Jei Essay Contest 2015 Winners Of National Book

2015 National Book Awards

the 2015 National Book Awards Winners announced:

The 2015 National Book Awards Ceremony

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> Follow the evening on Twitter, #nbawards.



Adam Johnson, Fortune Smiles: Stories (Random House)



fiction JUDGES

Daniel Alarcón, Jeffery RenardAllen, Sarah Bagby, Laura Lippman, David L. Ulin




Ta-Nehisi Coates, Between the World and Me (Spiegel & Grau/Penguin Random House)
- Interview >




Nonfiction JUDGES

Diane Ackerman, Patricia Hill Collins, John D'Agata, Paul Holdengräber, Adrienne Mayor



Robin Coste Lewis, Voyage of the Sable Venus (Alfred A. Knopf)
- Interview >




Sherman Alexie, Willie Perdomo, Katha Pollitt, Tim Seibles, Jan Weissmiller


Young People's Literature


Neal Shusterman, Challenger Deep (HarperCollins Children's Books)
- Interview >



  • Becky Albertalli, Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda (Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins Children's Books)

  • M.T. Anderson, Symphony for the City of the Dead: Dmitri Shostakovich and the Siege of Leningrad (Candlewick Press)

  • Rae Carson, Walk on Earth a Stranger (Greenwillow/HarperCollins Children's Books)

  • Gary Paulsen, This Side of Wild: Mutts, Mares, and Laughing Dinosaurs (Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing)

  • Ilyasah Shabazz, with Kekla Magoon, X: A Novel (Candlewick Press)

Young People's Literature JUDGES

John Joseph Adams, Teri Lesesne, Laura McNeal, G. Neri, Eliot Schrefer


"What surprised you while writing your book?"

The Foundation conducted micro-interviews with the 2015 National Book Award Longlist honorees, asking, "In the process of writing your book, what did you discover, what, if anything, surprised you?" Here are some of their responses:

Jesse Ball

A Cure for Suicide

 I wanted the book to be full of sadness, but also joy. I suppose I can be said to be amazed by the way those two quantities intertwine. It is too much to ask for, but when it comes we can be glad. Read more

Karen Bender

Refund: Stories

 As a writer, what surprised me in the process of writing Refund is what surprises and thrills me, always, when writing fiction—how private and secret perceptions and thoughts can, when expressed, reach out and resonate in the thoughts of readers, I was surprised and happy, for example, when readers responded to the portrayal of family separation in "The Visit," or when they appreciated the mother in "The Third Child." The great goal of fiction, of this beautiful lie, is to understand and be understood.Read more

Angela Flournoy

The Turner House

 When I first learned about Black Bottom and Paradise Valley, neighborhoods that no longer exist in Detroit that were home to black migrants from the south, I was unsure about addressing this history in my novel. I feared it was a diversion, that I'd spend months researching and it wouldn't make sense to include this information anywhere in the novel. Ultimately, I couldn't resist jumping down that research rabbit hole, and all the others that came after it. Now I think that pursuing the unknown or difficult elements of a story is my favorite part of being a writer. Read more

Adam Johnson

Fortune Smiles: Stories

 Because I research a lot, the surprising joy of discovery is always central to my writing. I love to fashion entire worlds in my stories—these I try to adorn with details gleaned from the real world and the emotions of life lived. Read more

Hanya Yanagihara

A Little Life

 One of the less-discussed perks (if one could call it that) of writing fiction is that affords you a perfectly good excuse to ask people all sorts of nosy questions about their jobs. [...] I was surprised, again and again, by my interviewees' passion and eloquence and generosity, and fascinated by their descriptions of the various micro-societies in which they spent their working lives. Read more

Nell Zink


 It was how many things I got right. [...] Which is SCARY, because I was born in 1964, the last year of the baby boom. That means most white Southerners are older than I am and grew up in a world where you could go for weeks and not see a black person, and that's what they told me when I asked them. Segregation totally worked. My recollections of the various legal stratagems used to dispossess black landowners were all too true. Read more

Ta-Nehisi Coates

Between the World and Me

 I discovered how hard it was to make the abstract into the something visceral. My goal was to take numbers and stats and make people feel them with actual stories. It was to take scholarship and make it literature.Read more

Martha Hodes

Mourning Lincoln

 Almost everything surprised me, starting with such a diverse array of personal responses to Lincoln’s assassination. Of course I expected to find an outpouring of grief, but I didn’t expect to find such unmitigated fury among Lincoln’s mourners. Nor did I expect that so many mourners would blame the assassination squarely on the institution of slavery.Read more

Sy Montgomery

The Soul of an Octopus

 In the process of writing this book, I was surprised at every turn: that octopuses taste with their skin. That most of their neurons are not in the brains, but in their arms. [...] But what surprised me most was that a creature so unlike us was clearly capable of forming bonds with humans, and that my relationships with each individual octopus changed forever the way I understand what it means to think, to feel and to know.Read more

