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tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  November 28, 2014 11:53am-2:01pm EST

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time goes on when we are unaware of our mortality which we are most of our lives than we focus on achieving. when we become aware of the limitations because of the uncertainty of the political atmosphere in any variety of reasons we suddenly want to focus on people that we are closer with and be connected with others and i think that wisdom is just a manifestation of having some perspective on where we are in life. >> guest: i've had patients told me they wish they would wished they would have spent more time with their family but i've never heard anybody say i wish i would have spent more time at work. >> guest: i had two kids go off to college and if they said that to me right now i don't want to focus on what i just want to be with family it's a
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perspective issue. >> host: >> guest: the behave as if we are immortal and that means we are willing to sacrifice time for the sake of the future achievements we are willing to delay gratification but that makes no sense when you are aware of time so it is a matter of perspective and it's to to have the proper perspective for where you are in your place in time. >> host: it's great to see you again. congratulations on the book being mortal. i look forward to continuing the conversation. >> guest: thank you. >> guest: that was after words in which authors of the latest nonfiction books were interviewed by journalists, public policy makers and others familiar with their material. it airs every weekend on booktv
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at 10 p.m. on saturday, 12 and 9 p.m. on sunday at 12 a.m. on monday. and you can also watch "after words" online. go to and click on "after words" in the book tv series and topics list on the upper right side of the page. >> here's a look at the current top ten best-selling nonfiction books according to "the new york times." topping the list former president george w. bush profiles his father george h. w. bush and 41.
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the administration of criminal justice, race, crime and the law. it's still an area not only in the racial context that is very unsatisfactory, and we need as a society to reevaluate how we
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punish people, the extent to which we punish people. we are in a society that is hyper punitive and we are wasting unnecessarily -- there are some people who do terrible things and some people are really dangerous and are not protected but on the other hand, we have for far too long people who represent the danger in this is an area that stands for more study and reform. >> host: what have you told your kids about the interactions with the police? >> guest: i have two boys and a girl, and i have had the talk that many black people have had.
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and unfortunately, i have to tell -- i told my children that they should be respect for two police. the police have a difficult job. in my life i have usually had good interactions with the police. on the other hand, anybody that reads the newspapers knows black young men are viewed differently than others by police and by the way of all backgrounds. i'm not just talking about white police but black police come too not only are they viewed differently, but they are viewed differently as a matter of policy. and so, i told my sons they should be respectful, i've i told them if they are approached
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, if the police stopped them they should not argue, they should do what they are told. but even if they are being treated wrongly, be quiet, do what they are told, we will work it out later because unfortunately, we live in a system in which all too much leeway is given to police in which if something really bad happens and you are hurt, unfortunately the legal system is not going to do much to assist you. that is a sobering fact of life and a fact of life that i have conveyed on a number of occasions. this is booktv coverage of
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the 65th annual national book awards sponsored by the national book foundation. we are in new york city and this evening you will see the red carpet arrivals and you will see the award ceremonies as well. the 16th year in a row booktv has covered national book awards. for awards are given to authors this evening. and it's broken down into categories, poetry, young adult, fiction and nonfiction and of course being booktv, we focus on the nonfiction. and the five finalists chosen from 495 entries include roz chast, the cartoonist for the new yorker has written a graphic novel about taking care of her parents in their older age, john lahr has written a biography of tennessee williams, evan osnos aged ambition is about china and his experiences there. also, edward o. wilson edward o. wilson cut to time time to let her prize-winning at harvard
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science the meaning of human existence is his most recent book. and finally, anand gopal who was with "the wall street journal" for many years. he covered the afghanistan war, and he looked at the afghanistan war through the eyes of afghans. so those are the five finalists. ..
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a group called first books. we will a little bit more about that this evening. this is a booktv coverage of the red carpet of the national book awards in new york city, and after this you will see the actual award ceremony. >> david, nice to see you. >> and on the red carpet right now is roz chast, one of the finalists. we will show you having her picture taken. and hopefully we'll be able to talk to her and justin as well. you might recognize her as a cartoonist of "the new yorker." but joining us now here on the red carpet is david steinberger who is president and ceo of the
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perseus publishing group is also chairman of the national book foundation. what is the national book foundation? >> it's an organization that is committed to increasing the impact of great books on the culture. the thing we're best known for is the national book awards. it's great to see roz chast at the. if he wins he'll be the first graphic novel or the first graphic work ever to win a national book award for her really moving, amazing book. spin did we just hear what your vote was speak rocks are not allowed to vote. i don't have a vote. we have judges that we fly in from around the country. they have lunch. we have four categories from four different restaurants. they have lunch, and that that lunch we have -- we tell the one thing. you can't get the check and we make a decision. you have to pick the winner. no one knows until the get up on the stage today. >> how do you pick the judges? one of the judges was ruth
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simmons, the first, former president of brown university. >> right. we are picking great thinkers. off and its writers, other leaders of the culture and it could be an academic, it could be a critic. it could be a journalist or library or bookseller. but we have different judges every year. it's a huge commitment. they have to read a huge number of books and i think the selection speak for themselves. they do a wonderful job. >> can anyone submit a book? >> it has to be published in the united states within the year. the author, that really is the requirement. the publishers of submit the books. >> what about self-publish? >> that's a great question. lots of interesting discussions about that but i don't have anything to say about that right now. now. >> what is perseus and give any nominees? some of your houses and give any nominees is your?
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>> we do have one nominee in the fiction category, and we tr trid to stay impartial on the stuff but it would be great to win tonight. >> many different iterations of the national book award. it's changed over the years. do you think you've hit a rhythm as far as the presentation, the number of awards? >> right. we are always thinking about what's the right way to do the awards. i think we go back to our mission which is what trying to increase the impact of books on the culture, how do we do that? that's what led to things like having a long list and having the after party. and actually opening up the judging to people other than writers, trying to broaden the impact. we are still making progress. with a bigger crowd tonight. i've been doing this for a number of years. it's the largest crowd i've ever addressed onstage. that feels like progress.
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>> keep your publishers have on all your ceo has produced in the. it seems as if the publishing industry is settling down a little bit with amazon. is that a fair assessment? >> you know, that's an interesting question. it's a very exciting dynamic time to be in industry. >> we have been saying that for years. >> yes and it never seems to get all in our industry. amazon as a part of a very vibrant industry. they are at a major exciting participant. never a tall moment. >> that's david steinberger who is to have fun, president and ceo of the perseus group. some of your publishing houses include basic books, public affairs, running press, and chairman of the national book foundation. >> thanks so much. >> now one of the finalists for the nonfiction category, this is somebody you probably have seen
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her work but maybe not her face. this is roz chast. can we talk about something more pleasant? first of all the first graphic novel, the first graphic novel, memoir to be nominated. >> for the nonfiction category. i think david, his wonderful graphic memoir was nominated for the young adult category but this is the first nonfiction. >> it's a nonfiction graphic novel. what are you writing about and where did you find this a? >> the book is about my parents last year's, and my taking care of them and about that whole part of life which we were all in complete denial about, and that's what the title comes from, can we talk of something more pleasant which is what my father used to say every time i talked to them about what the plans were.
