The 2017 National Book Awards
Benway, Bidart, Gessen,
and Ward win, and
Robinson and Proulx
At the 68th National Book Awards, held at Cipriani Wall Street in Lower Manhattan on November
15, politics was again front and center in
the publishing world, as books about
queerness, racism, and Russia took home
the night’s top awards.
Award-winning actress Cynthia
Nixon, of Sex and the City fame, served as
emcee for the evening. The granddaughter of a rare book dealer, she made
a connection between love for books and
caring about each other.
“I grew up playing between the
stacks—the sight, the intoxicating
musty smell,” she said. “It is important
to me now, as I’m sure it’s important to
all of you, that we perpetuate a culture
that celebrates books and the worlds of
culture they open to us.”
Before dinner, former president Bill
Clinton introduced Scholastic president
and CEO Dick Robinson, the recipient
of the 2017 Literarian Award for
Outstanding Service to the Literary
Community. Actress Anne Hathaway, a
member of the cast of the Hollywood
adaptation of Annie Proulx’s story
“Brokeback Mountain,” then presented
the Medal for Distinguished
Contributions to American Letters to
Following dinner, Nixon was back on
stage, noting that, this year, 15 of the 20
finalists were women. She then introduced young people’s literature panel
From l.: 2017
(young people’s lit),
Young people’s literature winner Robin Benway (l.)
with Kristen Pettit, her editor at Harper Teen.
Scholastic president Dick Robinson accepts the
Literarian Award for Outstanding Service to the
American Literary Community.
Poetry winner Frank Bidart (r.) with
his editor, FSG president and
publisher Jonathan Galassi.
Jesmyn Ward accepts the fiction
award for Sing, Unburied, Sing.