stacks, the site, the intoxicating musty smell in the presence of books infusing so
many of my missouri childhood memories and it wasn't until many years later that i would come to appreciate how metaphorically apt that was. a love of books was foundational in my own life and it is important to me now as i expect it is important to all of you that we perpetuate a culture that values and celebrates literature in the world that books are able to open to us. [applause] the national book award is a huge part of that mission and it is thrilled to be here with everyone tonight recognizing exceptional literature and increasing the visibility of books which are among the most powerful weapons have against what has lately felt like an often hostile world. i think this past year has felt overwhelming and disheartening toan many people and it is a alo
felt exhausting. for women, for people of color, for immigrants, for muslims, for the lgbt community and for so many groups. to remain on t the defensive and nearly every o waking hour takes its toll. for some of us books provide a welcome escape into someone else's world and for others they serve as a valuable resource for arming ourselves with indispensable knowledge of history but all books offer something we need so desperately right now. brought into perspective. books allow us to view circumstances through the eyes of someone else and they cultivatee a busy and they inspire action and they make us feel less alone and expose us to experience we couldn't imagine on her own. books matter in tonight helps remind us of that.
[applause] tonight is the night to celebrate so let us get started with the honoring. the first of theon words presend tonight our lifetime achievement awards to makef sure that we kik things off the general sense of inferiority for the vast majority of attendees. we begin by honoring a man service to the literary community is unparalleled. the first of these lifetime achievement awards is literary and award for outstanding contribution to the american literary community which has given annually to a group or person who has proven a remarkable dedication to expanding the audience for books ande reading. here to president the literary and award is none other than president bill clinton. [applause]
i have to read your bio, sir. i know there are applauding. hold on. william jefferson clinton, wait, hold on. well, here he is. here is bill. [applause] please, sit down while i tell you a little bit about the president. william jefferson clinton, the first democratic president in six decades to be elected twice, led the united states to the longest economic expansion in american history i including the creation of more than 22 million jobs.
you can set for that. [applause] after leaving the white house president clintonon established the clinton foundation in order to continue working on the causes he cared about. since its founding the foundation has endeavored to help build more resilient communities by developing and implementing programs that improve health, strengthen local comedies and protect the local environment. president clinton serves as ther top united nations envoy for the indian ocean tsunami recovery effort, the un special envoy to haiti and its partner numerous times and presidents george hw bush and george w. bush to support relief efforts communities devastated by natural disasters. president in was born in arkansas and lives in new york with his wife, secretary hillary rodham clinton.
[applause] >> thank you very much. first of all, i owe cynthia an apology for barging in but i thought i was being introduced. i'm sorry. [laughter] glad to be here. i thank you for having me in at the special honor for me to be able to president this award to dick robinson, the president and ceo of scholastic. i love this crowd. i love the authors and artists, the editors, the agents, the publishers and all the other groups of people who make it possible for books to become reality. if any of you are willing to welcome you to come to our home and try to organize ours so we can walk through the halls.
hillary and i live in this farmhouse and we keep trying to find newew places to put our books. we are about to get to where we have to take to the paintings on the wall to build more bookshelves. i only have three minutes. [laughter] maybe four. i come from a family of voracious readers inn the last two years the craters. the other two, except for my first book, sell better than i do. i think that everyone who likes to read should have a good appreciation for what it takes to bring a book together and get it to the readers. it is the greatest model of creative corporation i can think of and it's the way american and
the world should work. tonight you get the literary and award people who have made reading important, possible inaccessible for as many others as possible who actually connect authors to readers and in many diverse ways. nobody deserves this more than dick robinson. because of him, scholastic has, among other things, been a wonderful partner with our foundations too small to fill project started by hillary and chelsea several years ago to make reading an important part of talking, singing, storytelling to young children. 80% of his brain is formed by the age of three. we now know that by the age of
four low income kids have on average heard 30 million fewer words than children from higher income families. because of people like dick the gap t by race and income and the readiness to start school is closing rapidly. [applause] thanks to scholastic they have given literally hundreds of thousands of books, more than 700,000 just to our little projects for families to reach their kids when you're in a doctors clinic doing walter visit for what will soon be 5000
coin operated laundry's where parents that can afford a wash machine have to go and result in that time they are now filling them with books for what is already more than 80 new parks being built around america and will soon be many more that are now filled with books. i just got back from a tour of our project in baltimore, jacksonville and st. louis and in baltimore is someone like me who shows up in the year to lead him by the hand again mature in the designated leader was a 40 -year-old mother of a four -year-old child. she said i got started at this late and tragically her husband was four years older than she
was in he died of heart attack one night in sleep. here she is and she wakes up in the morning and has to bury her husband and isba a single mom. this young daughter was unbelievable. she was so literate and she said i read six-ten books a day to my daughter and my husband was very pleased with the way we were raising her so i intend to continue this part with these books will help me do so. just about every human being knows down deep inside that if you have a child and raising a child is your most important j job. grateful for dick for personal reasons. he said hillary and me copies of the harry potter's books
wouldn't have to wait in line at the bookstore. [applause] was one of those things that the establishment gets better so terrible. [laughter] ud a letter when i was president saying i should give ruby bridges, the national presidential citizens medal because her contribution in new orleans had been overlooked. she had a pretty tough life. i did i'm so glad i did. it's easy to overlook the good people. he sent chelsea books and eventually my grandkids. reading to your children and grandchildren is about the neatest thing that i've ever done. i still get a great deal of pleasure out of it but i think
about all the parents and grandparents who would never have been able to do that if it were not for you and scholastic and what you do. people who would've felt left out and left behind. dick robinson has one whole bunch of words and he deserved them all but i don't think he's ever going to win one that will reflect his heart better because all over this country there are people who are forming new neural networks at the speed of light and stimulated by books that wouldn't be there were it not for his day job in scholastic and his commitment to this kind of philanthropic work.