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when they did pass away, they were 95 and 97, so we did have a number of years at the end where i didn't know what was really where we were going. >> people who see your work in "the new yorker" know you have a sense of humor. this graphic memoir is no different. >> well, there were some very grim aspects but also some very funny things. and it was just a combination of a lot of emotion and, yeah, good topics. >> roz chast, hoosier publisher and i did you find that you were nominated? >> my publisher is -- and my editor called me here. >> what was your reaction to? >> i was shocked. i was extremely, extremely surprised and happy, and it's a great honor. >> when did you start with "the new yorker"? >> i started with "the new
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yorker" in 1978, a long time ago. >> how did you get into cartooning? and using that word in the generic sense. >> i think i always loved to draw from the time i was little, like three, and i like to write and i like things that are funny. i was just sort of attracted to that, and cartooning to me was a wonderful way where you could combine writing and drawing, and i think one thing about this book that i was very happy to be able to do was i felt like i didn't have to just use text or just use pictures, that i could use text when you do use a text, use pictures when you did use pictures. there's also photographs. there's a couple of my mothers poems. she was sort of an amateur poet and it's a very flexible format. it's something, that form of cartooning has been something i've been attracted to my whole
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life. >> "can't we talk about something more pleasant?" is the name of the book, roz chast is the author. >> well, this is a familiar face in fact to a lot of booktv watchers. harvard scientist edward o. wilson. two pulitzer prizes and what, 20 books? >> thirty-two. >> sorry. i underestimated you. >> very self absorbed person would know the exact number of books he has written. >> dr. wilson has written one issue that's been nominated for a national book award, "the meaning of human existence." must be thin. >> it is. i think there's an inverse relationship between them vision of the writer and the length of his book. something like that. >> what is "the meaning of human existence," dr. wilson? >> actually what i'd done is define meaning from the beginning and at the beginning
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of the book, and i think a lot of the content can be redlined by true expressions that appear there and that come and one of them is that we are a somewhat maladapted and species in that we've ended up at the present era with paleolithic emotion, and with medieval institutions, and godlike technologies. and it's a crazy and dangerous list, but the meaning, the meaning. been meaning actually is where we come from, and what we are in the present time. and the way i approach it is recognizing history makes no sense without prehistory, you know, where we came from and all
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that we can learn about our more distant ancestors. prehistory makes no sense except through biology. and we find the linkage between humanity, particularly history and self-examination on the one side, and the signs on the other side which explains just how it all happened. >> for those of us who flunked biology, what is paleolithic mean? >> stone age. >> are we accidents? >> in a sense we are because it took a combination of very rare evolutionary events to set the stage. and i have been studying the origin of social systems. that's my field of one of my subjects. through time i have found that of the 20 or so times the very advanced social behavior
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existed, that includes of course the social impact and doesn't necessarily imply intelligence to culture. of the 20 times its originate in the history of life, it's always followed the same set of evolutionary changes but the kind of prepared the species for taking the last leap. that last leap occurred primarily through groups competing with other groups. but other circumstances and we find that animals big enough to take that out of the 20 through the entire history of life was us, and we were evolved from a primate, a large anthropoid like primate. >> dr. wilson, just recently a probe landed on a comet and i read that they found carbon on
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that are the basic building block of human existence. what's your reaction to that? >> i think it's thrilling. we're not going to find any life there but we will find life on some other comment, in the star system that can be reached by robot. in fact, in the book that we are now discussing, "the meaning of human existence" i take that up in some light as to how many star systems we may have to go out to and how long it's going to take before we can make direct robotic content and close examination of the life we do find it i think within a very few years will have evidence of some form of life. >> what your fascination with trent to? >> it grew with the time from my boyhood, and every kid has a
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bug. but i just never grew out of mine. but with ants i soon discovered as early as an undergrad in college that we know so little about them, and they offer such tremendous opportunity to make scientific discoveries. for example, chemical communication. communicating by pheromones. that was when i really got started, studying pheromones and the chemical codes of the communication of ants. they smell and taste their way into an advanced social order. they don't see or hear. they do with pheromones. smelling things. >> in your long career at harvard, have you changed your mind about any of the theories that you supported in the past? >> well, you hit the polls lie. i was one of the principal supporters of the theory called
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the theory of -- more collective selection of product the books on -- in the 1970s. i thought we had the solution in kinship and the way close kinship works to further cooperation among the members of a group. but in the last 10 years i have become to find more and more cracks in this theory, inadequacies. we have now dismissed that theory and in return the explanation of the origin of social behavior back to the tested principles of population genetics. it's not a new theory but it is an extension of modern population today to include the origin of advanced social behavior. i've got this in the book, too, as to why that was done and what it means now.
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>> what's the 33rd book about? >> the next one coming up? tentatively called finish in the hands of my publisher, and it's called the end of the age of man. i propose a name for all of the changes we brought to the earth, and in the argument to save the rest of life we are giving rid of carelessly and cheerfully the earth, i suggested that we need a really radical move, approach, global conservation called the half earth theory. over half earth project, which would give of the earth and humanity, and half to the other 8 million species that is on the
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earth with us. i think that's a pretty fair division. we actually can do it, and that's in the new book i will show how we can do it, and that could solve the conservation problem the way we do it. >> edward o. wilson, "the meaning of human existence." i've got to be a little cheeky and i've always heard that when people ask you, dr. wilson to what should i do with ants in my kitchen, what is your answer to? >> that's the question i'm most often asked, what i tell them is watch where you step. be careful of little lives. get some cookie crumbs. the ones that we found, ants like the most can maybe a bit of tuna. put it on the floor and then watch as a scout and finds it and reports back to the nest, and through invisible trails and other signals, that's what it used to work on, brings up members of the colony to
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surround it, protect it and eat it. you will, thereby, sea life so different from our own might be on another planet. >> pulitzer prize winner national boonational book awardt edward o. wilson. thank you, sir. >> thank you. >> this is book tvs live coverage of the national book awards, we are on the red carpet. as you can see we're talking to some of the finalists. the red carpet area is starting to fill up a little bit. we will be live a little bit later with the award ceremonies as well. daniel handler is the host this evening, and is also know as lemony snicket. there's david steinberg on the red carpet. is chairman of the national book foundation which sponsors these awards and is also president and ceo of the perseus publishing crew. we talked to him a little bit
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earlier. and as we continue to talk to some of the finalists in the nonfiction category, want to introduce you to anand gopal was one of the finalists as well, "no good men among the living." congratulations on your finalist status. >> thank you very much. >> how did you approach your book? what was your approach to? >> well, you know, there's a lot of books out there that delve into policy, and what struck me traveling in afghanistan was more so the human stories. it taught me so much about the conflict. might approach was tried to relate that to the reader and the stories that you don't get to hear about.