Tracy K. Smith

Ordinary Light

 What did I discover? That many of the questions that are alive and felt--but often unspoken--in a poem suddenly, because I was working in prose, demanded to be explicitly addressed on the page, before the reader's eyes. [...] In unraveling those questions, I was surprised to discover just how much I wanted to talk about race, and how much anxiety still characterized my relationship to the faith I grew up in. Those themes surprised me, but once I submitted to them, they became some of the story's central concerns.Read more

Ross Gay

Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude

 I was surprised again and again in the writing of this book—poem by poem I was surprised with all these strange and weird arrivals, these little events or moments that I never ever would have predicted. That's part of the delight, for me, of writing poems. Read more

Amy Gerstler

Scattered at Sea

 Surprise in writing refreshes the brain, makes novel ways of thinking and feeling possible. In this book, within individual poems, what felt like hairpin turns I hadn't seen coming sometimes took me aback, as did voices that popped up seemingly out of nowhere, or unanticipated emotions...emotions that sometimes ran counter to the ones I'd planned for the poem to traffic in.Read more

Marilyn Hacker

A Stranger's Mirror

 A surprise more after writing the book than during its writing: there are several poems directly or indirectly about Syrian exiles and refugees… At the time I wrote the poems, I knew several Syrian political refugees, but their situation was not a subject of general public discourse in Europe and the United States. Now, unfortunately—with half a country's population fleeing carnage and seeking refuge—it is. Read more

Jane Hirshfield

The Beauty

 Every poem surprises me. If it doesn’t, it’s not yet a poem. If it doesn’t have to, it doesn’t need to be a poem. [...] My muse wants to investigate the full kaleidoscope of a human life. But I never have any idea of how that will happen. The poem itself tells me. That’s where the surprise lives. Read more

Ada Limón

Bright Dead Things

 What surprised me the most during this process was how difficult it was to write about happiness. Finding a language for joy was intensely hard. It was easier to go into the pitch-black caves, to plummet into the colder, harder core of the self, than to risk admitting that there is pleasure in this life, that being alive in and of itself is an ecstatic thing. Read more

Patrick Phillips

Elegy for a Broken Machine

 One of the things that surprised me as I worked on the book was how often poems about the failing body wanted to also be about youth: about my father and my father-in-law in their primes... young, strong, and beautiful. So that was another discovery: that the elegy is made of lament and praise. Lament for the lost king, and praise for the kingdom he once was. Read more

Rowan Ricardo Phillips


 What surprised me was how much [writing in the Colorado mountains] reminded me of a city and how much, as a writer born in the city, I found more and more of myself in that natural world, how estranging and yet familiar it felt, and how there was nothing I wanted to do but read and write and look out onto that world because I knew I was witnessing a part of heaven and the refusal of heaven and I was fortunate and enhanced to hear it talk back to me. Read more

Lawrence Raab

Mistaking Each Other for Ghosts

 I had no idea where I was going when I wrote “A Cup of Water Turns itself into a Rose.” For quite a while I’d wanted to write a long poem. I pillaged my notebooks and my abandoned work for passages that might press me further. I just wrote things down, forbidding myself from reading what I wrote for several days, so I could be surprised into writing more. [...] It’s my favorite poem of all my poems, in part because its composition was an unfolding act of surprise, then discovery, then pleasure. Read more

M.T. Anderson

Symphony for the City of the Dead

 I discovered a whole new world while writing this book—which is why it took so many years to finish. ...I had no idea how the Russians see World War II, and how different their experience of the war was from Western Europe's. They talk not about the Second World War, but about the "Great Patriotic War," and it starts for them not in 1939, but in 1941. Around half the total casualties in what we call WWII were Soviet citizens. [...] Seventy thousand Soviet cities, towns, and villages were wiped completely off the map. We need to understand the depth of that historic sacrifice if we're ever going to understand modern Russia and its people. Read more

Rae Carson

Walk on Earth a Stranger

 My protagonist, Lee, dresses as a boy for much of the book. When I began writing, I expected she'd be tarred and feathered and chased off with pitchforks if she were ever discovered. It was the Victorian era, after all. I was surprised to discover this couldn't be further from the truth. Necessity breeds solution, as they say, and hardships along the trail forced pioneers to embrace extreme pragmatism about gender roles. Read more

Steve Sheinkin

Most Dangerous: Daniel Ellsberg and the Secret History of the Vietnam War

 In researching the Vietnam War and the Pentagon Papers I learned about an incident I think is truly shocking, even in the context of a story full of secrets and lies. With the 1968 election approaching, Richard Nixon, the Republican nominee, successfully undermined peace talks aimed at ending the war. Just days before the election, the talks were finally making progress, and Nixon feared a peace deal would rob him of his best issue – the Democrats’ failure in Vietnam. So Nixon secretly urged the president of South Vietnam to refuse to go to Paris for talks, promising that, if elected, he’d be a better friend to the South than Democrats had been. It worked – and the talks stalled again. And the most incredible part was that Lyndon Johnson knew all about it, thanks to wiretaps and intercepted cables! Read more



    New York, NY (August 25, 2015) The National Book Foundation, presenter of the National Book Awards, will partner with The New Yorker to exclusively reveal this year’s National Book Awards Longlists, ten books each in the categories of Young People's Literature, Poetry, Nonfiction, and Fiction, selected by four panels of expert judges independent of the Foundation and The New Yorker.

