get a lot of legislation through. and how you feel about patronage really depends on how you feel about nafta. bill clinton gave away the store. and about all the initiative in various residence. republican and democrats have found. and patronage is absolutely nonpartisan republicans have used it. they used it when they controlled the congress. ..
why did the national book awards start? >> they started in 1980. i think they felt the other awards were not sufficient to get at the literary nature. in 1950, and been going ever since. giving awards to the best literature in america. >> who are members? >> well, they are not members. there's a board, it's a nonprofit organization. it was started by the publishers, the association of the american publishers, the national book council. it no longer exists. right now it's a separate nonprofit organization run by the national book down -- book foundation. >> who's on the board to present the nonfiction awards? who picked the nonfiction award nominees? >> all of the panels, four panels, and they are independent panels. they are always writers in that genera. for example, the nonfiction panel was made up of five
nonfiction writers. it's all public information. go to the web site see who they are and look at their bios. >> what about the national book foundation itself? what was that formed? >> that was formed in 1989. it was really formed to extent the work of the national book awards. it was really just the national book awards being given out by this group. they decided that they needed to develop educational programs, other prize programs. things like innovations and reading prize that we give to localities across the country, we have 535 that we give to fiction writers under 35 selected by finalist. >> who are some of the well known winners of the nonfiction award in past years? >> past years, the creme de la creme, richard russ, theodore roosevelt, at the top of my head, you sort of got me. >> okay. you said at the beginning, this
is a specifically american literature award. what do you look for in the nominees? >> well, you have to be an american citizen. that's really the part of it. i don't think that the judges really look for something that is typically american. although it may turn out that way. if you get a fiction book, for example, peter matteson. it's set in the south. it seems to ooze in americanism. it's really just for american citizens. it could appeal to europeans, anybody, but if you are an american citizen, you are eligible. >> how did you get involved in the publishing industry and in the book world? >> i'm not in the publishing industry, i dance around the sides. you used to be a librarian. i ran a couple of national programs, for example, in 2002. so when the previous director decided to leave, they asked me to take it over because i had the national approach. two things.
that's what we are looking to do, looking to extent everything nationally. we announce our finalist at a different location around the country each year. this year was in savannah, georgia, it's been in chicago, st. paul, san francisco. we go around the country. we are trying to make it more national and include everybody. >> is there a monetary award if you win? >> you get $1,000 for being a finalist and $10,000 if you win. certain of the categories, there are some other perks. for example, the fiction award last year led the great world spin, that actually sold about 400,000 copies in paperback. is there a monetary award, i think it goes further than the check you get. >> harold augenbraum is the director of the national book foundation, author and journalist tom wolf is being awarded the 2010 medal to "american letters" here at the national book awards. mr. wolf if you had to describe
your contribution to american words and letters, how would you describe it? >> i would rather not. i don't praise myself enough. most of my life i spent doing nonfiction. the first 55 years of my life. i still think it's the most important. -- important genera to come out of the 20th century. right now, you know, the writers to watch are both nonfiction writers, michael lewis, and mark poden. most novelist would do well to read those two guys. they are totally nonfiction. >> why have you become so well known for your fiction? >> well, i think it turned out to be dazzling. well, if if -- if -- if it's lie
at all. it's because i leave the building. i do just as much recording for a novel as i do for a nonfiction. and, in fact, i want my fiction to be intensely journalistic. intensely journalistic. because unless you get out and look at what's going on, these days, you are going to miss the things that are influencing yourself and everybody else. i mean like a great example is the so-called sexual revolution. that's a very mild term for the lure carnival that's actually going on. it's such a complete turn around if when i was growing up. now the motto -- not the motto, but the sequence is eyes met, our lips met, our bodies mets,
then we were introduced. when i was working in the summer, i happened to be sitting in the lounge of a dormitory. two sofas backed up. behind me was a couple. and the girl was pleading with this guy, saying, please, you have to do this for me. you have to do this for me. he says, i can't. i've known you since you were like six. no, you jolt to -- you got to dt for me. i can't go around like a virgin. i don't trust everybody right. it's not right. it's incest. talk about a conversation. that's a conversation of the 21st century. >> well, -- [inaudible] >> tom wolf winning the contribution to american arts and letters award from the
national book foundation here at the national book awards. >> good evening, ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the 2010 national book awards. before we begin, let's have a nice warm round of applause for all of tonight's nominees. come on, let's really do it. for those of you who don't know me, i'm andy, i write for the "new yorker," i write under the pen name malcolm bladwell. [laughter] >> thank you. we all gather to celebrate the book, and it's bastard cousin,
the ebook. when the national book foundation asked me to host last year's show, they said that hosting the national book awards can lead to bigger things. well, it's one year later. and i'm hosting the national book awards for the second time. thank you. [applause] [applause] >> thank you. [applause] [applause] i know that sounds like sort of baa moo. in today's industry, that's considered a win. [laughter] >> now last year, i made a number of remarks like that which, you know, taken out of context could be construed as poking fun at the publishing business. for example, i said last year that publishing was a sinking ship. now i meant that in a positive way. [laughter]
>> i did not say that publishing was a sunken ship. i said, and i believe, the publishing is still very much in the process of sinking. [laughter] >> you know, a publishing -- publishing is a carnival cruise ship. [laughter] >> it's on fire. the toilets don't work. but we are surviving day to day on poptarts and spam. i think we all can agree that's a pretty darn positive assessment of where publishing is right now. [applause] [applause] >> i'm glad there's some agreement. [applause] [applause] >> but just to be clear, if in the course of this evening, i do poke fun at publishing, it's not out of disrespect. it's because i'm an atthole. there's also agreement on that. [applause] [applause]
[laughter] >> that's what i'm paid another. or what i would be paid to do if i were being paid tonight. tonight i'm a pro bono atthole. i relish that task. i do. this year i want to switch things up and do something different. this year i would like to devote my remarks to all of the good news about publishing. so i'll be very brief. first piece of good new, barnes & noble is here to stay. that's right. yes! [applause] [applause] >> barnes & noble likes that. you know, for the last few years, we've been hearing talks about how the big bookstores were dinosaurs and a time of the past. without your local barnes & noble when you can see and feel and touch the book, how would
you know what to order on amazon? you wouldn't know. [laughter] >> how's that atthole thing working out? pretty well? good. second piece of good news, 2010 in the book world is going to go down in history as the year of the man. yes. if you look at the two top award categories, best fiction and best nonfiction, three of the nominees are men. which shows that men are starting to make real in roads. [laughter] >> in this traditionally female-dominated industry. i know that i as a man swelled with pride when i saw that "time" magazine devoted a cover story to jonathan franzen. one the greatest male novelist. i saw that. that's awesome for jonathan. i sure hope there isn't a backlash.
well, fortunately, that didn't happen. [laughter] >> and here's the third piece of big news that i think is so wonderful for publishing. i have to share with you. i'm so proud i've been asked to share. we've inaugurated the national book awards a new book awards category. this is best subtitle of a nonfiction book. now this is very exciting. you know, every nonfiction book now has to have a subtitle in addition to the title which explains what the title means. now this is isn't true of fiction. you know, you read a fiction book, and you see the title. that explains it all. like one of the steve larson books. the good who shat in the woods. or whatever it is. you see that. and you know what you are in for. that used to be the case with nonfiction as well. you would go to the bookstore. you'd see the title the nonfiction book. it would be like the silence
spring. and you'd say, well, what the heck is that about? i guess i'll have to open the book and look inside. but now with the nonfiction subtitle, you can actually judge a book by it's cover. it's an amazing thing. it's a wonderful thing. and the nonfiction book title markets the book all by itself. which gives the marketing department more time to play farmville. so it's a fantastic, fantastic system. are you ready for the three nominees for best nonfiction subtitle. here we go. "american chalk: the untold story of how a white dusty substance became the star of the nation's blackboards, educated generations of children, changed the course of history, and became obsolete." first nominee.