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>> what is one of your stories? you have three people in your book? >> one is a commando in it in my reporting and he described to me how he joined the taliban, why he joined the taliban and what fields to see in afghanistan's future. >> what was like getting to know a leader of the taliban? >> it was difficult. you would give me a lot of board of played answers but once i asked about his childhood, i was interested in what would get someone to join a movement such as the taliban? he started opening up because people like to talk about their background. over the course of the year i met him almost a week and he delve into the store and learned a tremendous amounts of that. >> was the afghani? was he from pakistan to? >> he was from afghanistan, the countryside. that's where he fought against the troops spent was there a common language of? >> we spoken with the two
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principal linkage in the country to learn after moving there. spent how long did you live in afghanistan? >> about three and a half years. how did you find that your nominate? >> i got a call monday from the book foundation saying i was was nominated, and i couldn't believe it. it still sort of surreal to me. >> so did your taliban leader, were you ever fearful? >> within, no. because afghanistan is based on trust but you can get very far when you build personal relationships with people. as long as i was around him i felt safe but with other taliban commanders, i don't know. you have to be very careful. >> every time you met with him were you searched? >> we met in kabul. he wasn't in the insurgent territory. that made it safer. >> was he a anonymous? >> i changed his name for the book because there are details in there that it came to light that could make him kill.
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for example, he switched sides a number of times. so i was very careful to keep his anonymity. >> what was the reason for switching sides of? >> this is sort of way afghanistan works. we people feel like the rb they switched sides to many members of the dublin switch sides and try to join with u.s. government or join with the afghan government. part of the story of why the insurgency research is because they were not given the things to do so spirit you over there with "the wall street journal," correct? >> among other things, "washington journal," christian monitor and others spent where did you go to school and what made you go over to afghanistan? >> i am from new jersey and i live in new york city during 9/11 and the saudi attacks in just a couple blocks away. from then on i was succeed on that part of the world. i switched careers. i used to physics and chemistry but i was always fascinated by
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what it meant. i felt like i wasn't getting an adequate understanding indices so i decided to move to afghanistan i try to find out for myself. >> how long were you there and would you go but? >> i was there for three and half years and i would go back. i traveled back overtime. >> what's it like in in the cod today's? >> kabul is like an island because it functions very well. it's a safe and controlled by the government but surrounding it is insurgency, violence, warlordism. something in kabul is a most like a bubble. >> just and fair election over there, new president coming in. what is your assessment? >> a lot of my friends are hopeful for president ghani because you operates different than karzai. karzai was about cultivating warlords and patronage was trying to is about building the afghan state. there's a lot of hope at the same time he does have a lot of power because there is a war
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going on. his government is beholden to foreign countries for aid and i think his ability to affect fundamental change is limited. >> anand gopal, "no good men among the living," where did that come from? >> it's a proverb and refers to the idea that there are no heroes and no saviors in the war. no psychic turned to. >> good luck. thanks for joining us here on booktv. >> thank you so much. >> [inaudible conversations] >> as you can see, cipriani is filling up in new york city with publishers and agents and
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authors et cetera. after the red carpet arrivals there will be five awards, pardon me, six awards given out, for poetry, young adults, fiction and nonfiction, and to literary awards given out. and also an award given out for outstanding contributions to literary community, and that is being given to the ceo and president of a group called first book. hi, john lahr. tennessee williams, a biography but what is your fascination? >> he is the greatest american playwright of the 20th
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century. he's defined and help define the postwar, the postwar boom. in his great years between 1944-1955 which is really his great period, the american per capita income tripled. it was the greatest of wealth in history of western civilization. and the sense of american individualism change because people could pursue their desires. it was williams was writing about the desire and need and longing that help shape and define that discussion between self-sacrifice and so brandeis and. all that was reflected in his place. >> mr. lahr, was his socialite allah truman capote? >> not at all.
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the thing about williams was he wrote 70 plays. he wrote short stories. he wrote wonderful poetry but a lot of which is included in the book, stuff that they're been published. and truman capote was a socialite and put some of his genius into his life. i think tennessee hadn't really got a great gift of life. he had a great gift of literature so he did much more work and was far more passionate in terms of the fear and the culture. he wrote 19 movies were made from his works. he defined postwar america he didn't have the folklore reach of williams. if you say blanche stanley, mackie, these characters, a
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daddy, they live beyond the works of the place. they are larger than the plays that contain them. he has put those characters into american culture really. >> quick aside, am i saying your last name correctly? >> is like bar. >> how did he got been in tennessee? >> he got the name tennessee because his father came from a very aristocratic tennessee come when i first found a tennessee, lawyers, pathfinders and tennessee took it as a non-doubloons because a lot of his forebears were pathfinders and he saw his career, special when he began in the late '30s as pathfinding. among the dangerous world of osha while america. >> what is about american southern writers that we seem to celebrate or study a little bit
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more? >> i don't think that, i don't recognize that category but there certainly a great eloquence, a great humor. they are haunted, i think they ought tries haunted actually because, and i think, that is to say, slavery and the wealth that is created for white culture, creates the sense of guilt that filters through the narrative of all these white southern write writers. >> if john lahr looks from there to you, his name is elsewhere, is there was bert, the cowardly lion. coming from the family that you did, did you know tennessee williams at all? >> i actually was the manager, the remarriage of the lincoln
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center when we did the first major revival in the early 70s. and i met tennessee been. i only met him once. but he was not in a particularly state to recognize anything. but i did know them. you didn't need to know so know the person to write the perception about them because what i have and what i draw on august diaries and letters, and a great wealth -- he was the most autobiographical of american playwrights. and what my book does and why it's different as i try to chart the internal geography of the writer. he said that his plays exactly represented his internal state of the time of writing. and so there's many, many things that i would cover in terms of letters and diaries that you can
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sort of like a gps system see what he's thinking and what he was feeling while he was writing all these great plays, and even the less great place because they still reflect his ever-changing internal world, which is fascinating. >> where are his papers stored? >> they are stored in three major holdings to the early part is stored at the center in austin. harvard has a great collection of the late ones, and columbia. and there's a small holding out the new orleans historical society. >> what's the pressure like being a drama critic for "the new yorker"? >> there's no pressure but it's the best job in the world which i held for 21 years, second longest but it's the best job because you more space. you can write with more intelligence. you have the keys to the kingdom. if you're ambitious and, to do
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your job and cover the theater, which i did for 20 years. it gives you access to virtually anybody are interested in writing about. i've written about everybody from woody allen to ingmar bergman. i just did one on al pacino. i think people step up because they know that i'll write well about them, but also because they know that "the new yorker" is fact checked. they will be serious, they will take them seriously. >> have you identified another topic for your next book? >> i've identified it, and the person has agreed in principle to do it, but i'm not going to say what it is. my next book is a collection of, it's a theater primer called joyride, which tries to put a modern playwrights in the context of their lives. so the alternate people i
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profile like arthur miller with reviews of their work over the 21 years i was a critic for "the new yorker." >> john lahr is a finalist for the national book award. "tennessee williams: mad pilgrimage of the flesh." thank you, sir. >> we are watching booktv on c-span2. we are at the national book awards for the 16th year in a row. cipriani in new york city is where this is held. it's down on wall street, and we are talking with some of the nonfiction finalists. [background sounds]
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>> and now joining us here on booktv on the red carpet is one of the award winners tonight. >> absolutely. >> kyle zimmer. what his first book? >> first book is an international organization that provides brand-new books and educational resources, basically for anyone serving children in need from zero to 18 years of age. with a network of about 150,000 classrooms and programs that we provide resources to.