    “We are very pleased to be working with the National Book Foundation to highlight some of the best writing in America this year,” said New Yorker editor David Remnick. “Great writing is a hallmark of both institutions.”

    The Longlist announcements will be revealed on

    • Young People's Literature on Monday, September 14th at 9 a.m. (EDT)

    • Poetry on Tuesday, September 15th at 9 a.m.

    • Nonfiction on Wednesday, September 16th at 9 a.m.

    • Fiction on Thursday, September 17th at 9 a.m.

    Previous Longlist announcements were made in partnership with The Daily Beast and The New York Times.

    The New Yorker and the National Book Awards are natural partners,” said the Foundation’s chairman, David Steinberger, CEO of Perseus Books Group. “This collaboration affords us a wonderful opportunity to acknowledge the long, fruitful relationship between New Yorker writers and the Awards.”

    While this is the first time the National Book Awards and TheNew Yorker have formally partnered, there is a long history of New Yorker writers being recognized by the National Book Foundation. The past three Winners of the Award in Nonfiction, Katherine Boo, George Packer, and Evan Osnos, for example, are all known for their work in TheNew Yorker.

    The National Book Award Finalists will be announced on October 14th; Winners will be announced at a gala dinner and ceremony in New York on November 18th. For more information on the Awards and a list of this year’s judges, visit

    * * *

    The National Book Foundation's mission is to celebrate the best of American literature, to expand its audience, and to enhance the cultural value of good writing in America. In addition to the National Book Awards, for which it is best known, the Foundation's programs include 5 Under 35, a celebration of emerging fiction writers selected by former National Book Award Finalists and Winners; the National Book Awards Teen Press Conference, an opportunity for New York City students to interview the current National Book Award Finalists in Young People's Literature; NBA on Campus, a partnership that brings National Book Award authors to colleges across the country; the Innovations in Reading Prize, awarded to individuals and institutions that have developed innovative means of creating and sustaining a lifelong love of reading; and BookUp, a writer-led, after-school reading program for middle-school students.

    The National Book Award is one of the nation's most prestigious literary prizes and has a stellar record of identifying and rewarding quality writing. In 1950, William Carlos Williams was the first Winner in Poetry, the following year William Faulkner was honored in Fiction, and so on through the years.  Many previous Winners of the National Book Award are now firmly established in the canon of American literature, such as Sherman Alexie, Louise Erdrich, Jonathan Franzen, Denis Johnson, Joyce Carol Oates, and Adrienne Rich.

    The New Yorkeris a national weekly magazine that offers a signature mix of reporting and commentary on politics, foreign affairs, business, technology, popular culture, and the arts, along with humor, fiction, poetry, and cartoons. Founded in 1925, The New Yorker publishes the best writers of its time and has received more National Magazine Awards than any other magazine, for its groundbreaking reporting, authoritative analysis, and creative inspiration. The New Yorker takes readers beyond the weekly print magazine with the web, mobile, tablet, social media, and signature events.

    Arts and Letters (Nonfiction)
    1964: John Keats: The Making of a Poet by Aileen Ward
    1965: Oysters of Locmariaquer by Eleanor Clark
    1966: Paris Journal, 1944-1965 by Janet Flanner
    1967: Mr. Clemens and Mark Twain: A Biography by Justin Kaplan
    1968: Selected Essays by William Troy
    1969: The Armies of the Night: History as a Novel, the Novel as History by Norman Mailer
    1970: An Unfinished Woman: A Memoir by Lillian Hellman
    1971: Cocteau: A Biography by Francis Steegmuller
    1972: The Classical Style: Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven by Charles Rosen
    1973: Diderot by Arthur M. Wilson
    1974: Deeper into the Movies by Pauline Kael
    1975: Marcel Proust by Roger Shattuck;
    The Lives of a Cell: Notes of a Biology Watcher by Lewis Thomas
    1976: The Great War and Modern Memory by Paul Fussell

    Autobiography (Hardcover)
    1980: Lauren Bacall: By Myself by Lauren Bacall

    Autobiography (Paperback)
    1980: And I Worked at the Writer's Trade: Chapters of Literary History 1918-1978 by Malcolm Cowley

