Fiction Award

And the winner is Peter Matthiessen’s Shadow Country.

An interminable preliminary speech from Gail Godwin…..

And then….

Matthiessen’s speech: He’s smiling as he walks up the stage, holding up his award, looking at Gail, and then addressing the audience. “Well, needless to say, I’m very happy and honored to have this National Book Award.” He did not prepare a speech. Thanks thanks thanks. “I’ve had a hard time over the years persuading people that fiction was my natural thing, not nonfiction.” Bringing up Viking, being sued by the FBI. “I also want to say how much I’ve enjoyed much too briefly my fellow nominees.” “Years ago, I was nominated for the fiction award for a novel called At Play in the Fields of the Lord. And it didn’t win.” “I’m back! And other writers will be back too. I just hope it doesn’t take thirty-three years.”

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