The National Book Foundation announced its National Book Award winners on Wednesday, November 20.
James McBride was named the winner in the fiction category for his novel The Good Lord Bird, in which Henry Shackleford, a teenage slave, joins the 1859 raid on Harper’s Ferry by abolitionist John Brown.
The winner in the nonfiction category was The Unwinding: an Inner History of the New America by George Packer, in which he explores the widening divide between rich Americans and everyone else over the past three decades.
Taking the poetry prize was Mary Szybist’s Incarnadine, which the judges called “a religious book for non-believers, or a book of necessary doubts for the faithful.”
Finally, the award for the Young People’s Literature category went to The Thing About Luck, Cynthia Kadohata’s story about Summer, a midwestern girl and her old-fashioned and demanding Japanese-American grandparents, which the judges praised for how it explores “generational and cultural differences, the fragility of life, and the weighty yet cherished ties of family.”