[laughter] >> second nonknee -- nominee. "american cranberry: untold story of how the cranberry overcame it's tartness to become a sauce and breakfast beverage, and how it can be good for you in ways you haven't imagine but probably should. ." and the winner is "american mullet: the untold story of the business in front, party in the back haircuts that took the nation by storm and how after being cool, it became incredibly uncool and why it may never have been cool in the first place, and the seven warning signs that you may have one." that's it. thank you very much, ladies and
gentlemen. are you ready for the national book awards? all right. >> all right. the first award is lit irarian. is that a word? i guess the national book club can make up their own words. it's like sarah palin. i know too soon. outstanding service in the american literary community is john cheska. he was named first ambassador, and is the author of some of the best known and funniest books for children. ladies and gentlemen, john. [applause] [applause] >> thank you, mr. sunshine.
i don't think you are going to have to worry about hosting the third event in a row there. [laughter] [applause] >> or maybe you will. i don't know. well, i'm the perfect guy to present the next award, because i was the first national ambassador of young people's literature, i have diplomatic immunity, anything that goes wrong, we are all covered. because i would like to have the great honor and privilege of presenced the literarian award. >> mr. john. >> who's that? >> mr. john. >> elmo. this is a book awards thing. >> hi, everybody. hello, mr. john. >> hello, elmo, this is a little awkward. >> really? >> yeah, this is a book awards thing.
>> okay. >> i'm here to give an award. >> don't you want to read a book to elmo? >> i would love to. but i have to present the award. >> you mean elmo is going to win a latin grammy? >> i'm not saying you couldn't. this is not to you. this is going to be an award to someone that you know very well. >> big bird? >> no. no. not big bird either. you know what, i can give you a hint. i have some hints here. >> okay. that's the hints papers. >> yeah, this award winner gave millions of kids a head start on becoming literate. >> millions. it's the grouch. >> no. good guess though. hint number two, she has always championed the award of reaching kids. >> snuffy.
>> no, he does have a problem with the trunk thing. number three, this award winner brought quality education to a diverse audience of all colors. >> how about this guy? >> the large black man standing next to you? no. >> oh. that's a shame. [laughter] >> kevin clash. no. not an award winner. kevin, not you. sorry, elmo. [laughter] >> all right. this is the last hint. >> okay. go ahead. they are getting bored out there. >> this award winner was the visionary in the tv event. >> oh, elmo knows. elmo knows. >> are you sure? >> elmo knows. >> tell me. [licking] >> that's disgusting. that's right. >> bring her out, bring her out! >> this year's award for the
literanian award is miss joan ganz cooney. come on up here, joan. [applause] [applause] >> don't pay attention to what mr. borowitz has to say. we love you. >> elmo wants a kiss too. [kiss] >> come on, time is money. [laughter] [elmo laughing] >> thank you, john for that wonderful introduction. i am still laughing. because it wasn't in the script. that what you all said wasn't in the script that i read.
[laughter] >> so thank you so much for that wonderful introduction and for being here. and thanks also to what's his name? that little red monster who has become the rock star of all rock stars for 3-year-olds throughout the nation. i know your name elmo, so don't be hurt. >> okay, mommy. >> elmo. >> thank you all so much. it's a special thrill to be applauded by those who are engaged in trying to save civilization. i mean, of course, the writers, editors, publishers, and agents who keep book in our hands whether on paper, or kindle, or ipad. and other platforms yet to be invented. many, many thanks to the national book foundation end harold augenbraum for the
wonderful honor and thanks for putting on a successful event. as soon as "sesame street" got on the air in november of 1969. we began thinking about getting books into the homes of the nation's children. fortunately, i knew jason e epstein. only slightly, and i had no idea if he would be interested in starting us. i made the call. he leapt at the opportunity saying i'll be a hero to my daughter. he helped me figure out how to set up such an entity and make it work and out of that collaboration i'm happy to say grew of friendship of a lifetime. he also raided random house and introduced me to one of the most talented people on the planet,
christopher zer. he came and started the entry into product licenses with random house who managed to forgive me for stealing chris, and with western publishing and time life books. soon the street jumped off of the screen, on to the page, and into the viewers hands. i might add that chris also started writing and singing hilarious parodies for the show, and not long after there came to be a muffet. pounding the letter b. pathetically, a lawsuit endued. and they declared the parody was not a violation of copyright law. for many children worldwide, their first introduction to "sesame street" are actually a book. books are one the earliest toys.
when a baby is six months old, as many of you know, he is happy to sit on the lap and find the words and pictures. what we began has grown into a library of 2500 titles with 23 million "sesame street" books last year. we have over 60 publishing companies, producing from books, to pop ups, to ebooks. of course, one the greatest challenges we who care about books face is making sure that books fit into and benefit from digital technologyies. we work to make sure that games do not crowd out books for young children. so far so good. but parents and care providers have to be reminded that no game experience can replace being
read to by a loving adult, nor have nearly the long-term effect on a child's life. i congratulate all of you for seeing that books remain the vital force they are today. and here's why i think your saving civilization. books carry our history and culture. books tell us stories and tell us who we are. books allow us to reflect. they bring us to the ideas and information on which we can reflect. they allow the mind, whether the mind of a one year old or 90 year old to learn to imagine to ponder. they engage the whole being because books don't bring you everything. you have to bring yourself to the book and imagine and think along with it at it's own pace. books encourage desks in the
jangled environment in which we live. books ask us to see the whole, ponder the good, and recognize the reel. books bring with them something no video game can. and that is for the lucky, a memory of love. a mother, a father, a grandparent, holding a child and saying let's go together and find out where the monster at the end of this book is, or let's laugh together at what elmo does next. yes, books civilize, starting at the earliest age. i'm particularly honored to receive this recognition from the national book foundation and from you who are all literarian is, whatever that means. thank you so much. [applause] [applause]
[laughter] >> got it? no, again. [laughter] >> bye, everybody. >> let's have another round of applause for joan ganz cooney and elmo! [applause] [applause] >> now to present the medal for distinguished contribution to american letters is one of my favorite people in publishing, tina brown. tina brown is the publishers of vanity fair, and new york talk magazines, founder and editor of "chief daily beast" which is
merging with "newsweek" to form "news beast." something. i don't know. ladies and gentlemen, my friend tina brown. [applause] [applause] >> thank you, andy. well, tom wolfe. tom wolfe began as the great picture of american journalism. he could see on what everyone thought were the lowest cards on the table, teen pop, stock car racing, plastic enhanced strippers, and turn them into the kings and queens of our attention. no one has made a more dazzling entrance into american journalism. and no one has made such hard
studies of the rules and games of the eternal american search for the trophy of status. professors may make rules for writing, but real writers escape them and find true subjects for our time. the test is the readers attention. and one thing that can be said for certain that no one has ever sat down with a obligation to read the new tom wolfe, we read him with the fireworks and wonder and joy. people said at the end of '60s, he'd be finished. then the '70s, it's me decade name, and writing "the epic of the american adventure in space." oh well the '80s. then the vanities gave that decade. they said they keep on saying it. they keep on saying this about
wolfe. i was magic for the small detail and american life will sometime tire. but it never does. perhaps that's because we often miss the core of steady values that lies at the heart of his vision, his faith in the chuck jagers and junior johnson's of the world with his sense of style and exuberance out does all of the fashions and mannerisms. not great under pressure so much is style beyond the meet demand is what he admired. if his eye goes to our madness, his heart goes to both of you to make roaring rockets and wild hotels and the one perfect flaked hot rod. he has shown us our image in a funhouse mirror. it turns out to be a true picture of ourselves. allow me the great privilege of transmitting this honor, tonight on behalf of the national book foundation it gives me the
before you go, tina is the queen of all media. this is not to compare her to howard stern. after having blazed the way with blog news from the daily beast, taken from vile bodies, i think. the name was taken from vile bodies, i think. i'm sorry from scoop. from scoop. anyway. tina is now going from the blog news into print but i'm sure that like that, he's going to turn that into a form of kindle, and after that, she tells me, she has a new venture which will replace facebook and myspace. it's called myface. anyway. i do appreciate that very, very much. and i can't thank the national
book award enough for this which i consider to be a great, great, great, great honor. this is a lifetime achievement award, i'm told. one the greatest achievements of my lifetime, was choosing lynn as my agent from the very beginning. [applause] [applause] >> actually, i didn't choose lynn, she chose me. she called me up one day. and she said, you know, when are you going to publish your book? i said i don't have a book. i have a bunch of magazine articles. she said duh. that's how the candy-colored, tangerine-lined baby happened to come about. lynn was one of the youngest agents in the entire business.
