National Book Awards: Jesmyn Ward's 'Salvage The Bones' Wins






NEW YORK — The National Book Awards ceremony, held just blocks from the Occupy Wall Street protests, was a gilded tribute to the 99 percent.

Stories of resilience in the face of poverty, displacement and disappearance were awarded Wednesday night as hundreds of writers, editors, publishers and other industry officials gathered under the 70-foot ceilings of the luxury venue Cipriani Wall Street.

"I thought I should point out, since nobody else has," said poet Ann Lauterbach, who introduced honorary winner John Ashbery, "that we are occupying Wall Street."

Jesmyn Ward's "Salvage the Bones," a bleak but determined novel about a black community in Mississippi devastated by Hurricane Katrina, won the fiction prize. Ward's acceptance, the culmination of a night of emotional speeches and tributes to those who had been silenced, noted that the death of her younger brother had inspired her to become a writer. She realized that life was a "feeble, unpredictable thing," but that books were a testament of strength before a punishing world....




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