    Autobiography/Biography (Hardcover)
    1981: Walt Whitman by Justin Kaplan
    1982: Mornings on Horseback by David McCullough
    1983: Isak Dinesen: The Life of a Storyteller by Judith Thurman

    Autobiography/Biography (Paperback)
    1981: Samuel Beckett by Deirdre Bair
    1982: Walter Lippmann and the American Century by Ronald Steel
    1983: Nathaniel Hawthorne in His Times by James R. Mellow

    1972: Eleanor and Franklin: The Story of Their Relationship, Based on Eleanor Roosevelt's Private Papers by Joseph P. Lash
    1973: George Washington, Vol. IV: Anguish and Farewell, 1793-1799 by James Thomas Flexner
    1974: Macaulay: The Shaping of the Historian by John Clive
    Malcolm Lowry: A Biography by Douglas Day
    1975: The Life of Emily Dickinson by Richard B. Sewall

    Biography (Hardcover)
    1980: The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt by Edmund Morris

    Biography (Paperback)
    1980: Max Perkins: Editor of Genius by A. Scott Berg

    Biography and Autobiography
    1977: Norman Thomas: The Last Idealist by W. A. Swanberg
    1978: Samuel Johnson by W. Jackson Bate
    1979: Robert Kennedy and His Times by Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr.

    Book Illustration (Original Art)
    1982:Jumanji by Chris Van Allsburg

    Children’s Books
    1969: Journey from Peppermint Street by Meindert DeJong
    1970: A Day of Pleasure: Stories of a Boy Growing Up in Warsaw by Isaac Bashevis Singer
    1971: The Marvelous Misadventures of Sebastian by Lloyd Alexander
    1972: The Slightly Irregular Fire Engine or The Hithering Thithering Djinn by Donald Barthelme
    1973: The Farthest Shore by Ursula K. LeGuin
    1974: The Court of the Stone Children by Eleanor Cameron
    1975: M.C. Higgins the Great by Virginia Hamilton
    1976: Bert Breen's Barn by Walter D. Edmonds
    1977: The Master Puppeteer by Katherine Paterson
    1978: The View From the Oak by Judith Kohl & Herbert Kohl
    1979: The Great Gilly Hopkins by Katherine Paterson

    Children’s Books (Hardcover)
    1980: A Gathering of Days: A New England Girl's Journal by Joan W. Blos

    Children’s Books (Paperback)
    1980: A Swiftly Tilting Planet by Madeleine L'Engle

    Children’s Books (Fiction, Hardcover)
    1981: The Night Swimmers by Betsy Byars
    1982: Westmark by Lloyd Alexander
    1983: Homesick: My Own Story by Jean Fritz

    Children’s Books (Fiction, Paperback)
    1981: Ramona and Her Mother by Beverly Cleary
    1982: Words by Heart by Ouida Sebestyen
    1983: A Place Apart by Paula Fox
    Marked by Fire by Joyce Carol Thomas

    Children’s Books (Nonfiction)
    1982: A Penguin Year by Susan Bonners
    1983: Chimney Sweeps by James Cross Giblin

    Children’s Books (Nonfiction, Hardcover)
    1981: Oh, Boy! Babies! by Alison Cragin Herzig & Jane Lawrence Mali

    Children’s Books (Picture Books, Hardcover)
    1982: Outside Over There by Maurice Sendak
    1983: Miss Rumphius by Barbara Cooney
    Doctor De Soto by William Steig

    Children’s Books (Picture Books, Paperback)
    1982: Noah's Ark by Peter Spier
    1983: A House Is a House for Me by Mary Ann Hoberman & Betty Fraser, ill.

    Contemporary Affairs
    1972: The Last Whole Earth Catalogue by Stewart Brand, ed.
    1973: Fire in the Lake: The Vietnamese and the Americans in Vietnam by Frances FitzGerald
    1974: The Briar Patch by Murray Kempton
    1975: All God's Dangers: The Life of Nate Shaw by Theodore Rosengarten
    1976: Passage to Ararat by Michael J. Arlen

    Contemporary Thought
    1977: The Uses of Enchantment: The Meaning and Importance of Fairy Tales by Bruno Bettelheim
    1978: Winners & Losers by Gloria Emerson
    1979: The Snow Leopard by Peter Matthiessen

    Current Interest (Hardcover)
    1980: Julia Child and More Company by Julia Child

    Current Interest (Paperback)
    1980: The Culture of Narcissism by Christopher Lasch