it's a good example of what i try to tell young people all the time and you don't have to be an elected office to do the public good. private citizens can and they should and in a time of great division they must so i ask you to join me in congratulating the national book foundation's b-17 literary and award for outstanding service and literary community to dick robinson. [applause] ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪
>> that is only one of the stories he told me backstage about books and reading in children. what a remarkable human being, president clinton. we all remember him as someone to talk to anybody and connect with them as if they were the only person in the world that is the way i feel right now. i feel like i should sit down and speak on my behalf and that would be the end of it. i do want to thank you for comingor here tonight and for pt of the family with three best-selling authors who he for two including a children's book
and tonight we really honor hi him -- he said it all, the champion of books and reading for all and for his consistent leadership on issues of literacy, education, freedom of expression and particularly, of course, his passion and compassion for young people which is so evident in the way he just talked to us. thank you, president clinton. i won't sit down but i feel like i should right now. he also captured my wonder about the word literary in which i'm hesitant to share with the cabdrivers but i'm glad that i'm glad that he feels that somehow our company finds that word and the story about finding books
everywhere is close to my heart and i wish he had not referred to my work as completely charitable because my shareholders are always criticizing me for that but, nonetheless, thank you president clinton. i want to thank the executive director, lisa lucas and determine david steinberger -- [applause] you probably noticed this room is price as well as it used to be and that's because lisa and david and what they've done and as well as the directors of the national book foundation for technology and me in scholastic this year. your leadership is making this organization and vital part of the reading culture that we honor tonight. i want to thank the 10000 people of scholastic around the world each of whom will tell you that their job to help children to read, as well as the close
associates here tonight who have driven this company forward for many years including help on this short speech from two of my very closest friends. here with me tonight are also hemembers of the robinson family who share the scholastic stories and since my father started the company in 1920 as the high school magazine devoted to the best and the contemporary leadership and current social issues still are dna nearly 100 years later. finally, as two important parts of my message tonight i am so proud to introduce and honor and i can't name them all but the 12 authors here who join me in creating the books the children love as well as the chancellor of city schools in new york city who teaches more than 1 million children to learn to read and understandhe so the creative bos
in the schools and the distribution are all part of our story. i always wanted to be a writer and to be at these book awards i saw some great looking and great writers out there and getting pictures taken but i always wanted to receive the prize for a novel and i wrote several of them, unpublished. [laughter] now for reasons i will explain am so grateful to you for giving me the reading award instead. in my early 20s i became an english teacher and a good high school and discovered that about a third of my students could read well enough, most of them really didn't want to read or did not read competently and often because the books they were assigned were not connected to their lives. this became a personal challenge to me how can i get more kids to
read. after two years as a teacher i joined scholastic and we learned that the strength of c the compy was reaching directly into the classrooms to book clubs and magazines and getting an immediate response from students and teachers. this was an ideal platformm to make reading more exciting and more accessible kids that connected directly to their lives. research shows that if children choose ande on their books they are much more likely to read this them and by publishing the right content deeply rooted in the student interest scholastic was privileged to be the link between the child, the school and the book, enabling teachers job it is to inspire children to read and love treat the scholastic mission then as now is to a engage all children and ensure that our books and magazinesne are easily accessibe
and subject matter and reading level and in price and above all student interest. through the years we worked hard to define books and topics that would reach children from different backgrounds and i have personally been working on what is now called diverse book for more than 50 years. today we are keenly aware of the children in us schools are more economically diverse than ever before and the% of the children are color and so more effort needs to be made to find a wide range of diverse experiences in order to reach our goal of reading for all. [applause] that is an old i story that is always new. we are an enthusiastic promoter of booksks and reading not justs a gateway to academic success but is a great way to learn more about your 600 south and we want
to be. we happy to publish and sell award-winning books and equally happy to find books that make you laugh because we know that reading for fun is likely to turn you into a lifelong reader. in choosing scholastic to be honored tonight you are also recognizingig the power of books not just as a machine but creative enterprise which operates at thes highest artistc level and to enter the world of the child's imagination. brilliant artist and storytellers were here tonight work in fiction books, graphic novels and even will alternate illustrations and text to build a story. there is no formula what will work. to match the interests of the child with this great story are great characters is still the role of the story teller or artist. books like goosebumps, captain, magic school bus, even harry potter and the hunger games all titles which are labeled
children's books have topped the all-time bestseller list for all books, children and adults and will certainly live for generations. these books have converted nonreaders into readers and have been reading available to all. these titles have contributed to the education of children byth enlarging the world and helping them think that higher levels is showing them the magic of stories that define what it is to be human and of nonfiction information to help them understand the world we live in. to carry out our goal scholastic reaches the schools to make books available to large numbers of children who do not have access to bookstores or libraries for reading because of their teachers and schools. the last 50 years we have sold than 13 billion copies of more than 100,000 titles. mainly published by houses were in this room tonight including, course, scholastic.
