Special Collections

National Book Award Winners - Fiction

Description: The National Book Awards are presented annually "to celebrate the best of American literature, to expand its audience, and to enhance the cultural value of good writing in America." Here we present the Fiction medal winners. #award #adults


Showing 76 through 79 of 79 results
 

The Underground Railroad

by Colson Whitehead

Amagnificent tour de force chronicling a young slave's adventures as she makes a desperate bid for freedom in the antebellum South

Cora is a slave on a cotton plantation in Georgia. Life is hell for all the slaves, but especially bad for Cora; an outcast even among her fellow Africans, she is coming into womanhood—where even greater pain awaits. When Caesar, a recent arrival from Virginia, tells her about the Underground Railroad, they decide to take a terrifying risk and escape. Matters do not go as planned—Cora kills a young white boy who tries to capture her. Though they manage to find a station and head north, they are being hunted.

In Whitehead’s ingenious conception, the Underground Railroad is no mere metaphor—engineers and conductors operate a secret network of tracks and tunnels beneath the Southern soil. Cora and Caesar’s first stop is South Carolina, in a city that initially seems like a haven. But the city’s placid surface masks an insidious scheme designed for its black denizens. And even worse: Ridgeway, the relentless slave catcher, is close on their heels. Forced to flee again, Cora embarks on a harrowing flight, state by state, seeking true freedom.

Like the protagonist of Gulliver’s Travels, Cora encounters different worlds at each stage of her journey—hers is an odyssey through time as well as space. As Whitehead brilliantly re-creates the unique terrors for black people in the pre–Civil War era, his narrative seamlessly weaves the saga of America from the brutal importation of Africans to the unfulfilled promises of the present day. The Underground Railroad is at once a kinetic adventure tale of one woman’s ferocious will to escape the horrors of bondage and a shattering, powerful meditation on the history we all share.

Oprah's Book Club 2016 Selection

National Book Award Winner

A New York Times Bestseller

Date Added: 05/25/2017


Year: 2016

The Eighth Day

by Thornton Wilder

On a Sunday afternoon in 1902 in Coaltown, Illinois, mine manager Breckenridge Lansing is shot and killed at a target practice. John Ashley, a longtime family friend, is convicted of murder and sentenced to death. On his way to the execution a mysterious rescue party takes over the prisoner's railway car and spirits him away. This sprawling novel lays bare the lives of the Ashley and Lansing families, each marked with tragedy yet sustained by hope. Wilder sees this story as part of the vast weave of human history. The novel examines large philosophical themes - faith, hope, love, and the meaning of life. The intricate plot is powered by two questions: who really killed Breckenridge Lansing? And who were the rescuers who saved John Ashley's life?

Winner of the National Book Award

Date Added: 05/25/2017


Year: 1968

Augustus

by John A. Williams

A brilliant and beautifully written novel in the tradition of Robert Graves’ I, Claudius, Augustus is a sweeping narrative that brings vividly to life a compelling cast of historical figures through their letters, dispatches, and memoirs.

A mere eighteen years of age when his uncle, Julius Caesar, is murdered, Octavius Caesar prematurely inherits rule of the Roman Republic. Surrounded by men who are jockeying for power–Cicero, Brutus, Cassius, and Mark Antony–young Octavius must work against the powerful Roman political machinations to claim his destiny as first Roman emperor. Sprung from meticulous research and the pen of a true poet, Augustus tells the story of one man’s dream to liberate a corrupt Rome from the fancy of the capriciously crooked and the wildly wealthy.

Winner of the National Book Award

Date Added: 05/25/2017


Year: 1973

The Hair of Harold Roux

by Thomas Williams

In The Hair of Harold Roux, we are introduced to Aaron Benham: college professor, writer, husband, and father. Aaron-when he can focus-is at work on a novel, The Hair of Harold Roux, a thinly disguised autobiographical account of his college days. In Aaron's novel, his alter ego, Allard Benson, courts a young woman, despite the efforts of his rival, the earnest and balding Harold Roux-a GI recently returned from World War II with an unfortunate hairpiece. What unfolds through Aaron's mind, his past and present, and his nested narratives is a fascinating exploration of sex and friendship, responsibility and regret, youth and middle age, and the essential fictions that see us through.

Winner of the National Book Award

Date Added: 05/25/2017


Year: 1975


Showing 76 through 79 of 79 results