    1950: The Man With The Golden Arm by Nelson Algren
    1951: The Collected Stories of William Faulkner by William Faulkner
    1952: From Here to Eternity by James Jones
    1953: Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison
    1954: The Adventures of Augie March by Saul Bellow
    1955: A Fable by William Faulkner
    1956: Ten North Frederick by John O'Hara
    1957: The Field of Vision by Wright Morris
    1958: The Wapshot Chronicle by John Cheever
    1959: The Magic Barrel by Bernard Malamud
    1960: Goodbye, Columbus by Philip Roth
    1961: The Waters of Kronos by Conrad Richter
    1962: The Moviegoer by Walker Percy
    1963: Morte D'Urban by J.F. Powers
    1964: The Centaur by John Updike
    1965: Herzog by Saul Bellow
    1966: The Collected Stories of Katherine Anne Porter by Katherine Anne Porter
    1967: The Fixer by Bernard Malamud
    1968: The Eighth Day by Thornton Wilder
    1969: Steps by Jerzy Kosinski
    1970: Them by Joyce Carol Oates
    1971: Mr. Sammler's Planet by Saul Bellow
    1972: The Complete Stories of Flannery O'Connor by Flannery O'Connor
    1973: Chimera by John Barth
    Augustus by John Williams
    1974: Gravity's Rainbow by Thomas Pynchon
    A Crown of Feathers and Other Stories by Isaac Bashevis Singer
    1975: Dog Soldiers by Robert Stone
    The Hair of Harold Roux by Thomas Williams
    1976: JR by William Gaddis
    1977: The Spectator Bird by Wallace Stegner
    1978: Blood Tie by Mary Lee Settle
    1979: Going After Cacciato by Tim O'Brien

    1984: Victory over Japan: A Book of Stories by Ellen Gilchrist
    1985: White Noise by Don DeLillo
    1986: World's Fair by E. L. Doctorow
    1987: Paco's Story by Larry Heinemann
    1988: Paris Trout by Pete Dexter
    1989: Spartina by John Casey
    1990: Middle Passage by Charles Johnson
    1991: Mating by Norman Rush
    1992: All the Pretty Horses by Cormac McCarthy
    1993: The Shipping News by E. Annie Proulx
    1994: A Frolic of His Own by William Gaddis
    1995: Sabbath's Theater by Philip Roth
    1996: Ship Fever and Other Stories by Andrea Barrett
    1997: Cold Mountain by Charles Frazier
    1998: Charming Billy by Alice McDermott
    1999: Waiting by Ha Jin
    2000: In America by Susan Sontag
    2001: The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen
    2002: Three Junes by Julia Glass
    2003: The Great Fire by Shirley Hazzard
    2004: The News from Paraguay by Lily Tuck
    2005: Europe Central by William T. Vollmann
    2006: The Echo Maker by Richard Powers
    2007: Tree of Smoke by Denis Johnson
    2008: Shadow Country by Peter Matthiessen
    2009: Let the Great World Spin by Colum McCann
    2010: Lord of Misrule by Jaimy Gordon
    2011: Salvage the Bones by Jesmyn Ward
    2012: The Round House by Louise Erdrich
    2013: The Good Lord Bird by James McBride
    2014: Redeployment by Phil Klay
    2015: Fortune Smiles: Stories by Adam Johnson

    Fiction (Hardcover)
    1980: Sophie's Choice by William Styron
    1981: Plains Song by Wright Morris
    1982: Rabbit is Rich by John Updike
    1983: The Color Purple by Alice Walker

    Fiction (Paperback)
    1980: The World According to Garp by John Irving
    1981: The Stories of John Cheever by John Cheever
    1982: So Long, See You Tomorrow by William Maxwell
    1983: Collected Stories of Eudora Welty by Eudora Welty

    First Novel
    1980: Birdy by William Wharton
    1981: Sister Wolf by Ann Arensberg
    1982: Dale Loves Sophie to Death by Robb Forman Dew
    1983: The Women of Brewster Place by Gloria Naylor

    First Work of Fiction
    1984: Stones for Ibarra by Harriet Doerr
    1985: Easy in the Islands by Bob Shacochis

    General Nonfiction (Hardcover)
    1980: The Right Stuff by Tom Wolfe
    1981: China Men by Maxine Hong Kingston
    1982: The Soul of a New Machine by Tracy Kidder
    1983: China: Alive in the Bitter Sea by Fox Butterfield

    General Nonfiction (Paperback)
    1980: The Snow Leopard by Peter Matthiessen
    1981: The Last Cowboy by Jane Kramer
    1982: Naming Names by Victor S. Navasky
    1983: National Defense by James Fallows

    General Reference Books (Hardcover)
    1980: The Complete Directory by Elder Witt, ed.