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>> how do you don't? >> well, it's a relationship that we call collaborative disruption with the publishing industry when we reach out in aggregate for the first time ever programs serving the base of the economic pyramid, the lowest 30% of the economic ladder, a group of programs and classrooms that have never been reached by the publishing industry. >> how do you get your book's? >> well, we bought a lot of them which, of course, is music to the heirs of the publishers, it should be. we want a thriving publishing industry and we represent a brand-new market for readers that they can, they reach out to them as children and then they will be readers as adults and their children will be readers. >> where are you based? >> washington, d.c. >> where did the idea come from? >> i started with two friends of mine, and i was a lawyer at the time in washington, d.c., believe it or not -- >> we have one or two of those in washington. >> if you ar are a slow runner y
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catch you and make you a lawyer in washington. i started tutoring kids after work, and i just started saying that there were no books in the program and there were no books in their homes, and so one thing led to another and that was about 23 years ago. and almost 120 million books we have given away now. >> where do you get your money? money's? >> about 50% of it is self-funded because the groups buy books through us at very, very low rates. about 50% of corporations and individuals and foundations who are very, very generous. >> do you miss being a lawyer? >> know. i love the challenge and i love turning the light on for kids. and making things possible for dedicated teachers, you know, all over the country. it addicting, you know? >> have you branded, have you
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gone into e-books as well as? >> we are just starting that right now we're also going to be tiptoeing into mobile apps. we want to reach kids through whatever means they want to be reached. we want to be there for them smack kyle zimmer is winning the award for literary award for outstanding service to the american literary community. there is a lot of literary ends it is a lot spent you got somebody with you. who is this? >> this is my son. he is 11 years old. >> hi. this is booktv on c-span. does your mom ever will make you watch c-span? have you heard of the c-span? we will start with the basics. >> not, not really. >> we are not a big tv family. we are more on books. >> all, my. i don't know why we are talking to again. what are you reading? >> a series called era gone. spent congratulations titles are murdered how did you find out
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you're going to win. did you nominate yourself for? >> having snow. i got a wonderful phone call from herald, the head of the national book foundation. >> do you know who nominated you? >> i don't know. that's a secret. if you crack that code please let us know. >> booktv would like to come and visit you in washington, our home base in washington and we will see what you do. >> thanks so much. >> nice to meet you, young man. look for lemony snicket now tonight. booktv on the red carpet of the national book awards. that was kyle zimmer, literary award for outstanding service to the american literary community. first book is the name of her organization. you are watching booktv on c-span2. [background sounds] >> and now making his way across the red carpet is another
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finalist in the nonfiction category. this is evan osnos with his first book, "age of ambition." congratulations. >> thank you. >> what is your book about? >> my book is about china which is wher were i lived for eight . sometimes this is the distillation of that period and the people i came to know and the very extraordinary time in china's development. i was fortunate. >> you were with the "chicago tribune" at the time? >> i was there for the first couple years with him and i was hired by "the new yorker" magazine and i worked for "the new yorker," i've been there now for six years. >> do you miss china's? >> i do actually. i've been back in the u.s. for a year and the thing that you lose when you come home, as great as that is, is the sense of wonder and curiosity that entergy when you walk out your front door. this is the thing about china is you go out to run an errand and something has happened and he becomes part of your story, it becomes part of china's story and that is thrilling.
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>> a lot of books are written about china, our relationship, current status. what made yours stand out? >> for me i wrote the only book that made sense to me which was a book about the people who are caught up in this experience, not the 30,000-foot view, not what it looks like from washington where i now live. this is really about what does this feel like if you're chinese and you're living through the transformation of your country. in some ways that felt for my us in america because we went to a similar kind of rapid evolving process that happene happen to 0 years ago. i think that keep my curiosity. i wanted to know how did it fe feel. >> who is one of the folks that you follow through the transition over the years you were there? >> one guy, for instance, was not the kind of person who i really set out to make the subject of a book. one imagine he was on the periphery of my series work for "the new yorker" magazine and he was a young guy, 23, and what i
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discovered in the course of following them was he was unbelievable interested in the idea of self creation. he just was convinced that he could transform is like a key became kind of obsessed with the old self-help books of the united states to 100 years ago. it really was something familiar to us. he believed that if he learned english that was his ticket, that it would catapult him out of the life that he had an into a different kind of life. i followed him for about five years but anyways his aspirations lifted in out of his tier group that openly they were unfulfilled. that felt to me like an honest reflection of this moment in china in which people have this enormous sense of possibility. they sorted for the first time had that. on the other hand, that everybody can get it. he certainly did not and i think for me at least it was very instructive. >> now, mr. osnos, who was your
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publisher? [inaudible] >> not public affairs of? >> not public affairs which is where my father has been at a publishing house that he founded. i was lucky. i've had good publishing advice in the family from a outcome long before ever thought of writing a book. i'm very fortunate and he's here tonight which i'm grateful for. >> what's the significance of being nominated for a national book award? >> this is validation that the book is here to stay. the meaning of the book, the way you can tell a story at the fact there are certain things that you simply cannot do in 10,000 words to much was in 140 characters. >> do you see yourself returning to china on a semi-permanent basis because i need to see from a distance. i think that makes you all to be able to see mor it more clearly. i'm start to feel like i needed
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to see it from far away in order to see it in relief but it's nice being back home, closer to home. >> evan osnos, congratulations. "age of ambition" is the name of your book. one of the five finalist for the national book award. poetry, young people's literature, fiction, and nonfiction. we will show you all those awards and, of course, we're talking with some of the nonfiction finalists tonight. this is booktv on c-span2. we have been called into the ballroom for dinner so we are going to end our red carpet coverage at this time. i don't know if you can lifted that camera up and give everybody a view of the whole room. this is held in an old exchange bill binney 1800s.
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this is their banquet hall and about 1000 people attended this. it's $1000 a ticket. again, five nonfiction finals but we talk to all of them tonight, for different award categories. poetry, young adults, fiction and nonfiction. and finally to literary achievement awards are being given out. >> you're watching booktv's coverage of the 65th annual national book award on c-span2. >> ladies and gentlemen, please take your seats as we begin the medal ceremony. ladies and gentlemen, daniel handler. ♪ ♪
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>> good evening, fellow literary nerds. my name is daniel handler no to the world as lemony snicket. welcome to national book awards. [applause] >> welcome to national book awards, some random day in november, the 19th i think, thanksgiving is coming up and haven't had anything for it and why do i always leave things to the last minute, what's wrong with me? yes, while the rest of the world marches through november like james patterson for the best sellers list, we gather here for the night has been described as being like the oscars if nobody gave a shit about the oscars. [laughter] but we do, and for us this is pretty glam. at first glance all of us in our dashing outfits hanging around
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wall street might look like the 1%. but that's just me oh and myself. [laughter] look beyond a relatively glitzy exteriors and you will find people who are forsaken the adrenaline of most mainstream culture to indulge in the pleasures. we choose to live in a quieter world that a broader one. it is less immediate but more delicious. what else can we sit and to ask the question, do you think karl has gotten too much attention? without receiving the answer, who is karl? [laughter] tonight the we of the recognition of the world as the host of our festivities i've been dilution with congratulatory messages and telegrams including quite a few i have made up your rudy giuliani can graduates of the nominated authors except for the ones have anything nice to say about the palestinians.
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michael jordan thanks the nba for everything is done for the game. [laughter] i'm assuming the gain is talking about is narrative prose. and jeff mason says allow me to offer my support and enthusiasm for all the publishers, just kidding and you're going down there i'm going to slaughter you all. [laughter] seems a little aggressive. i join all these different semi-insulating the national book awards. while most of us literally type spend the year kissing up to pamela paul, brave committee members spent their days and nights reading the piles of literature dominated for these prizes at the fiction we are all meaning to read, the nonfiction we pretend to have read, the poetry we give to other people to read, and the young people's literature we read gift to the nieces we really don't know all that well. [laughter]
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that judges whittled down countless lists in each category and this will then slimmed down to five books make it the best kosovo dramatic suicidal threats by narcissists since twitter. that was a summit week. tonight the winners will be announced at the cinema but first let us take a moment to marvel at the nominee. in the fiction category there's a wide variety of subject matter by consistency of series and -- down. there's an old lebanese woman losing her grip, hardscrabble to a bug with long great secrets whores of world war ii, the iraq war, the afghanistan war, and the apocalypse. that fiction committee, they really know how to party. [laughter] and nonfiction it's a very far-reaching list encompassing not only memoir, biography,
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journalism and philosophy but books the received a great deal of attention and books a little off the beaten path but what does this mean if human existence by edward o. wilson, and think about that. there's a book called "the meaning of human existence" and in all likelihood you have cracked it open. remember that next time you are binge watching orange is the new black. [laughter] of the five finalists in poetry, for our women on what jennifer wiener calls not good enough. two were african-american or what much of the country calls probable cause. two of the poets are published by the very fine gray wolf press which is a nonprofit house -- [applause] if you're a publishing house not interested in making a profit, please see jeff after the show. [laughter] and then there's young people's literature, the finest literature in the world.
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[cheers and applause] the category of literature that gave us the world is opening sentences, where as papa going with that ax? and then the following sentence for me what recent and did the phone. yes? national book award? are you saying -- oh, hosting. no, no. that's good, too often at but the suspenseful awards are being give out late and eating in order to keep their profits as nervous as possible. we have some other prestigious prize first post a dinner he took himself. [laughter] the first is literary award which is just as even after the decline. this year is going to kyle zimmer and the organization first book and it's hard to imagine -- [applause]
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>> it's almost i am puzzled imagine a noble recipient to present literary award for outstanding service is the reason your sexual disappeared into her bedroom and did not emerge until she was eight and a half. please welcome and often makes lemony snicket look like a slacker. it's marion osborn. [applause] ♪ ♪ spent i first met kyle zimmer almost 10 years ago when she received an offer from the authors guild foundation. since that time w we've become good friends and i've learned a lot more about kyle. title started a professional career as an attorney in washington, d.c. it was her volunteer work at a washington soup kitchen that changed her life.
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there she discovered the harsh reality that has driven her ever since that books are very series for children growing up in low income families but books are scarce at home, at schools and even in committee programs in these neighborhoods. for many of us who might have confronted the same situation, the solution would have been simple. purchase a handful of books, bring them to the kitchen, mission complete. fortunately, ohio is a big picture person. instead she started asking questions and learned that this problem didn't only exist for a handful of children and the few committee programs. a lack of books for children growing up in low income families is a deep and pervasive problem. that impacts millions of children in the u.s., canada, and, of course, all around the world. children without access to books in the early years are coming to schools far behind their more
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affluent peers, and many of them never catch up. teachers already stretched are spending their own money to purchase books and school supplies to try to provide the resources so desperately needed. but that is not enough. in 1992, with two friends, kyle zimmer founded a nonprofit organization called first book. the goal of first book was to harness the private sector and use market principles to solve this social issue. since then first book has launched an astonishing number of firsts come to bring books to children, educators and neighborhood programs come regardless of their zip code. among those first come first book create the first systematic approach to defining and tackling this issue. kyl met with individual publishers, authors and educators to understand the barriers keeping books out of
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the hands of children in need. first book created the first book national book bank, north america's for central distribution system for children's book publishers to donate excess inventory to children in need. first book has to put the first book marketplace, the first online site where teachers serving children in need can purchase books and educational resources at unprecedented prices, available to only two schools that have over 70% of children who are in need. in 2013, first book launched the stores for all projects, the first industrywide initiative tackling the lack of diversity in children's books. the stories for all project is a catalyst for bringing new culturally diverse books into the marketplace. and no first book already
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operating in the u.s. and canada is starting to distribute books globally. through the new first book global marketplace, first book is already shipping books anywhere in the world. since 1992, kyle has built first book from an idea to an innovative award-winning social enterprise that to date has delivered more than 120 million books and educational resources to children who otherwise would never know the power of a books in their lives. kyle, my friend, on behalf of the national book foundation, in recognition of her outstanding leadership and achievements, overcoming childhood illiteracy and promoting educational equality, it's my distinct pleasure to present you with the 2014 literary in award for outstanding service to the american literary community. [applause]
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♪ ♪ >> thank you, everyone. thank you, mary. thank you, harold. and a special thank you to the national book foundation award members for this unbelievable honor. it takes my breath away. from the moment i got this extraordinary phone call from harold to this spectacular evening, it takes my breath away. now, this award is being given, handed to me but everyone knows at -- that first book is utterly a team sport. there are extraordinary people throughout the years and all along the way who have done unbelievable things. in fact, you just met one, mary pope osborne, and there are many, many other he rose to this story. many of whom are here with us
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this evening. so on behalf of myself and on behalf of all these wonderful people, thank you so very much. now, one of the most wonderful part of tonight is being completely surrounded by people who are absolutely devoted to great books. at first book, we believe that books are the most powerful force in the universe. and history supports us. this power is why it was illegal to teach slaves to read. it is why oppressive regimes have burned books. and today it is why girls are tortured and shot when they attempt to attend school. the power of books is why
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science and democracy flourish when gutenberg invented the printing press, americans took an extraordinary leap forward when we've established our system of public libraries. can i hear it for the public library? [cheers and applause] >> now, is that right quick should i start over? just getting. books have played a gigantic role in my own life. in fact, my mother used to tease me about how seriously i would in turn relies books when i was just a kid. she would tell me i would come into the kitchen and i would have my head down and i would be moping along and i would say something like you know, i just don't think i have it in me. i just don't think i could have
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taken on those gigantic spiders. ..
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but actually i think that we are confronting our own dramatic battle right now. our own has come to call. in this country that we are so proud of, 45% of our children are now being raised in homes that are termed poor or near poor. 45%. 45% of our kids are largely being excluded from the power of books and the results of this failure are unmistakable. 80% of fourth graders from low income families read below proficiency. and for those of you that favor an economic angle, mckinsey & co. has recorded that our failure to elevate education for
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children in need results in the economic equivalent of a permanent recession. so this is a lot of bad news. and tonight i invite you to decide what our next chapter will look like. here we are all devoted to books we know that the crucial key is for this entire crisis. we know that books can breathe life into those classrooms and those afterschool programs. we know that they can change the life of a kid today and they can change the life trajectory for that china forever. so, i am here now to put this in
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hobbit terms to you because i know that's important to all of us. here we go. the giant spiders are heading our way. and we are all standing there together and we are holding the sword in our right hands and the whole story, the end of our story is waiting. it's hanging pinging there to see if the step up are we going to step up, so i'm calling on you tonight. i want you to dig down and find that, i want you to find your captain. i know that there are some out there. i know that there are some aberdeen out there. i want you to join the book because buck because there are great chapters to write together. thank you so much for tonight.
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[applause] ♪ >> i was very excited to hear that her book was getting an award of this evening. they are a tremendous organization. inspired, i actually started my own small effort offers free delivery of the last book you are going to read before you die. [laughter] this year it's the corrections by jonathan. [laughter] i have no idea what that joke means. i don't understand what it means. okay. next we have the medal for distinguished contribution to american letters which will be awarded to ursula. [applause] and presented by a friend of literature and a friend of mine and a man revered as a god he
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has won numerous awards including the national book award of the uk since the revolutionary war we've had a different national book awards. he's the author of many fine works including the graveyard book and the groundbreaking series. let's hope he's not going to use his british accent. please welcome mr. neel. ♪ >> i'm afraid tonight is definitely another phony british accent might. so, until today, until tonight i had only ever spoken to ursula once and it was more to the
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point she had only ever spoken to me once. it was about 21 years ago at a fantasy convention in the midwest and i got into an elevator and then ursula got into an elevator and she looked up at me and she said are there any room parties tonight you know of? [laughter] and i said i don't really know. and she said zero well. [laughter] and that was our conversation. which is very odd because ursula had been talking to me for at least the previous 22 years.
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i bought with my own money a copy of a book when i was 11 and i read it and i discovered from that book that's going to wizard school was the best thing that anybody could ever do. other people may well have read that and got their ideas from it i think. but she did it first. and i bought the rest of the books as they appeared and now i was completely hooked. i have been a favorite author richmond by the time i was 12 i was reading books like the left hand of darkness a glorious science-fiction novel set in a world in which people change gender and when your english and
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george was going both going on 13, the idea that gender could be fluid, but the king could have a baby and that it's not what you thought it was open your head and changes it. i read everything i could buy ursula. other writers i would copy this title. i would look at how they did it and try to copy it. ursula i couldn't figure out how she did it because her style was so clean, her words were so precise and well-chosen. so, i cheated and i found a essays because she actually
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written on the craft of writing for those of us who are interested and i was 21, 22 and i knew i wanted to write more than anything and i was interested. i learned from her the difference in their learned when to use the language of one and another and into another and i learned more than that. i could have just learned about language. but i learned about the way that we use language. to use the hackneyed phrase but a true one, she raised my consciousness. she would write about women's issues, write about the way that women wrote in a way that made me as a young writer starting out, and suddenly ask myself
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whenever a new character needed to come on was there any reason this character could be a woman and if there was no reason, then they were. life was easy. she made me a better writer and i think much more importantly, she made me a better person who wrote for her fiction but just as a writer of science fiction but a writer of the mainstream and a writer for adults and children with huge ideas and who can deal with people. she's all of these but as a giant of literature finally getting recognized i take enormous pleasure in awarding the 2014 medal for distinguished contribution to american letters
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to ursula le guin. [applause] ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪
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>> how is that is that okay? i seem to be shorter than most of these people. to the givers of this beautiful reward, my thanks for the hard. my family, my agents and editors know that my being here is their duty as the last line and that the award is theirs as much as nine. i rejoice in accepting it for and sharing it with all the writers who were excluded from the literature for so long. my fellow authors of fantasy and science fiction, writers of the
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imagination who for the last 50 years watched awards go. we want the voices of the writers that can see alternatives to how we live now and can see through our fear stricken society and its obsessive technologies to other ways of being and even imagined some groundwork of. we will need writers that can remember for freedom.
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the realists of the larger reality. right now the writers do know the difference of the market cannot be in the practice of an art. [applause] developing written material to suit the sales strategies in order to maximize worker to profit and advertising revenues is not quite the same thing as responsible publishing or authorship. [applause] thank you. [applause] yet i see the sales department given control over editorials. i see my own publishers in a silly panic of ignorance and
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greed charging public libraries for the e-books six or seven times more than they charge customers. the writers threatened by the corporate. they were accepting this wedding the commodity profiteers told what to publish and what to write. they are not just commodities. the profit motive is often in
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conflict with the aims of art. we live in capitalism. its cover seems inescapable. asserted that the fight right of kings. the racist intent to change often begins in art. and very often in our art of words. i'd had a i've had a long career and a good one. in good company. i really don't want to watch of american literature gets sold
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down the river. we live by writing and publishing. we want and deserve our fair share of the proceeds. the name in the profit is freedom. thank you. [applause] ♪ ♪ ♪
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she just walked up to the podium like it was nothing. unbelievable. [laughter] i decided a couple of weeks ago that i would go to my bookshelf and read read a little ursula le guin to come up with something to say and then the whole day slipped away from me and i read the delay of heaven for the 20th time. edward o.ursula le guin, that'si have to say. [applause] >> somewhat anti, to clean out, dinner is all i have to say. [laughter] gentiles enjoy your meal and a falluja who, falluja who is comparing about the fortunes of it. we will see you afterwards. we are getting to that part of the evening approaching something that a lot of us are excited about when we learn about the winners who among the finalists are going to be selected. there's a lot of discussion and a lot of debate. i found that there is a company
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that has built a complex algorithm that's true. how the winners are selected. so every year we flied the judges into new york. we made reservations at four different restaurants. we told them you can't get up from lunch if you have decided on a winter unless you have selected a winner and this is the way that we've done it after 65 years. i did hear him say once a couple
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of years ago we were concerned because i love this. they did figure this out and we did pick a winner and everything went fine today. so the winners were coming up in just a couple of minutes. before we announce the winners, a couple things. one, this is an evening that special because we have among us extraordinary writers. i want to recognize the writers in the room or some of the writers in the room. and i'd like to read you a few of the names and i would like to ask you to hold your applause until i'm done because it is an extraordinary list. we have 13 pivot surprise winners -- pulitzer prize winners. geraldine brooks, michael
