‘Interior Chinatown’ Novel, Malcolm X Bio Wins National Book Awards

NEW YORK – Charles Yu’s “Interior Chinatown,” a satirical, cinematic novel written as a screenplay, has won the National Book Award for fiction.

The Malcolm X biography of Tamara Payne and her father the late Les Payne, “The Dead Are Arising”, was cited for non-fiction, and the “King and the Dragonflys” of the Kakan calendar for young people’s literature Was. The poetry award went to Don Mee Choi’s “DMZ Colony” and the winner for best translated work was Yu Miri’s “Tokyo Ueno Station”, which was translated by Japanese Morgan Giles.

On Wednesday night, honorary medals were awarded to mystic novelist Walter Mosley and the late CEO of Simon & Schuster, Carolyn Riddy, who died in May at the age of 71. The current American youth ambassador served as Racee for children’s author and young adult Jason Reynolds. And Simon & Schuster along with Bob Woodward and Walter Isakson were among the writers who paid a tribute to Ready.

Due to the epidemic, one of the publication’s most high-profile celebrations was streamed online, with presenters and winners speaking everywhere from New York to Japan. The traditional dinner ceremony is the nonprofit National Book Foundation’s most important source of income and is usually held in Cipriani Wall Street, where publishers and other officials pay thousands of dollars for tables or individual seats. Instead the foundation is asking for donations of $ 50 or more. As of Wednesday evening, more than $ 490,000 had been pledged from 851 donors.

“It is difficult in an epidemic. We were afraid that we would not be able to do the show, ”said Lisa Lucas, executive director of the foundation, speaking online from the children’s room at the Los Angeles Public Library. Executive director since 2016, she will depart at the end of the year for the impressions of Penguin Random House Pantheon and Shocken. His successor has not been announced.

With epidemics and presidential elections, diversity has been a constant theme in the book world this year and on Wednesday night, Lucas urges publishers to work to transform themselves into a historically white industry for winners.

Yu’s novel is a reconciliation between Chinese stereotypes and the desire to assimilate the struggle of immigrants and their actual assimilation. “DMZ Colony” combines poetry, prose and images in search of history between the United States and South Korea. Mosley, the first black person to win a medal for distinguished contributions to American Letters, spoke of his debt to literary heroes such as Ismail Reid, John Edgar Wiedman and Ralph Ellison.

The award for “The Dead Are Arising” is the second time in a decade that a Malcolm X biography has received a high honor for nonfiction and the second time the honor was, at least in part, posthumous. Scholar Manning Marbel died just before the 2011 publication of “Malcolm X”, which went on to win the Pulitzer Prize and received a National Book Award nomination. Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Les Payne died in 2018.

“It is such a big moment,” Tamara Payne said on Wednesday night accepting the award. “I really wish my father was here for this.”

Some references were made to the recent election, though politics helped inspire Yu, whose previous books included the story collections “Third Class Superheroes” and “Sorry Please Thank You.” He had clashed with “Interior Chinatown”, wondering if he had a reason to tell an immigration story until Donald Trump’s surprise victory in 2016.

Yu told the Associated Press in a recent interview, “Earlier, I felt that this is not the real reason for this happening.” “It seemed that the reference to things in the past like the Chinese Exclusion Act (a racist law passed in 1882) had relevance. I started thinking, ‘It still matters. It’s a story you should try to tell.’ “

The winner in each of the competitive categories receives $ 10,000, and the other finalists receive $ 1,000, with the best translated book divided equally between author and translator. Roxen Gay, Rebecca Makkai and Dinw Mengstu were among the publishing community’s authors, booksellers and others who selected finalists from over 1,600 books as award winners – many of them digitally read due to the epidemic.

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