during this period are us classroom magazines have also circulated about 15 billion copies. america would be at a place without the influence of all this reading and lives of children. most of this reading has taken place because of the pre- k-12 schools were millions of teachers work enthusiastically every day to help children learn to read. all schools should be equally equipped to educate children at a high level but, as you know, schools are thickly constrained by human and financial resources and provide unequal education depending on social class, zipeq code and access. equal education is not only the law of the land but the only solution to maintaining a democratic society. we must all work to help her schools have the resources they need to lift all children. [applause]
in the information world of the 21st century and as a children's publisher and educator we look to the future and we see the world as it will be 20 years, 30 years from now when the children that are in school now are adults in citizens but in that world the mid- 20th century is extremely likely that reading and learning, whether in print or digital form, will be more important than ever for for all people. we don't want the world to become 20% reading have an 80% have-nots. where access is the power of literature information and becomes a matter of status. for unless all you people can understand how to read and thank you understand the dimensions of the human spirit through stories and understand how the world works through information and actionon it is very likely that our society will shift imperceptibly at first to a
world like pan am where the elite power by technology will control information. we have a huge state in establishing a level playing field where everyone reads and understands, whether from a book or f facebook or twitter feed ensuring that all people have a voice in determining what their society should be and this is why i believe reading for all is an important idea for you to take away tonight and in the technology driven age the future depends on all people having access to reading and literature and information. as part of the larger of education for children and around the world readers will strive to be better and to be more connected to others to build a world of hope and caring to make their lives better in their societyro stronger. as writers, artists, teachers, librarians, booksellers and publishers, please join me in
recognizing the importance of tonight's message and battle cry, reading for all. thank you very much. [applause] >> congratulations again. the second lifetime achievement award will be presenting tonight is the medal for distinguished contributions to american letters. wow, whoever named thesete words new a lot of words but brevity is not like the one of them. [laughter]
this year's medal for distinguished contribution to american letters. [applause] some organizations might call it a lifetime achievement award but why use 40 four words when you e a thesaurus. thesaurus. it's a work that has had significant impact on the literary landscape, so naturally i don't really know her so i don't feel comfortable calling her annie or can i provide any illuminating personal anecdotes. my character and broke back
mountain lives in a paragraph near the end. they beefed me up in the movie. [laughter] my hair, too. i can't even say that i feel like i know her from her writing. i don't have something clever enough to spot her in that immense spectrum of humanity she has created. i am driving to work and i wonder did they make it to his daughter's wedding, or i am doing the dishes and i wonder if it survives the winter. so heartbreaking and so impossibly damned from birth i find myself thinking he's out in
the ditch. [laughter] as far as my brain is concerned, these people do in fact exist and as a result i find myself inclined to believe she just wrote it down, pulled back the curtain to give us all a peak which is wrong and disrespectful of the talent and i won't go intoto it now but to have creatd such electricity as she has done on a flat surface using nothing more than a literal or metaphorical ink to have written how it is there and to leaves us
with the warming ambers giving us the courage to hang on bleak and hopeful to have strict people to the bone and still remember their grace. all of that creeping richness emerging like nature tends to. it's not an accident, which leaves us with this astonishing truth, she really is that good. the contribution of american letters are that distinguished. heartbreak is a role experience that we all have in common whether we admit it or not even if the details may differ from person to person and we tend to run from our own sadness and fear or as observed with the
fear we often rage against or maybe happiness and wholeness disguising our brokenness with the voices and the leaders of light at th that the heartbreaks there all the same and the root structure of the tree on which nonetheless has grown into the walls of our house. it is the brave among us who can turn and look at the stark truth of humanity in the face, not turn into a pillar of salt and share who we are compassionately,y, honestly. she described her experience as a tingling concentration which she has tracked again and again the letter by letter. she has communicated to a world
that seems increasingly baked in ideological hardness who we are and perhaps more significantly what it is we are actually feeling a. because of her work i am better able to welcome the tenderness of loss if not the loss itself to navigate with a deep reference for the beauty and value of sad messages to say of life. the devastating poetry like the shirt seemed heavy until he realized there was another outside of it. it was his own plan to shirt lost some time ago.