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cunningham, tony horovitz, adam johnson, tom reese, david remnick, marilyn robinson,, species chef, art spiegelman, alan taylor, jonathan weiner and edward o. wilson. winners of the national book critics circle, robert pulido and francine gray. just waters, newberry winners of course neil, steve schengen, rebecca stead and jacqueline woodson. [applause] the prizewinner -- okay it's very exciting to your age prize winner and then finally the six winners of the national book awards, will alexander, edward, judy, of course ursula le guin. please join me in welcoming and recognizing these great writers. [applause]
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now i have have to thank a few people. okay. first i have to think amazon because that's one of the terms of my new vendor agreement with them. i actually do have to thank all of the financial supporters including amazon, barnes and noble, penguin random house, the book publishing macmillan, the foundation, google, harpercollins, perseus, deborah wiley and added to a charitable trust. [applause] please give them a hand. they made it possible for us to do this today. [applause] also a special thank you to the miami book fair really
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tremendous but they are doing for us. they've offered to fly all the national book award finalists down to miami after the events to participate and be featured at the miami book fair this weekend. so thank you to the great folks at the miami book fair. [applause] a few years ago when morgan who is over here, when morgan said we should have an after party for the national book awards, some people thought he was crazy into the first tier we said we were going to do if it was so popular it was oversubscribed. remember this i had to stand up here and i have to say the rumor is true. we have an after party, but i can't tell you where it is because it is oversubscribed. if you want to go you have to find morgan and see if you can get them to give you a ticket
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but we have made a lot of progress. we sorted out the logistics. the after parties here. it's upstairs and you're all invited. there's room for everybody. i want to thank the after party committee. it is kenneth, rachel, paul morris and jen martin. thank you to that committee and to the media for sponsoring the after party. let's give them a hand please. [applause] okay. i have have to thank the committee for what they've done. they've transformed this event in the last few years. a special thanks to morgan and who i saw over here before today, deborah needleman who is somewhere in the middle and deborah who is responsible for the beautiful art in the program
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arranging that with julie. thank you very much to the dinner community you've done an amazing job. and to the national book foundation amazing staff. they worked so hard and care so much. my fellow board members at the national book foundation who also worked hard on this and of course our executive director, thank you. now what we've been waiting for on behalf of the foundation, good luck to all the finalists. we are on to the award ceremony. thank you. [applause] ♪ >> thank you. that was by strange coincidence i was also reading about the
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algorithm that is predicting the winners of the national book awards according to what's going on on the internet and according to that the winner is pornography. now i would like to take a moment before hand. i'm actually going rogue this evening announcing them in order of importance. first at the first of his young people's literature. [applause] the author of the 30 award-winning books of adolescence.
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[applause] including copper sun which warned the threat of scott king award him a and a prized by hope someday to receive myself. that essential prince publishing joke. we will explain it to you later. she served as the national teacher of the year and has been honored in the white house six times, so between the two of us we've been honored at the white house six times. please welcome sharon draper. [applause] ♪ i love the feel of a book in my hand. i got the pleasure of reading 294 of them.
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we shared, we talked, we argued, we agreed. the winners are star in law dave and rebecca. [applause] i learned so much about writing and reading. i learned my goodness the people are good. as a reader, i cuddled with stacks of books over the summer. it was one of the most glorious
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post profitable experiences that i have ever had. and our committee, we liked each other, we emerged. we had a wonderful lunch. and when we made our decision and it was unanimous. the finalists for the young people's literature in the order that they gave them to me on this piece of paper is elliott. [applause] published by scholastic press. [applause]
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steve for port chicago 50, disaster, mutiny and the fight for civil rights published by roaring brook press. [applause] john cory. [applause] for noggin published by books for young readers. [applause] deborah wilds for revolution, the trilogy but number two published by scholastic press. jacqueline woodson. [applause]
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for brown girl dreaming published by nancy paulson books at thing when random house. [applause] this year's national book award for the young people's literature goes to jacqueline woodson. [applause] ♪ is attack
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♪ ♪ ♪ [cheering] >> i was complaining yesterday about how heavy the metal is. but the award is really heavy. i am so grateful to be here. some of you might know this is my third time being a finalist. and my first time being a winner.
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the [cheering] i want to thank the amazing committee, and the other finalists, i love how much love there is in the world of young adult and children's literature. and how much deep respect we have for each other and how much we know that the world wouldn't be complete without all of our stories. i want to thank my fabulous blended family also known as penguin random house. [cheering] and i want to thank my other family that is all here. yes i did pay to stock the audience of people that loved me to help me write the book and get through the writing of this
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and tell the story. and what i want to say is it's so important we talked to our old people before they become ancestors and get their stories. and those stories out into the world. i'm so grateful to my mother for being part of the great migration into getting me and my brother and sister who are here to new york city and i'm really grateful to my fabulous editor nancy paulson. i know you don't like when i say that you're a doctor. and our children and friends and to you thank you for your love of books and for changing the world. [applause]
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let that sink into your mind. i said you have to put that into a book and she said you put it in a book and i said i'm only writing a book about a black girl that's allergic to watermelon and if i get a book from you, cornell west, toni morrison and barack obama saying this guy is okay. moving right along to poetry there is some that you don't hear every day. at present the national book award is robert alito in addition to being a marvelous poet, he's written a reader's guide to james, the changing
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life because i needed. i changed three times and i can't get through it. he has edited and has biography of some of our toughest writers including david, jim thompson, which probably means he got to be the president of the poetry foundation with the help of organized crime. please refrain from talking during the movie as we welcome robert alito. ♪ >> thank you all. and at the outset, let me also thank leslie chapman of the national book foundation for all of their professionalism, thoughtfulness and focus. as t. s. eliot famous road, there is no competition.
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there is only the fight to recover what has been lost and found and lost again and again. although our five distinguished public finalists m-mike not at this precise and historical moment tonight. in the surprising consensus for the original cache of more than 200 titles to the long list of ten superlative books and ultimately to these finalists. it might have been too readily lost in the hard work of our operations. mainly this was a superb year for american poetry. our discussions --
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[applause] if we do say so ourselves, consistently smart and often funny, deeply serious, candidates gracious. and the vast spectrum of american life, aesthetic, social, political, cultural and biographical. it was vivid in the poem that we were reading my e-mail and telephone. he gives me great pleasure to note and think my panelists for the dedication and expertise and months of socialist labor. a group of poets and literary citizens. [applause] tv peterson, mr. ricardo phillips.
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the individually and collectively have the skillful poetry collections we reluctantly left behind at every stage including tonight. yet as we arrived at the poetry finalists, we find all of these five books geared at large even when about small moments that each found bold and original formal structures for shooting their various often daunting and intractable materials none of our books was founded in any way like any of our others that across the singularity they focus the shared wife. and all of the finalists as finalists as they look back to the great traditions and anti-traditions of american poetry ultimately moved to log and advanced to the great writing as as always all those traditions of anti-traditions into the inclinations of a surprising poetry future.
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the five finalists for the national book award in poetry are louise published by her artist ross and. fanny howe for second childhood published by great wolf press. maureen mclane published by her artist -- ferard strauss. claudia for citizen and american lyric published by gray wolf press. as marianne said during her acceptance speech for the 1952 national book award in poetry, i
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am aware of the luster that is shared by the recipients of the word upon those that follow. this year's national book award for poetry goes to louise glick. [applause] ♪ ♪ ♪ >> i didn't expect this.
