A good night for Minnesotans at the National Book Awards

Despite suffering severe damage to their offices from Hurricane Sandy, the National Book Awards went ahead tonight in Lower Manhattan.

And it was a great night for two Minnesota authors.


Debut novelist William Alexander won the award for Young People’s Literature for his book Goblin Secrets. Alexander teaches at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design and is a frequent contributor to Rain Taxi Review of Books.


In the category of Fiction, Louise Erdrich won for her book The Round House, which was just published last month. Erdrich’s work was up against works by Junot Díaz, Dave Eggers, Ben Fountain and Kevin Powers.

In accepting the award, Erdrich said, “I want to say to my fellow writers you have written extraordinary books. I don’t know why I’m here, but I’ve been working at this for 100 years – not as long as Elmore Leanord (who was awarded the Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters), but a long time.”

“I would like to accept this in recognition of the grace and the endurance of native women,” Erdrich continued. “This book is about a huge case of injustice; thank you for giving it wider audience.”

MPR’s The Daily Circuit interviewed Erdich in October.

In addition, Katherine Boo’s book Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity won the non-fiction category, and David Ferry took home the award for poetry for Bewilderment: New Poems and Translations.