the pocket with companies missing, the pair like to one inside the other. the dress i was wearing when i met my husband thanks to you. no, i don't know i know what we all owe her. some of the best-known titles are the three wyoming stories which include broke back mountain and the shipping news. some are the pulitzer prize, the faulkner award and the national book award. please join me in welcoming to the stage the recipient of the e medal for distinguished contribution of american letters, the singular,
for the judges of the medal i was surprised when i learned of it and i'm grateful and honored to have received it and to be here tonight and i think my editors, for it is her mettle medal. we don't live in the best of all possible worlds. the television sparkles with images of despicable sexual harassment reports. we cannot look away from the pictures of hurricanes and fires
from the repetitive crowd murders of gunmen burning with rage. we are made more anxious and we observe social media from the manipulation of a credulous population deciding into bitter cultures. we are living through a massivee shift of theg representative democracy to something called viral direct democracy now cascading over us in a tsunami of raw data. [applause] everything is situational into vicious confrontations. for some it is a time of growth and technological innovation
that is bringing us to an exciting new world and for others it is the opening of a difficult book without abo happy ending. to me, the most distressing circumstance of the new order is the accelerated destruction of the natural world and the dreadful belief that only the human species has the inalienable right to life and god given permission to take everything at once from nature where the mountain tops, wetlands or oil. the atrocious business of strippingg the earth of drowning the land and pesticides again may have brought us to a place where no technology can save us. i found an amelioration in becoming involved in citizen
science projects. this is something everyone can do. every faith has marvelous projects of all kinds working with fish, plants, animals, landscapes, water situations. yet somehow when the old discredited values and longings persist, we still have tender feelings for such outmoded notions such as truth, respect for others, personal honor, justice, equitable sharing. we still hope for a happy ending. we still believe that we can save ourselves and our damaged earth and indescribably difficult task as we discover the web of life is far more mysteriously complex than we thought and entangled with
factors we cannot even recognize that we keep on trying because there is nothing else to do. the happy ending still beckons and it is a hope of grasping it that we go on. the dilemma of choosing between the hard realities and the longing for the happy ending. she called it comes relation. they say darwin read novels to relax but only certain kinds, nothing that ended unhappily. if we haven't done something like that, enraged, he threw the book into the fire. i am ready to believe it. [laughter] scanning into his mind so many times and places he has had enough of the triumph of the strong over the weak, the
endless struggles to survive. he earned thehe right to have those at least in fiction if it's micro scales hence the silver lining of lovers reunited into the family is reconciled. the good names restored and married off to the persons, troublemakers damaged to other hemispheres as they are tossed down the stairs, the prodigal sons summoned home, hankies drench the tears of reconciliation, general celebration and the dog gone
astray in the first chapter turns up barking loudly in the last. thank you. [applause] [cheering] bad news for everyone who's black-tie outfits are already straining. it's time to eat. [laughter] we will break for dinner and for those watching the live stream of the ceremony on facebook live, highlights from lastt night's finalists reading for all 20 or finalists presented passages from their nominated books will now be shown while we
came across because of a national book award finalist. i thinkk it is the position on the vital importance of literature to who we are and as a country one of the aspects of greatness is going to be the quality of the art that we produce. >> it is sort of a lonely business to have yourself recognized to work being recognized by other writers and that really means something. the book foundation is important to me because it does not discriminate. it doesn't matter if you come from very little money or a lot of money it doesn't matter if you are an avid reader or coming to reading more slowly there is something of the national book k foundation for every community.
it's also to widen the audience and we work everyday to think ok of a new way to do that. >> we spend our years thinking about ways we can get people to build a lifelong habit of loving books and celebrating young authors. we worked in the department of education and the distributive event. >> there is a world without books. the national book foundation is helping to bring books to that world and there's other reasons but as far as i am concerned that outweighs everything else. this is unbelievable.
i grew up in rural alabama, very poor and i remember in 1956 when i was 15-years-old going to the public library trying to get a library card being told it was for black -- it was for whites y and not colored. to receive this award is too much. thank you. ♪ [cheering] books matter because they give us information and hope and connect us with other people. >> they matter because they help
i'm the executive director of the national book foundation. [applause] [cheering] and i am the chairman of the board of the national book festival. [applause] we are so thrilled to welcome you back and it's the portion of the evening we will learn who when the 2017 national book awards. before we get there, we want to say a few words of thanks. first and foremost a round of applause for all 20 of the finalists tonight. [applause] and another round of applause for the lifetime achievement honoree is.
