National Book Award Winners Include Johnson, Coates

Andrew AlbaneseJohnson, Coates, Lewis, and Shusterman. You’re forgiven for mistaking them as a white-shoe law firm representing authors or publishers in yet another high-stake copyright infringement case.

Indeed, novelist Adam Johnson, journalist Ta-Nehisi Coates, poet Robin Coste Lewis and young adult author Neal Shusterman are all winners for 2015 of the National Book Awards.

“I’ve mentioned more than a few times on this show how I thought Coates would win the nonfiction award hands down for Between the World and Me. The book tells the story of Coates’s friend Prince Jones who was killed by a police officer, and is in the form of a letter to Coates’ young son,” reports Andrew Albanese, Publishers Weekly senior writer. “Obviously, it was a timely book and an important one for America in the aftermath of Ferguson and Baltimore.

“Adam Johnson received the Fiction award for Fortune Smiles, a collection of stories, and it is very rare for collections to win the top prize,” Albanese tells CCC’s Chris Kenneally. “Johnson is a highly respected author, of course; he won the Pulitzer Prize in 2013 for The Orphan Master’s Son, and was shortlisted for pretty much every other prize that year. But almost everyone I’ve spoken to did not expect Johnson to walk away with the NBA, mostly because it is short fiction.”

Every Friday, CCC’s “Beyond the Book” speaks with the editors and reporters of “Publishers Weekly” for an early look at the news that publishers, editors, authors, agents and librarians will be talking about when they return to work on Monday.

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