    General Reference Books (Paperback)
    1980: The Complete Directory of Prime Time Network TV Shows: 1946-Present by Tim Brooks & Earle Marsh

    1972: Ordeal of the Union, Vols. VII & VIII: The Organized War, 1863-1864 and The Organized War to Victory by Allan Nevins
    1973: The Children of Pride by Robert Manson Myers
    Judenrat by Isaiah Trunk
    1974: The Shaping of the Historian by John Clive
    1975: The Ordeal of Thomas Hutchinson by Bernard Bailyn

    1977: World of Our Fathers by Irving Howe
    1978: The Path between the Seas: The Creation of the Panama Canal 1870-1914 by David McCullough
    1979: Intellectual Life in the Colonial South, 1585-1763 by Richard Beale Davis

    History and Biography (Nonfiction)
    1964: The Rise of the West: A History of the Human Community by William H. McNeill
    1965: The Life of Lenin by Louis Fischer
    1966: A Thousand Days by Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr.
    1967: The Enlightenment, Vol. I: The Rise of Modern Paganism by Peter Gay
    1968: Memoirs: 1925-1950 by George F. Kennan
    1969: White over Black: American Attitudes toward the Negro, 1550-1812 by Winthrop D. Jordan
    1970: Huey Long by T. Harry Williams
    1971: Roosevelt: The Soldier of Freedom by James MacGregor Burns

    1976: The Problem of Slavery in the Age of Revolution, 1770-1823 by David Brion Davis

    History (Hardcover)
    1980: The White House Years by Henry A. Kissinger
    1981: Christianity, Social Tolerance and Homosexuality by John Boswell
    1982: People of the Sacred Mountain: A History of the Northern Cheyenne Chiefs and Warrior Societies, 1830-1879 by Father Peter John Powell
    1983: Voices of Protest: Huey Long, Father Coughlin and the Great Depression by Alan Brinkley

    History (Paperback)
    1980: A Distant Mirror: The Calamitous 14th Century by Barbara W. Tuchman
    1981: Been in the Storm so Long: The Aftermath of Slavery by Leon F. Litwak
    1982: The Generation of 1914 by Robert Wohl
    1983: Utopian Thought in the Western World by Frank E. Manuel & Fritzie P. Manuel

    Mystery (Hardcover)
    1980: The Green Ripper by John D. MacDonald

    Mystery (Paperback)
    1980: Stained Glass by William F. Buckley, Jr.

    1950: Ralph Waldo Emerson by Ralph L. Rusk
    1951: Herman Melville by Newton Arvin
    1952: The Sea Around Us by Rachel Carson
    1953: The Course of Empire by Bernard A. De Voto
    1954: A Stillness at Appomattox by Bruce Catton
    1955: The Measure of Man by Joseph Wood Krutch
    1956: An American in Italy by Herbert Kubly
    1957: Russia Leaves the War by George F. Kennan
    1958: The Lion and the Throne by Catherine Drinker Bowen
    1959: Mistress to an Age: A Life of Madame De Stael by J. Christopher Herold
    1960: James Joyce by Richard Ellmann
    1961: The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich by William L. Shirer
    1962: The City in History: Its Origins, its Transformations and its Prospects by Lewis Mumford
    1963: Henry James, Vol. II: The Conquest of London, Henry James, Vol. III: The Middle Years by Leon Edel

    1984: Andrew Jackson & the Course of American Democracy, 1833-1845 by Robert V. Remini
    1985: Common Ground: A Turbulent Decade in the Lives of Three American Families by J. Anthony Lukas
    1986: Arctic Dreams by Barry Lopez
    1987: The Making of the Atom Bomb by Richard Rhodes
    1988: A Bright Shining Lie: John Paul Vann and America in Vietnam by Neil Sheehan
    1989: From Beirut to Jerusalem by Thomas L. Friedman
    1990: The House of Morgan: An American Banking Dynasty and the Rise of Modern Finance by Ron Chernow
    1991: Freedom by Orlando Patterson
    1992: Becoming a Man: Half a Life Story by Paul Monette
    1993: United States: Essays 1952-1992 by Gore Vidal
    1994: How We Die: Reflections on Life's Final Chapter by Sherwin B. Nuland
    1995: The Haunted Land: Facing Europe's Ghosts After Communism by Tina Rosenberg
    1996: An American Requiem: God, My Father, and the War that Came Between Us by James Carroll
    1997: American Sphinx: The Character of Thomas Jefferson by Joseph J. Ellis
    1998: Slaves in the Family by Edward Ball
    1999: Embracing Defeat: Japan in the Wake of World War II by John W. Dower
    2000: In the Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex by Nathaniel Philbrick
    2001: The Noonday Demon: An Atlas of Depression by Andrew Solomon
    2002: Master of the Senate: The Years of Lyndon Johnson by Robert A. Caro
    2003: Waiting for Snow in Havana: Confessions of a Cuban Boy by Carlos Eire
    2004: Arc of Justice: A Saga of Race, Civil Rights, and Murder in the Jazz Age by Kevin Boyle
    2005: The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion
    2006: The Worst Hard Time: The Untold Story of Those Who Survived the Great American Dust Bowl by Timothy Egan
    2007: Legacy of Ashes: The History of the CIA by Tim Weiner
    2008: The Hemingses of Monticello: An American Family by Annette Gordon-Reed
    2009: The First Tycoon: The Epic Life of Cornelius Vanderbilt by T. J. Stiles
    2010: Just Kids by Patti Smith
    2011: The Swerve: How the World Became Modern by Stephen Greenblatt
    2012: Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity by Katherine Boo
    2013: The Unwinding: An Inner History of the New America by George Packer
    2014: Age of Ambition: Chasing Fortune, Truth, and Faith in the New China by Evan Osnos
    2015: Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates

