Ask The Editor

November 21, 2008

And the winner is…

Filed under: Commentary,News,The Publishing Biz — editorialconsultant @ 3:57 pm

The National Book Award winners were announced this week. Annette Gordon Reed won for her latest work on the Sally Hemings’ family. I haven’t yet read this one but her earlier work on the topic, THOMAS JEFFERSON AND SALLY HEMINGS, AN AMERICAN CONTROVERSY was fascinating. Winners and contenders include:

Peter Matthiessen won in the fiction category for Shadow Country. “I had a hard time,” he said in his acceptance speech, “persuading people that fiction was my natural thing, not nonfiction.” Alexander Hemon’s The Lazarus Project and Marilynne Robinson’s Home were front-runners. Salvatore Scibona’s The End, a debut novel published by independent publisher Graywolf Press, was also nominated. Gail Godwin presented the award.

In nonfiction, Annette Gordon Reed’s The Hemingses of Monticello took the award. Reed opened her acceptance speech saying that “today is my birthday.” Jane Meyer’s The Dark Side and Jim Sheeler’s Final Salute were also closely watched contenders. Author and editor of Washington Post Book World Marie Arana presented the award. She praised all the finalists for their “uncompromising commitment to truth.”


  1. Anita,
    I’m enjoying your blog.
    question for you: I see recent reports of bookstores and news satnds closing — but people will still read, I think, and not just on computer screens. how do you see the future of brick and mortar stores that sell reading material?

    Comment by Kerry Dexter — November 21, 2008 @ 9:29 pm | Reply

  2. Kerry, I hope that bookstores find a way to continue on but they’ve been under pressure for years. The economic downturn is just the latest of so many blows. What we readers, writers and editors can do to help is make the extra effort to go to the bookstore, browse the shelves, and buy there, instead of clicking on an Amazon link.

    I suspect bookstores will do better than electronics stores this holiday simply because books are so inexpensive, compared to other possible gifts. But, long-term? A good number are going to be gone in the next few years, I fear.

    Comment by editorialconsultant — November 21, 2008 @ 10:01 pm | Reply

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