Books Honored by the National Book Awards

National Book Award Medals

The mission of the National Book Foundation and the National Book Awards is to celebrate the best of American literature, to expand its audience, and to enhance the cultural value of great writing in America. Since 1996, independent panels of five writers have chosen the National Book Award winners in four categories: Fiction, Nonfiction, Poetry, and Young People’s Literature.

The first African-American writer to win a National Book Award was Ralph Ellison for Invisible Man.

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2 Books Honored by the National Book Awards in 1998

Finalist - Fiction

The Healing
by Gayl Jones




Publication Date:
List Price: $23.00 (store prices may vary)
Format: Paperback
Classification: Fiction
Page Count: x304
ISBN13: 9780807063255
Imprint: Beacon Press
Publisher: Beacon Press
Parent Company: Unitarian Universalist Association

Book Description: 
Gayl Jones’s special gift is to shape experience and make it seem unshaped. -John Alfred Avant, The New Republic

Gayl Jones’s first novel, Corregidora, won her recognition as a writer whose work was gripping, subtle, and sure. It was praised, along with her second novel, Eva’s Man, by writers and critics from all over the nation: John Updike, Maya Angelou, John Edgar Wideman, and James Baldwin, to name a few. The publication of The Healing, her first novel in over twenty years, is a literary event.

Harlan Jane Eagleton is a faith healer, traveling by bus to small towns, converting skeptics, restoring minds and bodies. But before that she was a minor rock star’s manager, and before that a beautician. She’s had a fling with her rock star’s ex-husband and an Afro-German horse dealer; along the way she’s somehow lost her own husband, a medical anthropologist now traveling with a medicine woman in Africa. Harlan tells her story from the end backwards, drawing us constantly deeper into her world and the mystery at the heart of her tale-the story of her first healing.

The Healing is a lyrical and at times humorous exploration of the struggle to let go of pain, anger, and even love. Slipping seamlessly back through Harlan’s memories in a language rich with the textured cadences of the black Southerner, Gayl Jones weaves her story to its dramatic-and unexpected-beginning.

Finalist - Poetry

From The Devotions: Poems
by Carl Phillips




Publication Date:
List Price: $12.95 (store prices may vary)
Format: Paperback
Classification: Poetry
Page Count: x82
ISBN13: 9781555972639
Imprint: Graywolf Press
Publisher: Graywolf Press
Parent Company: Graywolf Press

Book Description: 
With From the Devotions, Carl Phillips takes us even further into that dangerous space he has already made his own, where body and soul—ever restless—come explosively together. Speaking to a balance between decorum and pain, he offers here a devotional poetry that argues for faith, even without the comforting gods or the organized structures of revealed truth. Neither sage nor saint nor prophet, the poet is the listener, the mourner, the one who has some access to the maddening quarters of human consciousness, the wry Sibyl. From the Devotions is deeply felt, highly intelligent, and unsentimental, and cements Phillips’s reputation as a poet of enormous talent and depth.