she was 11. [laughter] >> but she's turned out to be great. and also another lifetime achievement, almost, was pat straun. she was my editor. we worked together on "the paints word," on "the right stuff," on, let's see, from "bow house to our house," and the " bonfire of the vanities." then something stepped between us. we've been separated for a long time. neither one of us knew what to say to the other. now we are back together again. we are back together again. she's editing a new book that i'm doing. which is called "back to blood." it's not wet blood, but if anybody likes wet blood, you can think of it that way.
it's actually bloodlines. now i know that i'm standing between you and dinner. [laughter] >> so i'm going to give you since this is a lifetime award, i'm going to give you my life in six minutes. okay? what i said up to now doesn't count. it was all, you know, protocol. not you, lynn. i was just joking. anyway. when my -- when i first knew what my father did for -- or that he did anything for a living, he was editing with magazine called "the southern planter." i would see him. a week like, the sparkling type. type is enchanting. it's magical. i said i want to a writer. it took me another five to six years to real realize my fathers
an agricultural scientist. he did the boom in the 1920s, increasing the yield of wheat by tenfold, the yield of corn by 50fold. but it was too late. i couldn't go into that. i stayed with writing. and now my father was wise enough to let me know it's very hard for a beginning writer to make a living. so i decided i would go to graduate school, i would get a phd, and teach so that i would have a source of income while i did my, you know, high-class stuff. and i stayed in graduate a long time. five years. so after nine years of higher education, i was campus whipped to tell the truth. so i sent out a bunch of resumés to newspapers.
i finally got a job on the springfield, massachusetts union, the morning paper. now the problem now was would i work up enough nerve to tell my father this? you know, he thinks he's getting a great academic out of all of this? nine years of supporting me through this dream? took me three days. i finally worked up the nerve. i said, dad, i have some news. i'm going to work for a newspaper called "the springfield union." what is it called, he said? i said "springfield union." i see. what are you going to do there? i said write obituaries. he said, i see, you are going to work for a newspaper in a town i've never heard of and write obituaries. and then he suddenly seemed to take it all with trek memority. he said i wish you all of the
best. it was 10 years before i realized his good mood was thank god he's off of the family payroll. there it was. there game a night when i was working in washington for the "washington post". i finally after five years managed to get a job in new york on the new york "herald tribune." i'll never forget the last night, anita who was with the france press, if i got that right, gave a going away party for me. and it was a great, great party, it was 30 minutes to catch the last bus out of washington that would get you to new york in time for the my job at 11 a.m. the next day. so i just made it. and i can tell you the last bus from anywhere is the bus for all of the misfits, all of the people who just can't get it together, and that was the bus that i was on.
with very good reason. so we're going up in about a four-hour trip. we left about midnight, up to new york. on the way, there was a -- turned out there was a country singer in the back of the bus. and he had a guitar. and he started singing. and i remember one the songs was drop kick me jesus through the goal post of life. [laughter] >> and another was that ain't my truck in her driveway. [laughter] >> now, when it's the middle of the night and your with a bunch of people that organization your sensibility is welcome. i was saying to her i'm going to be wiped out. first big job. i'm going to be wiped out. she said take these pills. when you get up in the morning,
take this pill, you won't feel a thing. you won't be tired. no hangover. so as soon as i got up in the morning, i took one of those pills. it was true. it was true. i took those pills for 30 days. i hardly had to sleep an hour. the whole time. it was just great. to this day, i have no idea what was in it. but it's just, and that anita, if she's in the audience, she may well be. tell me exactly what that was? anyway. i had my dream of new york, of my coming to new york. eugene in paragorio, by balzak. this young man has come to paris. raises his fist towards paris itself. i'll defeat you yet, paris. i'll defeat you yet. i said that's me.
i'm going to defeat new york. i was this totally balzak frame of mind. i got up in hotel. mostly single. two out of the three for single occupancy. there was me, i was there, the overnight tenant. i went across to street to the automat. i don't know how many people remember, all of the food was yellow. eggs, coffee was yellow, the bread was yellow. the orange juice was yellow. everybody was yellow. i said this is it. that's where eugene comes from, the automat. so i'm really feeling romantic. i'm going to take you on, new york. and i'm all alone. you don't know who i am. you don't care who i am. but i'm going to get you. i'm walking down the street to go to my job at 11 and i'm
walking out of 5th avenue. i'll be darned, here's an old girlfriend of mine. she said, tom, we go on and on. would you like to come to a party tonight? i said, sure. i'm brand new here. so this party turned out to be on central park west. it was a two-story high living room with a winding staircase that went up into another floor, the tripplex. it belonged to robert pohl, the poet. he was going to south america, he had traded his apartment. i go to the party. it's a fabulous party. everybody looks like dynamite. in the source of the evening, the guy says, play something for us. and so this guy takes out his guitar. he says, tall and tan and young
and slender, the girl from goes walking, she passes people, and when they pass, they say, yes. it was just -- the next monday it was really taking over american pop music. just that's how. so my dream of meeting him, was blown. but i had good luck in my first newspaper assignment, first same -- first time they sent me out of the building. it was to talk to the wife of the village -- greenwich village mobster, tony bender, his real name was anthony. he lived in fort lee. i cannot tell you how dinky the homes are. just name one and go see the half. you are in for a big one.
i would stay on. but you are in for a big surprise. and so i had knocked on, i rang the doorbell. here comes the guy. he's 66. he looks rough to me. i'm behind him is this woman -- middle-aged woman. he says what do you want? i explained i was in the new york "herald tribune" i'd like to interview ms. strolo, she finally reported her husband was missing. that's against the mob code. you don't report to the police about anything. her husband was missing. she went to the police. that's what i wanted to talk to her about. he looked at me and he says fake off. words to that effect. now what do i do? there's this guy. my first assignment. everything is on the line.
