The winners of the National Book Awards were announced on Wednesday night. James McBride won the fiction prize for his novel The Good Lord Bird, beating out heavily favored authors George Saunders and Jhumpa Lahiri. The novel is about a young slave who joins John Brown’s posse of anti-slavery crusaders in antebellum Kansas; typical of McBride’s darkly comic tone, the slave, Henry Shackleford, is forced to pass as a female named ‘Little Onion.’ The non-fiction prize went to George Packer for The Unwinding: An Inner History of the New America. Mary Szybist’s Incarnadine: Poems won for poetry and Cynthia Kadohata’s The Thing About Luck won for young people’s literature.
Prizes Victoria Will/AP