National Book Awards 2022

This week, the National Book Foundation announced the winners of the National Book Awards, one of the most prestigious literary awards in the United States since 1950. Over the past 70 years, the National Book Foundation has honored nearly 2,600 titles.

The National Book Foundation’s mission is “to celebrate the best literature published in the United States, expand its audience, and ensure that books have a prominent place in our culture.” In addition to administering the National Book Awards, the Foundation produces numerous educational and public programs that help connect readers to books in new and meaningful ways. In keeping with our mission, Yonkers Public Library wants to help connect readers to powerful, transformational stories by spotlighting diverse, award-winning books in our library collection.

The National Book Awards cover five genres – fiction, nonfiction, poetry, translated literature and young people’s literature. Below, we’ll highlight the winning book in each category, but we’ll include all of the finalists so you can add a few new titles to your ever-growing “To Be Read” list!

You can browse all of the winners by year on the National Book Foundation’s website here.


Fiction

The Rabbit Hutch by Tess Gunty

This debut novel tells the tale of four teenagers recently aged out of the foster care system and living in a low-income neighborhood in Indiana. From the publisher: “Set over one sweltering week in July and culminating in a bizarre act of violence that finally changes everything, The Rabbit Hutch is a savagely beautiful and bitingly funny snapshot of contemporary America, a gorgeous and provocative tale of loneliness and longing, entrapment and, ultimately, freedom.”


Nonfiction

South to America: A Journey Below the Mason-Dixon to Understand the Soul of a Nation by Imani Perry

In this reflection on the American South, Imani Perry revisits her roots and puts a spotlight on the history, culture and rituals of the South and how it is linked with the story of America. From the publisher: “Weaving together stories of immigrant communities, contemporary artists, exploitative opportunists, enslaved peoples, unsung heroes, her own ancestors, and her lived experiences, Imani Perry crafts a tapestry unlike any other. With uncommon insight and breathtaking clarity, South to America offers an assertion that if we want to build a more humane future for the United States, we must center our concern below the Mason-Dixon Line.”


Poetry

Punks: New & Selected Poems by John Keene

This collection of poetry includes previously unpublished and brand new work, bringing together narratives of loss, lust and love. From the publisher: “The many voices that emerge in these poems—from historic Black personalities, both familial and famous, to the poet’s friends and lovers in gay bars and bedrooms—form a cast of characters capable of addressing desire, oppression, AIDS, and grief through sorrowful songs that ‘we sing as hard as we live.’” 


Translated Literature

Seven Empty Houses by Samanta Schweblin and translated by Megan McDowell

Translated from Spanish, the seven stories in this book follow the stories of seven empty houses with strange, dark histories. From the publisher: “the twists and turns will unnerve and surprise: Schweblin never takes the expected path and instead digs under the skin and reveals uncomfortable truths about our sense of home, of belonging, and of the fragility of our connections with others.” 


Young People’s Literature

All My Rage by Sabaa Tahir

The fifth novel by this Pakistani-American author, follows the intergenerational relationship between family, friends and the challenges brought up by the past. From the publisher: “From one of today’s most cherished and bestselling young adult authors comes a breathtaking novel of young love, old regrets, and forgiveness—one that’s both tragic and poignant in its tender ferocity.”


Be sure to keep an eye on the YPL blog tomorrow for a feature on book awards on a local level. 

This is a collaboration from A to Z!

Alison Robles is a part-time clerk at the Crestwood Library. She is an avid reader with a passion for fantasy, history and science fiction. A Yonkers native, she graduated from Iona University in 2020 with a dual-degree in Marketing and Public Relations.

Z is the Branch Manager at the Crestwood Library. She has been with YPL for over a decade.