there's obviously mrs. strolo behind him. she's looking past me. she sees something. gabe pressman. turned out the nbc truck had just pulled up and gave pressman, who was the most noted news reporter of that era, tv was always irresistible to everybody. they live in your living room. you can't turn them away. and so in comes gabe pressman. i just followed in his fake. i know how to kind of blessing of aura. because i was behind gabe pressman. he went in and said, tell me, what's in your heart? this took about 90 seconds. but i was already in the house. he left. and i now had the chance to talk to mrs. strolo at length. she said, look at this, the wood working shop. does that look like the wood
working shop of a gangster? does that look like the clothes closet of a gangster? she sent me to the swimming pool. which took up the entire backyard. it was pretty small. it was about eight inches around the pool. people over 50 didn't go out there. they would end up indoor. is that a swimming pool of a gangster? i thought to myself, i have a feeling it is. anyway. [laughter] >> and so i came back. they thought i was a genius. i had all of the details about the mysterious mrs. strolo and anthony bender. i owed it all to gabe pressman. i didn't tell him about that. this business of going out and seeing people actually, leaveing the building, it was good stuff. that's how i found myself living for the first three months. then off and on for a year with a group of hippies known as the
marci -- mary prankster. their leader was ken, who was the greatest american novelist in my opinion. i always went with a jacket and a tie. because i consider myself the man from mars. finally one night a girl known as doris came up to me. said, you know, you have the greatest outfit around here. there's not another necktie within 50 or 100 yards in any direction. i took that as quite a compliment. out of that experience came a nonfiction book called the electric kool-aid acid test. there was a lot of good writers in the hippy world. i'm going to be wiped out in my book on the nonfiction. then it dawned on me you couldn't write a novel about that. well, you can make up anything
that you want. that is the huge advantage that nonfiction has to this day. we are in an age in which you can't make the stuff up. i gave you just one more example, one day i'm close to the end and i was waiting for the art director. she was a gorgeous woman, she came with me for drinks. now in those days, this was a serious step forward. first there was let's have some coffee. then let's have some drinks. this was years ago. you know, today it's eyes met, our lips met, our bodies met, and then we were introduced. but in any case, while i was there, i started wondering
around. i happened to wonder into the office of david. i was pretty nosey. he wasn't there. on the desk was an invitation to the party for the black panthers given my leonard burnstein, one of the most elegant and accomplished men. it had an address and phone number. i took a chance. i called that number. i said my name is tom wolfe. i accept. i figured it was a committee, which it turned out to be. one the yellow pads. writing down the names of all of those that accept. there was the security department. when i got there, my name was on it! so i went in and sure enough, here was leonard burnstein, and his wife, giving a party for the black panther party of america. and this big guy calls of the
field marshal of the black panthers was of by one of the twin grand pianos. he's saying the day is soon coming when you won't have a situation in which one family lives in a place this big. the rest lives in hubbles. he raises the left. he says right on. now i was going to say, you can't make this stuff up. out of that came a book actually called radical sheets and mailing the flag catchers. i would say that today i wouldn't dare do a piece of fiction, i've done three novels, without treating it just like a -- an assignment, a reporting assignment. and i brag with tremendous ego that my novels are highly
journalistic. that not everybody brags about that. but i honestly think that is the future and right now, the new writers still watching this country, michael lewis, and mark bowden. both nonfiction. first there was a famous essay, how to write. the first sentence was first sit down. that was great. because the idea was, most people dance around the project forever and forever, and they never sit down and write. i want to make an amendment to that. first leave the building. and then sit down and write. and above all, let's have dinner. thank you. [applause] [applause]
[applause] [applause] [inaudible conversations] >> ladies and gentlemen, let's hear one more time for mr. tom wolfe. it's dinner time. we'll be back with the awards. >> one the finalist for the national book award for 2010 in the nonfiction category is patti smith's who's book "just kids" came out. patti smith, who was new york like in the late '60s, early '70s? for me coming from rural south jersey, new york city went freedom. it was a very democratic city. it was a bit down and out. the police were very forgiving. it was filled with young creative people. it was very easy to get
employment and the subway cost 20 cents. i loved new york city when i came. there was so much culture and so much possibility. and i felt very safe there as well. even though it had, you know, a more sinister reputation, i've always felt very safe in new york. >> how did you get to know robert maple thorp? >> i just met him by chance in brooklyn. i went over to pratts looking for some friends that i knew, hoping to get a place to stay. i accidently met robert. then we met a couple of other times, and he rescued me from a precarious situation. and we never separated. >> well, your book, "just kids" is about your relationship with mr. maple thorp. how did you recall all of the events from so long ago?
>> robert always liked me to recount the story. it's the story so rich in my mind. because we evolved as people, and artists together, and i kept extensive diaries, his letters, many betters -- many letters from him, journals, i wrote all of the time. i have many anecdotes and daily notes even to the day of when i cut his hair, when i met janice joplan, how much money i made at the bookstore, so i had a lot of resource material. >> you are you know very well for your music. there is the third or fourth book. >> i've written books of poetry. i wrote a lot of journalism when i was young. i've been writing all my life. and even in terms of rock and roll, i'm a performer, but essentially the writer in the band. so i've always been writing even
within a musical context. but writing this book was a promise that i made to robert and i'm so grateful that people seem to like it. >> how did you learn that you had been nominated for a national book award? >> they called me. i was so excited. they called me and truthfully i thought they called me because they wanted me to do a benefit for them. because i do a lot of benefits. and when they told me i was a finalist, i was speechless, because i, of course, being a lover of books, and having worked in a bookstore for at least seven years of my life, i was completely aware of the importance, the prestige, and, you know, and what a wonderful honor this is. so i was really, really happy. and i'll be happy no matter how it turns out tonight. because to be a finalist in the
national book awards, it's own reward. you know, i have a beautiful medal, i've been acknowledged, and i'm quite proud. >> patti smith, is one of the five finalist for the national book awards, the nonfiction category. her book "just kids" picture of her and robert maple thorp on the front cover. >> "secret historian" has been nominated for the finalist in the national book award in the nonfiction category. the subtitle is the life and times of samuel stu -- steward. that's quite a title, justin. who was samuel steward? >> sam was a university professor to dropped out of academics to be a researcher, a
tattoo artist in boston, and later on wrote trail blazing pornography. >> how did you find this guy? >> it took a lot of searching. when i came across the 80 boxes of papers that had been put away, i knew i had an amazing life story that nobody had ever touched. i spent ten years putting the life back together and presented it in the biography. >> when you did first hear of him? >> around 1987. i came across the works that he had done. i was very excited. but i didn't know who had written them. they were published under a pseudonym. it took me another 13 years to get the rest of the story. >> how many names? >> 20. he was known as phil sparrow, sam, samuel steward, phil andrew
was the first name. each time he published an article, it would be under a different name. part of putting the life together, all of the names and publications. >> when you took this book to a publisher and say i'd like to publish a bio on this man, what was the response? >> it was rejected by ten. my friend said, try to publish it as an article. after a tap dancing, i was able to catch the ear. he said, yeah, let's do it. >> when didsamuel steward live? >> 1909, 1993. he had a long time. one the great things was to chart the progress of what we know call gay awareness over the course of the many decades of the 20th century.