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i'm astonished. my thanks to the judges, by thinks too for ferard strauss and who kept me sane before it wasn't for the same. i want to say this is a very difficult evening. it's very difficult to lose. i've lost many times commanded also is very difficult to win. it's not in my script. my work would exist without the work of the other finalists and
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my colleagues in poetry who have more times than i can say have moved me was the envy that becomes a gratitude. thank you, all of you. [applause] ♪ tremendous. that makes me happy. i myself think of the column whenever i try to get organized. the most night and the part that says it is a mistake to want clarity above all things, but
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especially one like this now so close to ending. on the other side it could be all the joy in the world, the stars fading, the streetlights becoming a bus stop. i'm very happy. okay. [applause] you don't have to be happy for me but i am. when i was offered this, some people said to me you were only hosting to promote your new novel we are pirates that will publish in february. [laughter] i said how in the world would they manage to do that while introducing alan taylor who will be presenting the national book award for nonfiction books he won the pulitzer prize of what we call the national book award for william cooper's town his book also won the pulitzer prize i was one that was one of last year's finalists presumably that
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is when they put him on to the committee. please welcome mr. alan taylor. ♪ thank you very much. harold recruited me last winter after the flush had worn off and he neglected to mention that there would be over 500 submissions in the nonfiction category. i was charmed to hear that there were 294. i like to read as much as the next person. [laughter] but once i blew past 450 bucks -- [laughter]
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herald also didn't mention what the extraordinary category nonfiction is in its range, memoirs, histories, sociology, philosophy, science and one work of graphic art and superb books. i wasn't fully aware of just how excellent each of these could be in all of these different categories. succumb it wasn't always how we would sort out to get to a different book. i had the help of an extraordinary committee. we all worked very hard on this and so i want to thank first robert. [applause]
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gretta erlich, tom reece, ruth simmons. [applause] and i also want to thank harold for his help with our committee and to chari young who served as a coordinator on the committee and did a wonderful job. [applause] now the five finalists for nonfiction for the national book award this year, first, roz chast for candidly talk about something more pleasant. [applause] second, anand gopal for no good
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men among the living america, the television and the war through afghan published by henry holt and company. and i should say that roz chast was published by bloomsbury. third, john larh for tennessee williams mad pilgrimage of the flesh published by ww norton & co.. fourth, evan osnos for age of ambition facing fortune and faith in the new china. [applause] published by farrar straus and
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giroux. and edward wilson for the meaning of existence published by what right, a division of ww norton & co.. [applause] and this year's national book award for nonfiction goes to evan osnos for "age of ambition." ♪ ♪ ♪
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♪ >> i have to tell you i am a man of hunches and i didn't have a hunch and before we left the hotel my wife said maybe you should have a hunch for a second. i think some people here may know that i'm from a family of the book. my parents are here, peter and susan osnos. my father is the founder of public affairs and if you go into the writing business and/or name is osnos, you feel a little bit like what george w. bush must feel like. [laughter] it is a fabulous sensation to be appear tonight and i can't thank the judges enough. i'm astonished. and i'm humbled by the honorees
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in the category. and i have to say especially to roz chast, whose work is beautiful and meaningful to me. [applause] i want to say a special thank you tonight to farrar straus and giroux fabulous publisher that signed onto this idea before it was a fully cooked idea, to jonathan and eric and two sireda , everything you've done for this book. and jennifer my agent, we started talking about a book when we were 19-years-old as sophomores in college and i think that we are off to a good start. at the new yorker which has been my professional home for the last six years, i'm enormously grateful to david and dorothy and pam carthy all of whom have read every syllable of details
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either spoken or written in some form or another and they gave me permission to try to write something meaningful. and to my wife who i met in china, she came expecting to be there for one year and stayed for seven. so i can finally say thank you for being in china with me for so long and for insisting that every word of the book be read out loud to you instead of reading it on the page. you've made it better. and finally, to the people in the pages of the book that about me into their lives in a way that is amazing. they live in a place that it's very dangerous to be honest and honorable and they've allowed me to write about them then and i tried to do them justice and i just enormously grateful for having had the opportunity. thank you. ♪
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>> i didn't think i would hear an author compared themselves to george w. bush on the podium this evening i must say. [laughter] and it's a strange coincidence because i think that we are all looking forward to the former president i said and very wise book on china. [laughter] speaking of which, fiction. [laughter] the national book award for fiction will be presented by geraldine brooks a former correspondent covering crisis in the balkans and middle east although who hasn't done that. she's the author of six books including march 18 on the women with whom the pulitzer prize you remember that, you read that one. please welcome one of the sharpest of my imaginary girlfriends, geraldine brooks.
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[applause] ♪ ♪ >> as daniel handler was kind to point out, it absolutely was a fun bunch. we bring you here war war war come epidemic, child abuse and dire homeless poverty. it reminds me of russell bang midway through his career over and a copy of "people" magazine to find this very succinct review of his latest book. another from banks. what we bring you here in these five outstanding finalists are no bombers at all. these are books about the x. of
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the ration of being a human being and about the amazing power of art to elevate our spirits. about the regaining power of faith and the overwhelming healing power of love. and even in the book you will laugh. i'm not going to complain about how many books we had to read. i'm just going to say that one of my fellow judges, the remarkable book from a head to go to her local skateboard shop and get elbow pads because she was wearing out the skin of her oboes lying on her chair in the summer reading her books. i had to get a handyman to come in and see if i needed to underpin my 18th century house screaming to see if i could sustain the number of books
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pressing on our floor. but it's a great privilege to read so many books and to see the richness of the writing that is happening in this country in a single here. we as a journey were struck by the short story collections as well as the absolute majesty of many of the novels that we read. the others, apart from cheryl, one of my fellow novelists, adam johnson and lily tuck and the critic and scholar, michael. [applause] the finalists to the national book award are rabih published by grove atlantic. anthony doer for all the light
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we cannot see. [applause] redeployment phil kley published by penguin press. emily st. zjohn manel published by knopff. marilyn robinson for lila published by farrar straus and giroux. and the winner of the national book award for fiction is redeployment. [applause] ♪
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♪ >> thank you. i know there is at least one marine in the audience. just two of us. i did not think that i would be here so i didn't write anything until this morning when my wife said did you write anything and she said you have to write something.
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so, i spent 13 months in iraq working with an exceptional group of marines, correspondence that trickled through in our province in the midst of the seemingly very violent struggle with al qaeda in iraq, the group that is now known as isis. i met marine truck drivers in specialists, iraq he police officers and so many civilians whose families had been caught in the crossfire. and i came back not knowing what to think. about so many things. what do you do when you're struggling to find the words to explain the father of a fallen marine, exactly what that marine and to you?
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what do you do when one of your fellow marines tells you he's been drinking too much, it's isolated college surrounded by 18-year-olds who he can't make sense of and can't make sense of him and when middle school students students that you are teaching ask if you've killed anyone and are horribly disappointed when you say no and strangers that insist on treating the u. must be psychologically damaged or friends of yours who do indeed have post traumatic stress find that they can't express their legitimate feelings of grief and rage about what has happened and continues to have an overseas and at home? ..actually have the answers to those questions. but the book was the only way i knew how to start thinking them through, not just because there is a rigor i


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