    Original Paperback
    1983: The Red Magician by Lisa Goldstein

    Philosophy and Religion
    1970: Gandhi's Truth: On the Origins of Militant Nonviolence by Erik H. Erikson

    1972: Righteous Empire: The Protestant Experience in America by Martin E. Marty
    1973: A Religious History of the American People by S. E. Ahlstrom
    1974: Edmund Husserl: Philosopher of Infinite Tasks by Maurice Natanson
    1975: Anarchy, State and Utopia by Robert Nozick

    1950: Paterson: Book III and Selected Poems by William Carlos Williams
    1951: The Auroras of Autumn by Wallace Stevens
    1952: Collected Poems by Marianne Moore
    1953: Collected Poems, 1917-1952 by Archibald MacLeish
    1954: Collected Poems by Conrad Aiken
    1955: The Collected Poems of Wallace Stevens by Wallace Stevens
    1956: The Shield of Achilles by W.H. Auden
    1957: Things of the World by Richard Wilbur
    1958: Promises: Poems, 1954-1956 by Robert Penn Warren
    1959: Words for the Wind by Theodore Roethke
    1960: Life Studies by Robert Lowell
    1961: The Woman at the Washington Zoo by Randall Jarrell
    1962: Poems by Alan Dugan
    1963: Traveling Through the Dark by William Stafford
    1964: Selected Poems by John Crowe Ransom
    1965: The Far Field by Theodore Roethke
    1966: Buckdancer's Choice: Poems by James Dickey
    1967: Nights and Days by James Merrill
    1968: The Light Around the Body by Robert Bly
    1969: His Toy, His Dream, His Rest by John Berryman
    1970: The Complete Poems by Elizabeth Bishop
    1971: To See, To Take by Mona Van Duyn
    1972: Selected Poems by Howard Moss; Frank O'Hara
    1973: Collected Poems, 1951-1971 by A. R. Ammons
    1974: The Fall of America: Poems of these States, 1965-1971 by Allen Ginsberg
    Diving into the Wreck: Poems 1971-1972 by Adrienne Rich
    1975: Presentation Piece by Marilyn Hacker
    1976: Self-portrait in a Convex Mirror by John Ashbery
    1977: Collected Poems, 1930-1976 by Richard Eberhart
    1978: The Collected Poems of Howard Nemerov by Howard Nemerov
    1979: Mirabell: Books of Number by James Merrill
    1980: Ashes by Philip Levine
    1981: The Need to Hold Still by Lisel Mueller
    1982: Life Supports: New and Collected Poems by William Bronk
    1983: Selected Poems by Galway Kinnell
    Country Music: Selected Early Poems by Charles Wright

    1991: What Work Is by Philip Levine
    1992: New & Selected Poems by Mary Oliver
    1993: Garbage by A.R. Ammons
    1994: A Worshipful Company of Fletchers by James Tate
    1995: Passing Through: The Later Poems by Stanley Kunitz
    1996: Scrambled Eggs & Whiskey, Poems 1991-1995 by Hayden Carruth
    1997: Effort at Speech: New & Selected Poems by William Meredith
    1998: This Time: New and Selected Poems by Gerald Stern
    1999: Vice: New & Selected Poems by Ai
    2000: Blessing the Boats: New and Selected Poems 1988-2000 by Lucille Clifton
    2001: Poems Seven: New and Complete Poetry by Alan Dugan
    2002: In the Next Galaxy by Ruth Stone
    2003: The Singing by C.K. Williams
    2004: Door in the Mountain: New and Collected Poems, 1965-2003 by Jean Valentine
    2005: Migration: New and Selected Poems by W.S. Merwin
    2006: Splay Anthem by Nathaniel Mackey
    2007: Time and Materials by Robert Hass
    2008: Fire to Fire: New and Collected Poems by Mark Doty
    2009: Transcendental Studies: A Trilogy by Keith Waldrop
    2010: Lighthead by Terrance Hayes
    2011: Head Off & Split by Nikky Finney
    2012: Bewilderment: New Poems and Translations by David Ferry
    2013: Incarnadine by Mary Szybist
    2014: Faithful and Virtuous Night by Louise Glück
    2015: Voyage of the Sable Venus by Robin Coste Lewis