>> is he well known today in the gay community? >> no. now the book is coming out, among people that care about the history of pornography or sex research or gay literary publishing, he is known. this brings it out to a much wider audience. >> what was his relationship with alfred kinze. >> he met in 1989, connecting kinze to material, sam was a sexual record keeper and record keeper about sexuality in general. he gave that material to the archives. >> was he out during the lifetime? >> he had to live in the closet during the time that he was an academic. as he reached his late 30s, he found it more and more difficult. rather than not be out, he decided to leave academia.
amazing and completely venerable. i went to iraq later on and on and off for years after the invasion in 2003, just covering the events and watching everything more or less fall apart. the arc of my experience was in afghanistan and iraq. >> this book has been about nine years in the making? >> yeah, the book is drawn from reporting that goes from 2001 to about 2006, 2007 and yeah it took a few years to write and get out into the market so yeah it is about a decade of my life. >> where did you come up with a title, "every man in this village is a liar." >> comes from afghanistan. there's a phrase that somebody said to me just before going to afghanistan and he man in this village is a liar. it is derived from an old greek caradoc square person, i think it is actually the liars but the person is says it is a cretin. and so in other words if he is
lying or he is telling the truth, he keeps telling the truth he is lying. i use it as a title because it seems to me sort of an apt description of the description of truth and in war and the difficulty of reporting in a war zone. village in some ways is a global village as well. there wasn't really anyone who came away with their hands clean in this war so everybody was lying to some extend. >> where did this picture on the cover come from? >> you will have to ask my publisher. aqsa don't know anything about it. they showed it to me and i thought it was beautiful. i believe it is afghanistan just judging from the building by don't know. >> freddie -- if somebody reads every man in this village is a liar will they learn about the daily lives of people in afghanistan and iraq? >> yeah as well as a lot of other countries. the book takes things -- it is about libya and saudi arabia and about israel and jordan and egypt.
it really tries to take in the totality of the regional experience of the so-called war on terror. it is not necessarily focused on combat sounds exclusively. it is also about sort of the war for ideas, the war for democracy versus islamism, so there are a lot of scenes that are kind of woven into it. >> you are still with "the los angeles times" as a reporter and now in beijing. did you fly to new york for the ceremony? >> i did. i was coming to thanksgiving anyway, so i came a bit earlier. >> megan stack, los angeles times reporter, beijing hero. every man in this village is a liar and education and war is her nominated book. >> another los angeles times reporter from the beijing bureau has been nominated for the national book award in the nonfiction category and this is barbara demick. her book, "nothing to envy" ordinary lives in north korea. barbara demick how did you get access to north korea?
>> i spent about seven years interviewing north koreans, not in north korea but in south korea and around the chinese border. i have been to north korea quite a few times but you can't speak to anybody in north korea. you can even make eye contact with them. it is the most repressive regime in the world. when you work in north korea, you have a minder and your miter has a minder to make sure you don't talk to anybody. i found north koreans actually to be quite talkative when they got out of the country, and they really painstakingly pieced together their stories, which in my mind for 1984 come true. >> these north koreans that he spoke with, did they escape from north korea? were they visiting south korea? why were they out of the
country? >> everybody had to have escaped. north koreans basically live in a large prison. they are not allowed out of their country and less they are very very elite. these are people who largely when they were starving to death across the rivers the border china and try to make new lives for themselves. and the funny thing is that, when they were in north korea although they weren't starving they had this propaganda that they lived in the best country in the world. that is where the title comes from. we have "nothing to envy" in the world. and then they would come out and realize and china people by rice and they have televisions and they can read whatever they want more or less. >> so, you found that they were pretty unaware of the outside world? >> fox in a well. that is what they call themselves. that is one of my chapter titles but north korea is really maintained by the regime almost hermetically sealed is how they keep their power, the people of
this great life. and of course the greater the lie, the greater the power. >> barbara demick can you give us a snapshot of the daily life of an urban dweller in north korea and arra dweller? >> sure. the people who i've read about are mostly from the city. they get up at the first light of dawn and the sun is up. what you do is you start looking for leaves and grass that is edible. you have to get up before everybody else to go out to the countryside, take a knife and a basket looking for something to by. basically people spend their whole day looking for something to by for dinner, and then they go to bed early to conserve energy. maybe they go out into the woods to collect firewood. it depends on the situation. in the 19 '90s it got better and now unfortunately it has gotten worse again and. >> when you travel to north
korea, what was the process like getting and? >> it was really difficult as an american and as a journalist. i speak a little bit, not very much korean and i was rejected for years for visas. i don't know why. but in 2005, and finally got a proper visa to visit pyongyang. i think they let some of us and basically because they need money. there aren't a lot of people who want to visit north korea and it is a badly needed source of hard currency. >> so what was your experience like? tell us about your trip very quickly. >> pyongyang is a lovely city. it is a huge village. it is one of the cleanest cities in all of asia. there are no industry. there are very few cars. the people are friendly. they are completely brainwashed. i mean they will only talk about their brave leader.
you don't really have any kind of honest conversation. but i would say that there is a warmth of the people. one of the reasons i wrote the book is i felt north koreans were so mysterious, and a lot of the very negative stereotypes that americans have about asians always applied to north koreans and i wanted to show them as real people, as though i portrayed these six people are going still know them and they are wonderful people. >> did you find yourself being stared at? >> no. that is what is very interesting. they are taught not to stare. they don't stare at you, which is one sign of how controlled environment is. in china i am stared at and south korea i'm stared at. not north korea, they don't make eye contact. >> were you relieved when he got
out? >> yes. always but it is not nearly as scary as you might think because once you get a proper visa as opposed to walking across the river, you are chaperoned every moment and i knew not to say anything that would get me in trouble or the people who were following the. >> how long have you been working on at? >> it is embarrassing to say. it was about seven years. soup to nuts. i started interviewing -- i started interviewing north koreans and i guess 2001 and because i couldn't get into north korea i became obsessed as a journalist. we are very simplistic creatures. if you tell us we can't go someplace, suddenly you want to go, kind of like the cat in the string. so i was really upset about what everyday life was like. i imagined it was a little bit
like 1984 and in fact it is. >> you a have party won the samuel johnson prize for "nothing to envy," ordinary lives in north korea and now nominated for the national book award, nonfiction category 2010. barbara demick is the author. john dower is the author of "cultures of war" pearl harbor, hiroshima, 9/11 and iraq. he is a finalist for the national book award in the nonfiction category. professor dower, what is the similarity between rural harbor and 9/11? >> well, that is where the book began, when 9/11 happened. headlines were all over the u.s. saying day of infamy, infamy. some of them quoted roosevelt's famous saying, the day which will live in infamy and immediately people said surprise attack or code they use the word kamikaze. they went back to pearl harbor
to try to grasp the enormity of this, but then i have written on asia. i am a historian and i have done a lot of thinking about the war. then it got complicated because then it spun into failure of intelligence, surprise attack. bennett started to get into world war ii, where you had the firemen pictures, raising the stars and stripes, that iconic picture and it was iwo jima. people put the two pictures up, the president began calling for a war on terrorism. then you began voting roosevelt and truman, so it went from pearl harbor, 9/11, into world war ii. and then they christened the world center ruins ground zero. than we were in a holden did mention of world war ii.