[applause] we are so inspired by everyone we are celebrating tonight and my hope is that we won't just celebratee them tonight during the hours that we are here but people keep celebrating the work all year around. we need to thank the sponsors. we wouldn't be able to do this without our sponsors let me read you a list of who's sponsored us. thank you to s scholastic, barns and noble, penguin random house come publishing papers, thank you also to facebook -- >> first time. >> harpercollins, google, the lovinger foundation, thank you for all of you making this possible. [applause]
thank you also to our dinner committee for the amazing evening, to my fellow board members, to the 2017 national book award judges who do an incredible amount of work, and thank you to the national book foundation staff and especially the executive director. thank you. [applause] [cheering] >> also thank you to the board of directors thank you for letting me continue to have a job and for coming here and supporting us it has been an honor to put tonight together and all the work that we do together. but there's just seven of us. we are tiny but mighty and it wouldn't be possible without the group of people that i call team
books. [applause] so a shout out to them. this is her last award with us. tonight is about the power of story and recognition, celebration and innovation, stories we are incredibly proud of and extremely invested in growing. a story of connecting books to readers young and old and those already devoted to the written word. we strive to ensure that the bucs stay a part of our cultural
conversation and as a part of book festival college campuses, libraries and all kinds of communities that need access toi literature, so we are really indebted to all of our partners around the country and the reason we do this work and the reason it is possible is that we do not do it alone. we do it w with all of you, so many in this room redo it with you holding your hand. it's worth it to take a minute to talk about the foundation we talk about all n the time. we are always on a mission. the mission of the foundation is to celebrate great literature, expand its audience and increase the impact of the books on our culture. that's the mission of the foundation. so why don't we come together once a year for the book award, the foundation staff is working
all year long on programs that have an impact to make a real difference. to the housing developments and over 255 states these are places that didn't have the bucs that they needed. >> thank you for the foundatio . the b program for junior high school kids fifth grade through eighth grade and 20 different sites, hundreds of kids are getting a chance to start their own home libraries, and we've been able to bring national book award honorees like the finalist tonight to events all over the country, so amherst massachusetts, tucson arizona to morehead minnesota the foundations that support that kind of work we are just getting started. today we found out we got a
grant from "the new york times" tomorrow from the art for justice fund we will be doing projects for the next three years to help educate people. [applause] [cheering] this is a moment of exceptional potential possibility. there is so much we canan do to get amplified the joy of reading some of the power of literature and value of. as we have told you books matter and we rely on your support and encouragement to ensure that we carry the message far and wide. this is how it can continue to grow to include new communities and celebrate new writers and maybe pay more for the awards. and to place books firmly at the center of the culture. [applause]
in your program this evening and yes this is the part i'm going to ask you for money, there is an envelope in your program and at the end of the evening there will be a little box where you can place these envelopes to separate the work that we are doing. we published a book called the hypothesis, great book and what the happiness research shows clearly is if you want to get happier, but directly t the coro it is to give money directly to something you care about. i said before that this is joyful work. >> we have a lot of happiness in thee room and we are excited to offer the opportunity to be even happier.
we really do want you to support us. nonetheless, moving on from that, it can connect us as nothing else can. together we can expand and celebrate great writing across the country and makeke it known loud and clear books do you matter, thank you so much for reading books and making books and for the leaving and not stand for believing in books. [applause] [cheering] and now congratulations again to all of the finalists and onto thee award ceremony. remember you are winners already. [cheering] thank you so much, david and
lisa. if tha that big ego of the john lewis acceptance speech didn't touch you deeply, please exit the room and immediately but don't forget to drop off your donation card in the back. clearly the national book foundation is accomplishing incredible things allna year rod but it all begins with the tie in the program to announce what everybody has been waiting for and what's 20 finalists had to send her tv t said through the r break anticipating. the book words have been recognizing e exceptional works since 1950 and this year is no different. these 20 offers from debuts two previously nominated writers are all brilliant and powerful and exciting week, 15 of the 20 finalists this year are women. [applause]
is that the most women there have ever been? either way it is a thrill. don't get me wrong, men's books are wonderful, too mac but a shout out to the ladies. [cheering] the national book awards are particularly exciting because until the moment that the title of the winner leads the church's mouth, no one but the five person panel of judges does the decisions, not the foundation board, not the staff, not even the team who has to hope they are putting the right sid to sle up on t the screen. the judges made their final decisions only earlier today so everyone is hearing it here at the same time for the first time. the winners innn each category will be announced by the chair of the respective category
presented in reverse alphabetical order and not because people consider fiction to be the climax. these categories are young people's literature, poetry, nonfiction and fiction. i wouldld like to begin by welcoming to the stage the panel chair for young people'ses literature, and i'm going to say her name but don't clap because i'm going to tell you a little about her first. medina is a 2012 new writers winner and a winner for do [inaudible] the novel burn baby burn named the 2016 book of the year was long listed for the 2016 national book award and was a finalist for the prius and the
