Of the four honorees at the American National Book Awards, three of them are women of color. Nikky Finney, Professor of English and creative writing at the University of Kentucky was honored for her recent poetry collection, “Head Off & Split” which quickly sold out in bookstores across the nation and online at Amazon after she delivered a sensational acceptance speech. Presenter John Lithgow, called Finney’s acceptance speech “the best acceptance speech for anything that [I’ve] ever heard in [my] life.”
Jesmyn Ward, winner of the fiction award for Salvage the Bones is another black woman author honored along with Finney. 2011 was a record year for black women writers at the National Book Awards. Additionally, Thanhha Lai, a Vietnamese author, won the young adult category for her novel Inside Out & Back Again. A riveting read about the life of Hà, a Vietnamese girl from Saigon, the book is an honest depiction of the struggles of many Vietnamese refugees in America after the fall of Saigon.
The award-winning books this year span a variety of diverse topics and would make for a great stocking-stuffer!
Enjoy Finney’s acceptance speech below!
Michelle Pham is double majoring in French and Politics with a minor in education at Bates College in Maine, USA where she writes for the Bates Student and serves as class representative.