it began with 9/11, in infamy and they became much more complicated. >> tied tie together hiroshima and iraq. >> well, the real tie is hiroshima and 9/11. that was the real tie. because ground zero is an atomic bomb freeze. that was the original association and that came to the question of terror bombing or deliberately -- and that is a practice that comes out of world war ii, the air war in world war ii. they wanted to destroy enemy morale of the anglo-american with the united states and it was done in germany, japan and culminates in hiroshima. so the ground zero 45, ground zero 2001 is the link. the iraq link was a choice to
begin with, because we go from 9/11, this war of choice by the islamist terrorists, to the japanese war of choice earlier and there is a parallel. and then suddenly we have a war of choice against iraq, and then we had a terrific failure of intelligence in iraq. just a disastrous failure of intelligence upon the united states. and so then you have got pearl harbor which was a japanese tag correctly brilliant strategic idiotic thing. you have the war of choice of the islamist and america is doing a war of choice. so i'm a historian and i wanted to understand, does not all the same but i wanted to see how you could do things comparatively about war and then every side is talking holy wars and war has always been with us in our
modern times, even with their new technology. i really wanted to wrestle with it. it was a wrestling. i had to try to figure some things out for myself on some questions i hadn't asked. >> vietnam is not a focus of your book. why? >> it is not a focus of the book because there was simply not space to do it. the vietnam figures and that's one of the major "cultures of war". it is mentioned in passing and a number of ways. vietnam figures in both as a place where you deliberately target, targeted noncombat. vietnam figures and in a different way in the failures of intelligence, and i've read about this it some length. just the subtitle could only be so long and it wasn't that i was going back to vietnam, but the striking thing is the failure of intelligence. in vietnam, we had basically the
united states, had lost in an insurgency and after vietnam, we cease to study culture insurgency in the u.s. government. it was dropped from the military academies. it dropped out. we want going to get involved with that, and there was no preparation for what we encountered in iraq, and in afghanistan. afghanistan figures and of course also, but i focus mostly on iraq, and they are the failure of intelligence on our part, on the u.s. part, was extraordinary. like? so i was trying to think of this overtime and one thing is that takes you to think and comparatively about the u.s. in ways that is sometimes a bit taboo and a little bit making people uncomfortable. it is not saying it is all the same, but also it lifts it out
of the bush administration per se, where you step back in history and look at the bigger picture and you are going back to world war ii. you are going back to other things. at one point in the book i end up in the philippines at the turn-of-the-century, you know, when u.s. conquered the philippines in 1898 and early 1900's. all the rhetoric was there. i have a line in the book that if you want to find a ghost behind the ghostwriters for george bush, you go back to the philippines. the rhetoric, the language is all there. so to think about war is the culture is very painful. it is painful because there are possibly hard things about us as human beings. not about americans or something, it is about us as human beings in a modern age where we have war with us all of the time. the technology may change but
somehow we are caught in this coil, and it seems hard to get out. and i do it at levels of both the individual and the institutions, so at the end i came upon talking about concepts of pathology, the individual pathology as an institution, but a bureaucratic dysfunction. very very hard things to wrestle with. it took a long time, but that is where it ended up. >> speaking of george bush, have you. you be reading decision point, particularly the chapters on afghanistan and iraq? >> well i haven't read -- i read very very extensively the memoirs by everyone, memoirs, investigative journalist reports leaks from the bush administration and i made a decision to keep working on the book until the end of the bush
demonstration. that is where the research stops. i will look at his autobiography, certainly, but i hope i can move on to to a subject may be that is cultures of peace or cultures of something else in the future rather than go back to this right now. >> professor john dower has already won the national book award for -- and he won the pulitzer prize as well. has been nominated for the 2010 nonfiction category for "cultures of war," pearl harbor, from hiroshima 9/11 and iraq. >> good evening. on behalf of the board of directors of the national book foundation, it is my privilege to welcome you to the 61st national book awards. now around this time of the year, the question i am most often asked is of course which of the finalists will win. that is what everyone asked me. they were asking me that during
caught tales and they asked me that yesterday and i get phonecalls asking me about it. i got asked last year and i will tally the same thing i tell everyone else, which is i have no idea who is going to win. that is because of the way the process works. the way the process works is that the judges are selected by harold argun brown, and the staff of the national book foundation. judges every year and the judges meet for the first time as a group today, so they actually generally don't know one another. they have never never met face-to-face. they get together today for lunch, and they select the winner today at lunch. the only instructions they have from the national book foundation is you are not to get up on the table at lunch today and tell you have picked the winner. that is all you tell them. we don't tell them anything else and they have always been able
to accomplish this. now there is a rumor that some of last year's nonfiction judges were still arguing during the cocktails before dinner but they did get through it ultimately and have always been able to get it done. and when they pick a winner, they don't tell anyone, so they don't tell harold, and they don't tell me and they don't tell anyone and we'll get to find out the entry that question at the same time tonight. now before we move on with the program i know we are all eager to get to that. i've a lot of people a lot of people to thank. i'm going to go through this quickly and ask you to hold your applause until i have thanked everyone. the first thing i would like to do as i would like to ballots on the special guest in our audience tonight and thank them. former national book award winners, victor navassa geek, annette gordon-reed, philip levine, mark doty, marianne hoberman, john dower and of course tom wolfe, justin kaplan, allen brinkley, tim, james kagan
all winners of the national book award. thank you for being here with us. [applause] i would also like to knowledge the presence tonight of pulitzer prize winner ray armen trial, national book critics circle winner. [applause] francine to plessis gray, seth blair, robert pulido, pen faulkner winners joanna scott and katrina murray, hugo award winner samuel r. delany and apollo gotcha baluchi. two-time booker prize winner beater kerry, lionel shriver and amanda foreman. finally among our prizewinners i would like to welcome grammy award winner rosanne cash. thank you all for being here with us. [applause] now i have to thank the
financial supporters. of course we wouldn't be able to do anything without them so let me thank each of them. premier sponsor barnes & noble, leadership sponsors theodore h. barnes foundation, google, lyndon maier but pushing papers division of central national choral graphics, david drummond the ford foundation, penguin group, random house and sponsors bloomberg, reuters, the shed book group usa the national endowment for the arts, perseus books group, deborah whiteley, marine dwight and steven rattner, barry perry kirschbaum international creative management and katie and don merron. thank you for making this possible. [applause] and now would like to acknowledge in our audience the winners of this year's ambitions and reading price. this is an extraordinary group or coy just want describe to you the extraordinary set of
initiatives. i want to describe each of these groups quickly. they all received awards with the ceremonies from the national book foundation here they are. a poetry journal on the text message and web published original work by some of the world's best established poets. a 26 palencia in san francisco is a nonprofit center dedicated to helping students develop a lifelong passion for reading and writing. free lines book club and writing workshop uses books in creative writing to empower teenaged boys charged it incarcerated as adults at the washington d.c. jail to transform their lives. [applause] now this is a small church church in arra community in south carolina where the nearest library branches far away and in order to give the children in that community more exposure to reading the church membership created their own children's
library by going to garage sales and buying books dictionaries and encyclopedias. finally united reading from san diego. this is a group that offers parents who are away from their children the opportunity to be recorded on dvd reading storybooks for families separated by military deployments. the program is available on u.s. navy ships and on bases around the world including in desert camps in iraq and afghanistan. these the search to ordinary group's so i'm really proud to have been able to give them awards this week on behalf of national book foundation. [applause] okay, just a couple of more people to thank. we will get through this. thank you to my fellow board members especially morgan and chicken and lynn nesbitt, who are also dinner co-chairs along with hyatt bath and shelley. they have completely transformed