los angeles book prize and in 2014 she was named one of cnn's visionary women of america. it gives me great pleasure to introduce meg medina. ♪ good evening everyone. this is going to be two minutes because i timed it. you're welcome. i was cursed like to acknowledge my fellow judges that are sitting at table 54 came to the task of reading hundreds of books with their signature
building and good nature and thoughtfulness they have my most heartfelt thanks forever and they are susannah herman, depend entirely and alec sanchez. [applause] [cheering] the books that we read as young people are sacred because they guide us through growing up and remain imprinted through a lifetime. these are the books that shape how young people see themselves ande the world, they are the comfort through difficult times and the ones that have a potential to turn them into lifelong readers. it wasas through that that the
committee comes through the many submissions. the committee considered each against three criteria. did the work demonstrate outstanding merit through its use of prose, it's compelling plot, the uniqueness of voice and its nuanced characterizations. would the work and were, does it name,t document and experience the most relevant to the lives of contemporary young people and also timeless in its examination of the human experience and does it promise to expand the readers understanding of himself or herself in the world through its selected format does it offer people a space to self reflect
and make connections between their own lives and the lives of others? the following books achieved all of those criteria and we feel so proud to have named them as the 2017 finalists. they are what girls are made of lerner publishing company. far from the tree by harpercollins. i am notar your perfect mexican daughter, random house children's. clayton goes underground by harpercollins. [applause] and the american street,
no one gives you and i i tell adrenaline rush like the book foundation. i've never imagined that i would be in this experience so i'm going to play it by ear. first i have to think the foundation for the adrenaline rush but also theo entire team for not only making this a beautiful night also a beautiful experience. it's been a magical experience and i cannot think them enough. the judges of the category, i cannot see you but i cani feel you. i appreciate everything you have done and for the opportunity that you have given me and my finalists.
i need to thank you, to share this experience with you has been an honor. [applause] your books have been so beautiful and to see my title among yours is something i don't think i quite understood yet. i also wantt to thank jason reynolds and laurel snyder i'm so proud to do arts and titles together and proud to share this with you. [applause] as many of you in the room know if you write or publish a book it takes a village to make it something else so i need to thank my village. she sent me an e-mail and we've been partners in metaphorical cry and ever since. i need to thank my team at harper. they will probably give me the
hook and take me off the stage so i will just say the assistance i feel make the world go round so i would like to thank their assistance as well. and a very special assistant elizabeth whose e-mails always made me laugh in the process of writing the book. i need to thank my dear friend and editor. i spoke to her on the phone march 2, 2007 and the first thing i said is i'm so happy to talk to you and she replied no, i am so happy to talk to you and we have been very happy to talk to each other ever since. she has been my guiding light in this process and more importantly, a good friend which is so hard to come by in this world i appreciate her and her family every single day. i'm sorry that this book was over a year late and i hope that
this absolves me somewhat. thank you [applause] i need to thank my lovely friends who during the course of writing the book they sometimes literally propped me up on writing days they poured me coffee, made me food, pardo, poe a few things stronger than coffee, they gave me the will to write the book and to teach me what friendship is about. i thank them for their sense of humor and at the end of the day it's about family and i need to think of mine. both my father and grandmother have passed but my grandmother was the most creative person i ever met in my life and sheif taught me it isn't that of lightning but it's about getting up, making the coffee and getting to work to find the room it lit up for them. i'm good at getting up and making the coffee. i'm trying to get better at thet
last part. my d father passed away many yes agoo and didn't see this career-best talk to you work hard not only for yourself but also for your family. if he were here he would be so proud and then he would immediately say you better getet to work the next book, so i thank him for that and i thought when i was ten i would never talk to him again but i thank him every single day. this book is dedicated to my brother, the best any sister could ask for. m when i thought of becoming a writer i said what if somebody doesn't like it and he said what if someone does? it's also a reminder that i was wrong and he was right and i'm proud of the man at the end of the day when we were kids and we
didn't know a word we would ask what it meant and she would say let's look at us and we hated that phrase. she taught me how to be curious and unapologetic about that curiosity and how important it is to have empathy which are qualities to use every single day especially teenagers. writing for them has been the biggest honor of my life. every time i think of this magical night i will remember how important it is to do my job well and effectively and in honor of them. thank you so much. [applause]
monica is the author of three books of poetry most recently one via word of the poetry society of america. it was also f a finalist for the national book critics circle award, and it was long listed for the national book award. the previous book was a finalist and her poems have been widely published including in poetry. the daughter of korean immigrants, she was raised in houston texas and now lives in new york. it gives me great pleasure to introduce monica.
this is nerve-racking. first, i would like to recognize the hard work and dedication of my fellow judges. [applause] gregory who is unable to join us tonight, and richard. [applause] [cheering] the o past six months, we've mae up our minds,es second-guessed ourselves, debated and argued, to become better poets, hopefully better citizens of our literary community and i wanted to thank them for making the most difficult tasks i've ever been assigned also the most wonderful. i am so grateful to the national book foundation for giving me the chance to consider the books and to work with these poets.
