Tiya Miles and Jason Mott were declared winners in their categories at the US National Book Awards on November 17, 2021.
The US National Book Awards are literary awards from the Northern American nations National Book Foundation established in 1936. They are conferred on the categories of fiction, nonfiction, poetry, translated literature, and young people’s literature. In 2020, Les Payne, Tamara Payne, and Kacen Callender won in their categories while Walter Mosley was given a Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters.
The longlists for 2021 were unveiled in all the traditional categories from September 16-18 before the finalists were revealed on October 5. The writers of African descent who won at the ceremony were;
Judging panel: Luis Alberto Urrea (Chair), Alan Michael Parker, Emily Pullen, Margaret Wilkerson Sexton, and Charles Yu.
- Jason Mott, Hell of a Book, Dutton / Penguin Random House
Judging panel: Nell Painter (Chair), Eula Biss, Aaron John Curtis, Kate Tuttle, and Jerald Walker.
- Tiya Miles, All That She Carried: The Journey of Ashley’s Sack, a Black Family Keepsake, Random House / Penguin Random House
In a response on his website, Jason Mott said, “Right now I exist in a state of disbelief. The operating system of my brain has crashed. It’s just a blue screen refusing to comprehend anything, while my body smiles and laughs and shakes hands and my mouth says “Thanks! I still can’t believe it.” I’m sure that’ll all settle down eventually. But for now, I’m enjoying the dissonance.”
On her part Tiya Miles tweeted, “I am deeply honored that All That She Carried has won a National Book Award! Rose, Ashley, and Ruth: this one is for you. And congrats to all of the winners, finalists, and long list nominees! (Embroidered vintage sugar sack, Diana Weymar, Tiny Pricks) #NationalBookAwards2021”
Here is Tiya Miles receiving her award;
Here is Jason Mott receiving his award;