this event in the last few years, great thanks to them. they deserve a lot more. [applause] also thank you to tina brown, "the daily beast" in st. john for sponsoring this evening's after party. somehow tenet has found time to do this in addition to everything she has done including editing "newsweek" and everything else. thank you, tina. [applause] thank you to executive director harold for his leadership and the outstanding staff of the national book foundation for all of their hard work making this evening possible. [applause] part of what makes this industry so much fun is the diversity of our publishers and you can see that tonight with this year's finalists. from one of the smaller february publishers in america, based in
kingston new york, nonprofit publishers in minnesota and washington state to the largest publishers in america from the east coast to the west and many in between, this year's finalists represent the best of american writing and publishing all across the country. i thank you all for coming in being part of this great great tradition and now onto the awards ceremony. [applause] thank you. >> let's have a nice round of applause for mr. steinberger, please. come on, do it. [applause] those were wonderful remarks and of course we are very grateful for everybody who has supported the national book foundation and actually until i heard those remarks, i didn't realize that barnes & noble is the premier
sponsor of tonight's event. i would like to have a nice, healthy round of applause for barnes & noble. [applause] upon reflection i realized i made some jokes earlier about darntan noble, which the only way i can explain it is in preparing for the national book awards tonight, i spent the day drinking this alcoholic energy drink, and it got me a little bit comp, and i try to sort of eased ease off it by smoking a combination of pot and crack. and i think i am fine now. i i do think i am fine. are you ready for the awards, ladies and gentlemen? [applause] we are giving out awards in these categories in reverse alphabetical order. we are giving out awards for young people's literature,
poetry, nonfiction, fiction and finally the most coveted award, best tweets which is going to be a very exciting award to give out this year. first we are going to start with the award for young people's literature and this has special meaning for me if i could just share for a moment in the last year, my wife olivia had a baby girl, so we are very excited about that. [applause] and if i can share, here's the exciting part. i am the father. [laughter] yes. it is so good to know that, or so i am told. i am just taking it to the bank. so we have a very exciting group of nominees were young people's literature and before anybody wins an award tonight let me just give one guideline to the winners, having been here at last year's awards. it is such a great, but when you win, but please, when you give your speech, don't say that you are humbled, because you won, do
that. if you should be proud. do you agree these people should be proud of winning? [applause] i mean if anybody is humble tonight it is the losers. they are the ones that are going to be firing their agents tomorrow. so, be proud. okay. alright 2% the national book award for young people's literature is torah. torres and author of books for children including me margaret, finalist for the national book award for young people's literature 1997. ladies and gentlemen, torah seidler. [applause] >> good evening everybody. in young people's literature they really covered the gamut. we have read some great
nonfiction, graphic novels, collections of short stories, poetry, and well over 200 novels it was a daunting task to say the least, but now that my eyesight has recovered, i came away from the whole thing feeling really inspired, blown away really by the quality of the work. it was just amazing. i was also inspired by my wonderful fellow judges, by their commitment and their passion. kelly link, lapan kill, sarah czar and hope anita smith. [applause] they deserve it.
[applause] together we somehow managed to, when i went down to five and they are pablo, should break are published by little brown. [applause] catherine erskine, mockingbird. [applause] published by phil linnell, a division of penguin young readers group. [applause] laura mcneil, dark water. [applause] published by alfred a. knopf. walter dean myers, lockdown. [applause] published by amazon and imprint of harpercollins.
and rita williams garcia for one crazy summer. published by amazon and an imprint of harpercollins. [applause] and, the winner of this year's national book award for young people's literature is catherine erskine's. [applause] mockingbird. [applause] >> guys, thank you very much. thank you so much to the national book foundation for supporting writing and reading
and our culture. and to the judges for selecting some very powerful and important books. to penguin and especially patti and tamera, and readers and friends and supporters and family. dan, jan who will be always be my big sister no matter how old i get. bill, i love you more and you don't have a mic so i got the last word in. to my kids, they used to kiss the paper manuscript and now they kisses at the laptop. and two teachers and adults of all kids, who are teaching them to read and to think, to think critically, think deeply, think
for themselves, especially my mom taught us to learn not just the facts but the what if your world. more importantly the wife. thank you very much. [applause] >> let's hear it one more time. she was fantastic. [applause] now, onto poetry and i am lucky enough that i sat next to her presenter in the poetry category, cornelius ed who is a great poet. i thought i knew a lot about poetry this evening but i learned so much talking to him. for example when poems don't rhyme, that is like on purpose. they mean to do it that way. [laughter] this has been like a school to me. it is just so amazing.
cornelius of course is the author of eight books of poetry. his book won the finalist for poetry in 2001. ladies and gentlemen, cornelius ida. [applause] >> good evening. and they got the discount, right? william policy won the national book award in 1954 for his book often quoted among his poet is saying, is difficult to get the news from poets, from poems yet men die miserably every day for lack of what is found fair. here are five recent american headlines from our finalist. the small dog barking at the
darkness has something to say about the way we live. the architect left from the bright belltower and back to her cage. and arkansas art is not a rainbow, but an iron bridge over troubled water. oh dear say the tyrants, sex is not a and intense and it might save you. please mistake it for what you are not supposed to do. each year a panel of five poets sit together at a table for a bunch with five books of poetry at the end of which they somehow have to come up with a name to announce. if one wishes to use this annual event as a way to engage the state of american poetry i can tell you this year the vast and
wide include small additional publishers, old and young, holds different -- sexes and is busy in the act of translating the everyday large defense of this moment we are all passing through into exciting, complex and sometimes breathtaking song. choosing five looks to be finalist out of the 180 odd looks we as a panel had to read for was daunting enough. having an afternoon to arrive at a winner is a bittersweet moment. since it means that for poets, that for four poets, as we all feel to be equally worthy must be turned down. to those poets, i say this. you where the adventure of our summer, the discovery some of us weren't expecting to find, the peace we kept returning to, the
poems we simply couldn't let go of her get out of our heads. we thank you deeply for the experience and your art. finally i would like to thank my panel, who i will always consider one of the many lucky breaks in my life, for the time, care and consideration, joy and honesty you brought to the table. i leave this process renewed, refreshed and a little less cynical about human nature. thank you brenda, jeffrey mcdaniel, linda gregerson and ray armin trial. [applause] and here are the five poetry finalists for 2010. kathleen graber, and the eternal city published by princeton
university press. [applause] terence hays, lightheaded. [applause] published by penguin books. [applause] james ricker send, by the numbers. published by copper canyon press. [applause] cd wright, one with others, a little book of her days published by copper canyon books. [applause] monica, ake published by four way books. [applause] and it is my great pleasure and personal joy to announce this year's winner by unanimous vote, terence hays.
[applause] [applause] >> i have no speech. i was sitting and thinking, i should have come up with blurbs for the other finalist and i was thinking i have to thank my wife, whose eyes are better than my eyes. my editor, paul flow-back. [applause] i think paul lets me think i can do anything i want. i can neither screwup, like my wife i think that is the best kind of partner, the one that lets you been perfect.
so i am just happy, shaking a little bit and i'm not going to say anything else. we can get on with the rest of the show. thank you all. [applause] >> terence hays. the national book award in nonfiction will be presented by marjorie garber. marjorie is the author of 15 books, including the award-winning shakespeare after all. ladies and gentlemen, marjorie garber. [applause] speak it is a pleasure and an honor to be here this evening.
