Major congratulations are due to Jesmyn Ward, author of the 2011 National Book Award in Fiction winner: SALVAGE THE BONES.
Ward's gritty yet tender novel about family and poverty in the days leading up to Hurricane Katrina is both beautiful and brutal. Pregnant fourteen-year-old Esch, her brothers, and their mostly absent father are preparing for the storm, but are unprepared for the aftermath.
When she accepted the award, Ward said,
"I understood that I wanted to write about the experiences of the poor, and the black and the rural people of the South, so that the culture that marginalized us for so long would see that our stories were as universal, our lives as fraught and lovely and important, as theirs."
You can re-watch the full National Book Award ceremony hosted by John Lithgow at NationalBook.org.