Round–Up: National Book Awards, Writers on Thanksgiving, and the New York Public Library

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From the 2017 National Book Awards to the Thanksgiving traditions of nine accomplished writers, we’ve collected the latest literary news:


The 2017 National Book Award winners were announced in New York on November 15. Chosen from a diverse and dynamic list of finalists, the awards went to 2011 award-winner Jesmyn Ward’s Sing, Unburied, Sing for fiction; Masha Gessen’s The Future is History: How Totalitarianism Reclaimed Russia for nonfiction; Robin Benway’s Far from the Tree for young people’s literature; and Frank Bidart, who has been previously nominated three times, for his poetry anthology Half Light: Collected Poems 1965-2016. In addition to the genre awards, Dick Robinson was awarded the 2017 Literarian Award for Outstanding Service to the Literary Community and Annie Proulx was presented with the Medal for Distinguished Contributions to American Letters.


Nine writers told the New York Times how they spend the Thanksgiving holiday. Viet Thanh Nguyen’s essay “Feeling Conflicted on Thanksgiving” contemplates celebrating the holiday as an immigrant and sharing the genocide behind it with his son. In Masha Gessen’s “Migrant, Refugee, Gay: You’re All Welcome at This Table,” Gessen reminisces on her first American Thanksgiving with LGBT refugees fleeing from Russia joining her family at the table in New York. The stories span the globe and cover the meaning of family and the holiday’s problematic origins.


Despite a controversial attempt at renovation in 2014 which was not undertaken, the New York Public Library (NYPL) announced new plans for the Stephen A. Shwarzman Building in Manhattan. According to Publishers Weekly, NYPL president Tony Marx said in a statement, “we have a responsibility to preserve […] its role as an important civic space, while also preparing it for […] another century of best serving the public. We believe this plan does just that.”