Winners of the National Book Awards 2017

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2017 Fiction Winner

Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward

13-year-old Jojo and his younger sister Kayla live with their grandparents in rural Mississippi. When their father, a white man, is released from prison, their mother Leonie packs the children into her car with a friend, and together they set off to collect the man she loves with a toxic passion. Rich with Jesmyn Ward’s distinctive, lyrical language, Sing, Unburied, Sing brings the archetypal road novel into rural twenty-first century America.

As an added note, Ward has previously won the National Book Award for Fiction for her first novel, Salvage the Bones.

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2017 Nonfiction Winner

The Future Is History: How Totalitarianism Reclaimed Russia by Masha Gessen

Masha Gessen follows the lives of four Russians, born as the Soviet Union crumbled, at what promised to be the dawn of democracy. Each came of age with unprecedented expectations, some as the children or grandchildren of the very architects of the new Russia, each with newfound aspirations of their own - as entrepreneurs, activists, thinkers and writers, sexual and social beings. A powerful and urgent cautionary tale by contemporary Russia’s most fearless inquisitor.

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2017 Poetry Winner

Half-light by Frank Bidart

Gathered together, the poems of Frank Bidart perform one of the most remarkable transmutations of the body into language in contemporary literature. His pages represent the human voice in all its extreme registers, whether it’s that of the child-murderer Herbert White, the obsessive anorexic Ellen West, the tormented genius Vaslav Nijinsky, or the poet’s own. And in that embodiment is a transgressive empathy, one that recognises our wild appetites, the monsters, the misfits, the misunderstood among us and inside us.

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2017 Young People’s Literature Winner

Far from the Tree by Robin Benway

After 16-year-old Grace gives up her baby for adoption, she decides that the time has come to find out more about her own biological mother. Although her biological mum proves elusive, her search leads her to two half-siblings she never knew existed. When these three siblings come together, they find in themselves the place they can belong, while the secrets they guard threaten to explode…