so we keep being asked what can poetry do. it is like a machine made out of belgians and knives and the question is whether to hold our own to defend the people and to defend the values we hold dear do we need to make ourselves into the origins and knives but ther best answer i heard was fm jacqueline pope who quoted the german poet who said b. ornery and the sand, not legal in the thirsty machinery and the world. reading these books, i learned about the problem can be a drop of saltwater wearing away at the machine, corroding, teaching a
slew mortality. it can be the word who dares to take corruption into its own body so that it can change into a new form of sustenance. it can be the spark that lights up ahead in places that can amplify. it can be a ripple that advances and retreats finding its own residents pouring more and more into its pattern changing into an unstoppable tide. so those that are asking what poets can do in this time, i am happy to refer to them to the poets of the long list and the e national book award finalists for the year. the finalist for the 2017
>> i want to say what an honor it has been to be finalists alongside these poets. the first person i'd last thank is john. [applause] he waheaves the dream editor. my indebtedness to him throughout my writing and publishing life cannot possibly be repaid. second, i want to thank andrew. after the last book when we had
dinner, he bought a pile of my books and said i should have beeput themtogether in one volu. without his words i don't know that i would have had the courage to do so. art has many mansions and there's always something wrong when we treat it as if it is one with a discernible hierarchy of valueser within it. i realized during the past month i'm almost twice as old as any of the other finalists. writing the poems is how i survived. you might ask is if really a question of survival. all human beings alive had enormous schisms in their
experience, terrifying within our feelings and within what we discover the world to be. one premise of art is anything personal becomes general and in personal. i hope the journeys will help others to survive as well. eight books whose hubris is to seek to become understood as a single project. thank you for honoring it. [applause]
the national book award for nonfiction will be presented by paula giddings, the elizabeth professor studies at smith college. she's published four books including a sword among the lyons, ida b. wells winner of the "los angeles times" prize in biography and a finalist for the national book critics circle award. she's a member of ten and serves on the board of the authors league fund and the nation institute and it gives me a great pleasureio to introduce paula. [applause] good evening let me begin by acknowledging and thanking my
co- panelists and churches for the national book award, steve, jeff,ha ruth franklin. [applause] the collective to operations aboutio a the books morphed into rich seminars and happily we as a group were as collegial as we were a rare combination that made this nearly impossible task both a challenge and a joy. i've heard judges talk about the hundreds of the must be considered.
of course we must choose a singlei winner. i offer no exception to those sentiments t tonight. what he did think was exceptional however was the historical moment we find ourselves in and as we find the selections, those that remained shared a number of characteristics. they were books that were truly national and transnational in scope and significance and spoke to theto underpinnings that shae a culture and politics of the people within it. of those that perpetuated and those that succumb to it and to
those who resist. and there were books that spoke to the offers arts in revealing the frailty and the transcendence of the human spirit as it navigated to the larger than life forces. the finalists for nonfiction are erica armstrong dunbar. [applause] [cheering] never caught the washington's relentless pursuit of the runaway slave owner. [applause] >> frances fitzgerald, "the evangelicals."
going to happen. thank you. [applause] thank you so much. it's been such an honor to be on the long list and then the shortlist and i never thought that a russia book could ever be one listed were shortlisted but of course, things have changed. i had a luxury when i was writing this book i got a grant from the carnegie foundations of the first time in my life i could write a book and spend the time to read an entire book and i'm very grateful for that and the people that allowed me to get that support but i'm particularly grateful to my publisher for sticking with me
for so many years and for more books than i can remember at the moment. especially, for never reminding me what this book was originally supposed to be. the book was originally supposed to be a short book about the loire against the west and the democracies. it u ended up being a very differenter book about the natue of the countries turn away from democracy and about opportunity that is not taken and things that depend happen, so it is complicated to write. thank you for reading it and honoring it. thank you.
[applause] [cheering] to present the book award for fiction is jacqueline nixon. "the new york times"au best-selling author of the finalist for the national book award naacp image award, "los angeles times" t book prize anda number one in the pic. the 2014 best seller brown girl dreaming won an award in people's literature. [applause] [cheering] and was the recipient of the current of scott king award, the naacp image award and the honors
award. [applause] named young people's poet laureate 2015 to 2017 by the poetry foundation. she's the author of more than two dozen and a two-time award winner it gives me great pleasure to introduce my frien friends. [applause] i love my committee so much. this year we read almost 300 books and we were traveling so
we carried to europe, tuscany, the pacific northwest city east coast, connecticut to the pacific northwest from la to new york city and they were hardcover. and when we got on the phone we had a deep respect and love for each other even when we were fighting. we pushed each other to reach beyond our comfort level and we figured out the books we choose and when we came to the end of it, the decision was unanimous but before that we wanted it to be 15 on the list, seven finalists but in the end o end e happy and i am so proud of the committee.
