On November 20, the National Book Foundation feted six diverse winners for its 70th annual National Book Awards.
Novelist Susan Choi, the daughter of a Korean father and a Russian-Jewish mother won the fiction prize for her fifth book, “Trust Exercise,” a narratively-inventive, #MeToo-informed story about a performing arts high school in the 1980s.
The top prize in nonfiction went to Sarah M. Broom, for her lyrical memoir “The Yellow House,” about her coming of age in a large, black family in New Orleans. In her acceptance speech, Broom thanked her mother, Ivory Mae, who raised her and her 11 siblings in the foundering titular home.
For work in translation, Hungarian author László Krasznahorkai, who is of Jewish descent, shared an award with his translator Ottilie Mulzet, for “Baron Wenckheim’s Homecoming.”The pair previously won the award in 2014 for “Seiobo There Below.”
Martin W. Sandler was a rare non-fiction winner for the award for Young People’s Literature for his book “1919: The Year That Changed America,” about the Woodrow Wilson-era age of prohibition, the labor movement and strides in women’s suffrage. Chinese American writer and translator Arthur Sze won for Poetry for his tenth book of poems, “Sight Lines.”
PJ Grisar is the Forward’s culture fellow. He can be reached at Grisar@Forward.com.