The National Book Awards went off without a hitch again last night, which was pretty amazing considering the entire ceremony was held virtually because of the pandemic. Using livestreams of the judges, the winners, NBA members, and the charismatic host, Jason Reynolds—plus some help from celebrity voices such as Rosie Perez and Natasha Lyonne—in some ways, the awards show was the best one yet.
I found that the fact that everyone could attend the ceremony, while living under the ever-present shadow of a virus that keeps us all apart, added an extra layer of specialness to the awards this year. I’ve never felt more proud or lucky to be a part of this community.
Before the book awards were given out, Walter Mosley was recognized with the National Book Foundation’s Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters, and Carolyn Reidy was posthumously honored with the Foundation’s Literarian Award for Outstanding Service to the American Literary Community.