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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Jenny Xie

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“My frugal mouth spends the only foreign words it owns. / At present, on this sleeper train, there’s nowhere to arrive.” Jenny Xie, a finalist for the 2018 National Book Award in poetry, reads “Rootless” and “Ongoing” from her debut poetry collection, Eye Level (Graywolf Press, 2018). Xie is featured in “Wilder Forms: Our Fourteenth Annual Look at Debut Poets” in the January/February issue of Poets & Writers Magazine.

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Justin Phillip Reed

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“We live on the unanswerable, assert / that acknowledgment is inartistic, / history is regressive, and aggression / looks like no one we know…” Justin Phillip Reed reads from his debut poetry collection, Indecency (Coffee House Press, 2018), for which he won the 2018 National Book Award in poetry. Reed is featured in “Wilder Forms: Our Fourteenth Annual Look at Debut Poets” in the January/February issue of Poets & Writers Magazine.

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Diana Khoi Nguyen

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“What may exist between appearance, and disappearance, between sound and silence, as something that is nearly nothing…” Diana Khoi Nguyen, a finalist for the 2018 National Book Award in poetry, reads from her debut poetry collection, Ghost Of (Omnidawn Publishing, 2018). Nguyen is featured in “Wilder Forms: Our Fourteenth Annual Look at Debut Poets” in the January/February issue of Poets & Writers Magazine.

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National Book Awards Finalists at the Library

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In this video from the New York Public Library, 2018 National Book Awards finalists, including Rebecca Makkai, Hanne Ørstavik, and Jeffrey C. Stewart, sit down to answer questions about their favorite books and which fictional character they’d want to hang out with.

The Poet X

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The Poet X is my third novel, but it’s the first one published.” At the New York State Writers Institute, Elizabeth Acevedo speaks about making the transition from poetry to fiction, facing rejection, and learning to persevere in the process of publishing her first novel, The Poet X (HarperTeen, 2018), which is longlisted for the 2018 National Book Award in young people’s literature.

Rebecca Makkai

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“You’re writing in total isolation. It’s like getting dressed in the dark, the complete dark, and then you have to go out on stage.” On Late Night With Seth Meyers, Rebecca Makkai discusses what it feels like to publish a book, the research behind her new novel, The Great Believers (Viking, 2018), and why she enjoys teaching MFA students. The Great Believers is longlisted for the 2018 National Book Award in fiction.

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Donald Hall

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In this 2009 interview with poet Elizabeth Spires, former U.S. poet laureate Donald Hall reads poems and speaks about the writing life. For more Hall, read “Turning Time Around: A Profile of Donald Hall” by contributor John Freeman from the November/December 2014 issue of Poets & Writers Magazine. Hall passed away on June 23, 2018 at the age of eighty-nine.

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Lauren Groff

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“A thick drizzle from the sky, like a curtain’s sudden sweeping,” begins Lauren Groff’s third novel, Fates and Furies (Riverhead Books, 2015), which was a finalist for the 2015 National Book Award. In this video, Groff talks about the making of her novel at Politics and Prose Bookstore in Washington D.C.

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Lucie Brock-Broido

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In this 2013 video, Lucie Brock-Broido reads her poem “You Have Harnessed Yourself Ridiculously to This World” from her collection Stay, Illusion (Knopf, 2013), which was a finalist for the 2013 National Book Award in poetry. Brock-Broido died on March 6, 2018 at the age of sixty-one.

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