alexander. [applause]e] [cheering] dave. [applause] carolina. [applause] and me. i want to thank the committee. i loveo you guys so much. i never want to do this again, but i always want to work with you. and i want to thank the national bookan foundation and look aroud the room as my good friends thaf i've been a finalist for times, so i watched the national book foundation change overer the yes and this is one of the most diverse and beautiful rooms i've ever been inside of. [applause]
throughout my career, when i've been rejected, there were sometimes subtexts like this. people wouldn't read your work becauses. these are not universl stories. i don't know whether there is some selfless way because i wrote about poor people or black people or because i wrote about southerners and as my career progressed and i got some affirmations i still encountered that and found myself having uncomfortable conversations with reluctant readers who didn't want to read my work because they said what do i have in common with a pregnant 15-year-old they said why should i read about a 13-year-old were blithely or his drug addicted mother what do they have to say to me and you, my fellow writers and editors andri publishing
people at the book foundation who read my work, you answered plenty. you looked at me and the people i love and you looked up my black poor southern children and men and women and use all your self, use all your grief, love, losses, regret, hope and i am deeply grateful to each ander every one of you that read my work and find something that moves t you and to continue this conversation for all of our da days. for scribner, caroline reidy and everyone at shine and -- simon and schuster.
amazon, barnes and noble, tulane university that understand andou encourages the need to write for the foundation and all the judges and committees all of you that on hethat honor me so greay friends and writers, jennifer lyons, for every one who first ushered my work to the world. i'mf a better writer and human being and for all of you i am forever grateful. my beautiful mother is with me tonight. [applause]
i give thanks for your love and your work. so many people who i love are not in this building that are here in spirit, my family and friends. i want to close between them and you this thank you for loving me into supporting me, encouraging me to be exactly who i yam and letting the reimagining of amplified our livesne and voice. i love you with everything in me. thank you. [applause] enormouson congratulations to te winners of tonight's national book awards.
[applause] these writers have been entered into the canon of american literature alongside the writers like ralph ellison, katherine paterson, alice walker and more. to everyone here and watching, you know what to buy friends and family for the holidays. [applause] thank you for everyone's nominees, judges, attendees and viewers. [applause] the national book awards wouldn't be possible without the wonderful support of the readers everywhere. for everyone in attendance please join us upstairs for the after party hosted by instead graham. they've builtad an amazing readg
we are here with the author of pirates women. >> as it suggests that about pirates women. there were women who sailed alongside it sometimes in charge like they had forgotten them and i was so proud about that i decided to write a book about his. >> what kind of fool did they ry play in the 70s? >> they were on the crew and they serve as fighters and he was the most successful of all times.
i wanted to get the word out there. how did you kill about doing the research? >> i did some and the museum and i had a large collection [inaudible] so you were frustrated because there wasn't enough about female pirates out there. >> m >> my parents took me to disney world and i was honored after that.
coming you can be as nice or as rude as you want to be. so then i said who is donald trump and then when i met him on the campaign trail he was so different from others. he was nice and authentic and unlike the others, he didn't hire the pollsters as may be dragged race, class and politics what is this book about? >> it's about washington, d.c. and the united states.
when they come downtown they can't all afford it. these are areas that were concentrated in public housing and redeveloping and they are coming into the expert us and property values are increasing and it's gentrification gone wild in washington, d.c.. between 2000 and 2010 the book is trying to understand the process and dynamics that we are having in the nations capital
but also how it can be redeveloped in the way that benefits the lives of low income people. of those that are able to stay in place if chances are improving in the redevelopment. for many of them is that for many even though they've been able to stay in place they've been displaced and there are feelings of political and cultural displacement and resentment and this book is about how do we ease the tensions and make them sustainable and equitable. do they welcome the gentrification? >> because there are so many properties it needs to get
what would you say are some of the policies that interact? we have to bolster affordable housing. there is a trust fund that most states don't have but we do have the financial capacity to double that. we have to deal with political and cultural. we have the wheels of integration in the communities so we need a profit that focuses on bringing people together. in the united state united state been segregated for so long we
still have a lot between the racial and ethnic groups so we need to spend on those that bring the next income into the communities but i think we also need to be social building and community building to make them work for everybody. i don't know if they are unique in how they handle the gentrificatiogentrification. if you look at the most since 2000 and the united states, portland oregon is number one.
what do you hope people take away from the book? >> they don't want to replicate from the 1940s and 50s. i hope that we look at preventing the residential displacement that will better the lives of people. we did make skin come housing and concentrated poverty by bringing people in from the states was magically i think the policy of substance and we need to go beyond housing that helps to better the lives of low income people and help them to
white families gained that equity and they are unaffordable for working class people. today they sold for seven times the national income and working class families belong to can't even afford to move to the suburbs that were created in enclaves in the 40s and 50s, said today nationwide, we have a ratio in income that 60% african-american wealth is five to 7%. most families in the country aim through housing equity. this enormous distance between 60% income ratio and 5% wealth