James McBride Wins the 2013 National Book Award for Fiction
Well, this one was a surprise (really, just ask the winner): James McBride has won the 2013 National Book Award for Fiction for The Good Lord Bird (Riverhead). The decision was announced Wednesday night in New York City.
McBride and his novel narrated by an escaped slave beat out fellow shortlisters Jhumpa Lahiri, Thomas Pynchon (whose win would have snagged him the award for the second time after Gravity's Rainbow won in 1974), Rachel Kushner, and George Saunders.
Also capturing top honors tonight: George Packer's The Unwinding: An Inner History of the New America (FSG) won the nonfiction prize, Mary Szybist took home the award for poetry for Incarnadine (Graywolf), and for YA, Cynthia Kadohata's The Thing About Luck (Atheneum Books for Young Readers).
Here's a video of all the finalists reading on Tuesday night at New York City's New School in front of a "loud and good-looking crowd." Prepare your awed face, if you will: