AAWW at Home: Yu Miri

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“I come from a place of not belonging and perhaps I started writing in order to make a place where I belonged in the world of novels or plays.” In this AAWW video, Yu Miri answers questions about her life and writing process, and reads from her novel Tokyo Ueno Station (Riverhead Books, 2020), translated from the Japanese by Morgan Giles, which won the 2020 National Book Award in translated literature.

Nikky Finney’s National Book Award Speech

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“We begin with history. The slave codes of South Carolina, 1739,” begins Nikky Finney’s 2011 National Book Award acceptance speech for Head Off & Split (Northwestern University Press, 2011), where she traces the history of literacy in her own life and in the lives of African Americans. Finney is the recipient of the 2020 Wallace Stevens Award from the Academy of American Poets, conferred annually to honor outstanding artistic achievement over a poet’s career.

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Randall Kenan and Ron Rash

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In this virtual event for Quail Ridge Books in Raleigh, North Carolina, the late Randall Kenan, author of the story collection If I Had Two Wings (Norton, 2020), and Ron Rash, author of In the Valley: Stories and a Novella Based on Serena (Doubleday, 2020), read from their books and discuss growing up in the South and their writing. Kenan’s If I Had Two Wings is longlisted for the 2020 National Book Award in fiction.

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Arthur Sze

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“When you think you’re getting good, be humble. There’s no end to the learning.” In this video, Arthur Sze visits his high school, the Lawrenceville School, and offers advice from his years of experience as a poet. Sze is the recipient of the 2013 Jackson Poetry Prize and won the 2019 National Book Award in poetry for his collection Sight Lines (Copper Canyon Press, 2019).

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Sarah M. Broom

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“If we truly love a place and are tethered to a place, then it’s our job to get to know that place.” In this Good Morning America interview, Sarah M. Broom speaks about her debut memoir, The Yellow House (Grove Press, 2019), which is a finalist for the 2019 National Book Award in nonfiction.

Julia Phillips on Disappearing Earth

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“This novel is about violence and loss, but it’s also about finding answers.” At a Penguin Random House event with librarians, Julia Phillips speaks about her debut novel, Disappearing Earth (Knopf, 2019), which is a finalist for the 2019 National Book Award in fiction.

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Martin Aitken

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“I was thinking about a whole load of names, the likes of Hamsun, Dostoevsky, Kafka...authors whose writing would be completely unfamiliar to us if it weren’t for the transformative, transcendental power of translation.” Martin Aitken—who has translated numerous Scandinavian authors including Helle Helle, Josefine Klougart, Karl Ove Knausgaard, and Dorthe Nors—accepts the 2019 PEN Translation Prize for his translation from the Norwegian of Hanne Ørstavik’s novel Love (Archipelago Books, 2018).

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Julie Otsuka on Her National Book Award Nomination

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The author of The Buddha in the Attic, who was profiled by Renée H. Shea in the September/October 2011 issue, talks about her novel's nomination for this year's National Book Award in fiction. "I feel lucky to even have an audience," she says. "A prize is something I never really thought about. Usually my concerns are very local, like 'Can I make it through this sentence or through this paragraph?'"

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Sigrid Nunez’s National Book Award Speech

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“I became a writer not because I was seeking community but rather because I thought it would be something I could do alone and hidden in the privacy of my own room,” says Sigrid Nunez in her acceptance speech for the 2018 National Book Award in fiction, which she won for her seventh novel, The Friend (Riverhead Books, 2018). “How lucky to have discovered that writing books made the miraculous possible: to be removed from the world and to be a part of the world at the same time.”

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