it has been my privilege over the last several months to work with the distinguished authors and critics on the nonfiction judging panel. i would like to introduce and think of them now. blake bailey, jennifer michael hecht, seth lehrer and sally tisdale. [applause] nonfiction is the category with the largest number of entries annually. this year reconsidered almost 500 looks. a sign of the vitality of the publishing industry and the energy and brilliance of today's writers. reading is discussed in almost 500 books created for judging panel, a bond that endures, combination of boot camp and salon that was for me and i hope for my colleagues, deeply pleasurable. this kind of conversation is what we look for in cultural and intellectual life. the discussion about what
matters in writing and in the world of ideas. it is interesting and add their daughters and thematic depending on your point of view that the category of americans agreed most often, nonfiction, as defined by what it is not, nonfiction. it is a wide variety of looks submitted this year including biographies, memoirs, political and historical narratives, books about technology, literature, war, animals, religion, music, globalization, the economy and of course publishing. taken together, these books create a portrait of what we as individuals and as a society are thinking, hoping, dreaming and worrying about. it was impossible for our panel not to notice that the prevailing tone was elegiac. be agreed at the outset that we value strong and powerful writing, regional research and a sense that a book with merit
rereading in future years, both on its own merits and as a marker of the times. it was the finalist i'm about to read who represents for a panel the best of e besti a very strong year. barbara demick, "nothing to envy," ordinary lives in north korea. [applause] published by siegel and brown, an imprint of the random house publishing group. john w. dower, "cultures of war," pearl harbor, hiroshima, 9/11, iraq. [applause] published by w.w. norton ann. patty smith, "just kids." [applause] published by echo an imprint of harpercollins publishers.
justin spring, "secret historian," the life and times of samuel stuart. [applause] published by ferrar strauss and jarrell. megan k. stack, every man every man in his village is a liar. and education anwr. [applause] published by doubleday. this year's national book award for nonfiction goes to patty smith, "just kids." [applause] [applause]
[applause] >> you thank you everybody. i would have of course like to thank my publisher, echo, down halperin and all that echo, to rosemary, lenny kaye and most evolved betsy learner. i have always loved books all my life. when i was a clerk at scribners bookstore, i dreamed of having it look of my own, of writing one that i could put on the shelf, and when i would have to unpack and put up the national book award winners, i used to wonder what it would feel like
to -- sorry, to be a national book award winner. so thank you for letting me find out. [applause] and please, publishers, there is nothing more beautiful than the book, the paper, the font, the cloth. please, no matter how we advanced technologically, please never abandon the book. there is nothing in our material world more beautiful than the book. [applause] thank you. [applause]
>> okay one more time for patty smith. come on, let's -- [applause] and now, fiction. somebody likes fiction out there. that is good. the year 2010 has seen imaginative books from such masters of fiction as george w. bush. [applause] not nominated. don't get it, so political. to present the 2010 national book award for fiction is joanna scott. joanne is a novelist and short story writer whose most recent book is the novel follow me. it gives me great ledger tragedy is joanna scott. [applause]
>> thank you. this is a very exciting evening. very moving. many years ago when i was about to publish my first novel my editor at the time passed on some important advice by way of a story about samuel beckett. he told me that a friend of his had been jogging in the luxembourg gardens in paris and saw beckett sitting on a bench. the friend couldn't contain himself. he ran up to beckett, introduced himself. he fluttered his admiration and then out of the blue he announced that his young daughter wanted to be a fiction writer and dave beckett have any advice for her. and beckett said, tell her to be very careful. so, i find myself taking that advice from time to time. more often though, i keep getting it. i forgot a plan i served as a
judge at the national book awards and i forgot the advice again when i was asked to chair this panel. it is hard to be careful when one does not have diplomatic immunity. but as it turned out my fellow judges, andre, samuel delany, sabrina murray and carolyn murphy, didn't need a diplomat. they have all been more than civil through their deliberations. the only time i got really worried was today at lunch when sabrina murray longed for a nice, but she was just cutting up her chicken. [laughter] so, we didn't need more from me than the occasional reminder that the deadline was coming. serving on this panel has been far more of awarding then i told. their worst conversations and e-mail and at lunch that i have a chance to watch the very spirited writers in action.
i have seen how passionately and honorably they engaged in the work of preparing nearly 300 books down to a list of five finalist. they asked the big questions not just about the books in front of us but about the mission of imaginative writing. when e-mail started to withstand six and nine and 12 singlespaced pages, i knew these writers really cared about the work. they are generous readers and astute critics in representative at the first persevere of approaches which i believe is reflected them with the finalist. a list that is as vibrant and diverse as big chen itself. there is one thing they have share different affair from each other, is the way of finding excellence on their own term. each of the books has a voice, style, structure that is specific to its focus whether they are looking hard at the past or the present, whether they are exploring the secrets of a death, a horse, or tell, illness or the potential of democracy, whether their
paragraph is to sing for us rolling, whether the books have been issued by small independent presses or large publishers. together they remind us up on the greatest of fiction, its power to keep surprising us. the five works of fiction finalists for the national book awards have nothing barred or, nor familiar about them. they are in alphabetical order, peter kerry, paris and olivier and america published by alfred a. knopf. [applause] jamie gordon, lord of -- published by the kiersten ann. [applause] nicole krause, greathouse published by w.w. norton ann. [applause] lionel shriver, so much for that published by harper and harper
[applause] >> the this is really heavy. i am totally unprepared, and i'm totally surprised. a lot of friends of mine called me up and said, if you could get this finalist thing, that gives us hope. and i feel as though this is as much for them as it is for me and for everybody who was involved in this book in any way. thank you very much. [applause]
>> okay one more time your applause for the winners in all of our nominees. , on. [applause] ladies and gentlemen thank you so much. i had a blast and i want you to join "the daily beast" after party up on the balcony sponsored by st. john. check it out. in this has been the 2010 national book awards. good night. [applause] >> you for more information about the national book awards, visit national book.org.is >> this is richard rhodeswinnerf whenever the pulitzer prize and his new book the twilight of api bomb. recent challenges, new dangers and the prospect for a world without nuclear weapons. richard rhodes, realistically speaking is there a process for more nuclear weapons on the planet? on the planet? >> i think so.
they really lost the utility since the cold war. they cost us $50 billion a year. it is official u.s. policy that we move towards zero. it's just a matter of working out some of the security relationships that are standing in the way. >> with regard to working out those relationships, will we be able to come to agreements with countries like north korea and iran who seem to be on the path to making their own nuclear weapons? >> they do. partly because that's the only way they can -- they feel they can defend themselves against the major nuclear powers like the united states. but each of them has -- has security needs. if we can kind a way to satisfy those, north korea would like to be an ally. they have been saying that now for more than 40 years. in fact, they'd like us to build them some nuclear power plants to replace the electricity that we destroyed. >> in the book you talk about iraq's secret program. how did the story of this bomb
program grow? and even if they didn't have any bombs, or they haven't found any bombs so far. >> you know, we went into that first gulf war argues that they did have a bomb program. which we did not know at the time. but afterwards when inspectors from the united nations and the international atomic energy agency went in, they found a huge effort to enrich uranium to make material for a bomb. they cleaned all of that out. so did the iraqis. they were tired of having our people. they blew up all of their stuff. but they didn't keep records. so when the second bush came along with an interest in resolving and settling the country down and getting rid of saddam, there wasn't any proof. but the fact is it was fully cleaned up by 1998. >> speaking of cleaning up, you talk also in the book about the scramble for what was left over about the soviet nuclear arsenal. talk to us about that.
>> it wasn't so much the arsenal . los alamos director said to me, they know the -- it was the material they used to make the bombs, the whole country ad a pris in labs all over. there was no way to get stuff out when the walls came down they were like us. we went in and sent a lot of money. with the real effort on our part helped them begin to put all of their materials under lock and key. we're still sam nunn the former senator estimated that about 60% of our nuclear materials are now carefully guarded and accounted for. so the job still remains to be finished. but we've made a good start. >> earlier today, you had a presentation at the national book festival. tell us about that and during the question and answer period, what was foremost on the minds of the people that were asking you question there is? >> i really went through my new