Two Women Academics Win National Book Awards

Women Academics Win National Book AwardsTwo women with ties to the academic world were among the four winners of the National Book Awards, presented recently in New York City. The National Book Awards were established in 1950 and are presented by the National Book Foundation. Winners receive a bronze medal and statue and a $10,000 prize.

Jesmyn Ward, an associate professor of English at Tulane University, won the National Book Award in fiction for her book Sing, Unburied Sing (Scribner, 2017). The book tells the story of a Jojo, a young African American male whose father is in jail and whose mother is a drug addict. In 2011, Ward won the National Book Award for her novel Salvage the Bones. The book tells the story of a young African-American girl who lives with her father and three brothers in a small town on the Gulf Coast in Mississippi. The teenager is pregnant and her father is a heavy drinker. The story takes places as Hurricane Katrina is bearing down on the area.

Before joining the faculty at Tulane University in 2014, Ward was an assistant professor of creative writing at the University of South Alabama. Professor Ward was a Stegner Fellow at Stanford University and during the 2010-11 academic year and she has served as the John and Renee Grisham Visiting Writer in Residence at the University of Mississippi. Her debut novel, published in 2008, was Where the Line Bleeds. She holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Stanford University and a master of fine arts degree from the University of Michigan.

Masha Gessen won the National Book Award in the nonfiction category for her book The Future Is History: How Totalitarianism Reclaimed Russia (Riverhead Books, 2017). The book chronicles the lives of four Russian-born people whose experiences provide insight into the reemergence of totalitarianism in modern Russia.

A native of Moscow, Gessen and her family moved to the United States in 1981 but she returned to Moscow to work as a journalist. She has been an outspoken critic of Vladimir Putin. Gessen is the John J. McCloy ’16 Professor of American Institutions and International Diplomacy at Amherst College in Massachusetts for the 2017–18 academic year.

Filed Under: AwardsBooks


RSSComments (0)

Leave a Reply