    Religion/Inspiration (Hardcover)
    1980: The Gnostic Gospels by Elaine Pagels

    Religion/Inspiration (Paperback)
    1980: A Severe Mercy by Sheldon Vanauken

    The Sciences
    1969: Death in Life: Survivors of Hiroshima by Robert J. Lifton

    1971: Science in the British Colonies of America by Raymond Phineas Sterns
    1972: The Blue Whale by George L. Small
    1973: The Serengeti Lion: A Study of Predator-Prey Relations by George B. Schaller
    1974: Life: The Unfinished Experiment by S. E. Luria
    1975: Interpretation of Schizophrenia by Silvano Arieti
    The Lives of a Cell: Notes of a Biology Watcher by Lewis Thomas

    Science (Hardcover)
    1980: Godel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid by Douglas Hofstadter
    1981: The Panda's Thumb: More Reflections on Natural History by Stephen Jay Gould
    1982: Lucy: The Beginnings of Humankind by Donald C. Johanson & Maitland A. Edey
    1983: "Subtle is the Lord...": The Science and Life of Albert Einstein by Abraham Pais

    Science (Paperback)
    1980: The Dancing Wu Li Masters: An Overview of the New Physics by Gary Zukav
    1981: The Medusa and the Snail by Lewis Thomas
    1982: Taking the Quantum Leap: The New Physics for Nonscientists by Fred Alan Wolf
    1983: The Mathematical Experience by Philip J. Davis & Reuben Hersh

    Science Fiction (Hardcover)
    1980: Jem by Frederik Pohl

    Science Fiction (Paperback)
    1980: The Book of the Dun Cow by Walter Wangerin, Jr.

    Science, Philosophy, and Religion (Nonfiction)
    1964: Man-made America by Christopher Tunnard & Boris Pushkarev
    1965: God and Golem, Inc: A Comment on Certain Points where Cybernetics Impinges on Religion by Norbert Wiener
    1966: No award given.
    1967: La Vida by Oscar Lewis
    1968: Death at an Early Age by Jonathan Kozol

    1967: Julio Cortazar's Hopscotch by Gregory Rabassa
    Casanova's History of My Life by Willard Trask
    1968: Soren Kierkegaard's Journals and Papers by Howard & Edna Hong
    1969: Calvino's Cosmicomics by William Weaver
    1970: Celine's Castle to Castle by Ralph Manheim
    1971: Brecht's Saint Joan of the Stockyards by Frank Jones
    Yasunari Kawabata's The Sound of The Mountain by Edward G. Seidensticker
    1972: Jacques Monod's Chance and Necessity by Austryn Wainhouse
    1973: The Aeneid of Virgil by Allen Mandelbaum
    1974: The Confessions of Lady Nijo by Karen Brazell
    Octavio Paz's Alternating Current by Helen R. Lane
    Paul Valery's Monsieur Teste by Jackson Matthews
    1975: Miguel D. Unamuno's The Agony of Christianity and Essays on Faith by Anthony Kerrigan

    1977: Master Tung's Western Chamber Romance by Li-Li Ch'en
    1978: Uwe George's In the Deserts of This Earth by Howard Nemerov
    1979: Cesar Vallejo's The Complete Posthumous Poetry by Clayton Eshleman & Jose Rubin Barcia
    1980: Cesare Pavese's Hard Labor by William Arrowsmith
    Osip E. Mandelstam's Complete Critical Prose and Letters by Jane Gary Harris & Constance Link
    1981: The Letters of Gustave Flaubert by Francis Steegmulle
    Arno Schmidt's Evening Edged in Gold by John E. Woods
    1982: Higuchi Ichiyo's In the Shade of Spring Leaves by Robert Lyons Danly
    The Ten Thousand Leaves: A Translation of The Man'Yoshu, Japan's Premier Anthology of Classical Poetry by Ian Hideo Levy
    1983: Charles Baudelaire's Les Fleurs du Mal by Richard Howard

    1980: Bendigo Shafter by Louis L'Amour

    Young People’s Literature
    1996: Parrott In the Oven: Mi Vida by Victor Martinez
    1997: Dancing on the Edge by Han Nolan
    1998: Holes by Louis Sachar
    1999: When Zachary Beaver Came to Town by Kimberly Willis Holt
    2000: Homeless Bird by Gloria Whelan
    2001: True Believer by Virginia Euwer Wolff
    2002: The House of the Scorpion by Nancy Farmer
    2003: The Canning Season by Polly Horvath
    2004: Godless by Pete Hautman
    2005: The Penderwicks by Jeanne Birdsall
    2006: The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation, Vol. 1:
    The Pox Party
    by M.T. Anderson
    2007: The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
    2008: What I Saw and How I Lied by Judy Blundell
    2009: Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice by Phillip Hoose
    2010: Mockingbird by Kathryn Erskine
    2011: Inside Out & Back Again by Thanhha Lai
    2012: Goblin Secrets by William Alexander
    2013: The Thing About Luck by Cynthia Kadohata
    2014: Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson
    2015: Challenger Deep by Neal Shusterman



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