Hopefully, every MSU freshman was sent an e-mail last week about Katherine Boo, MSUs "One Book-One Community" book author, who won the 2012 National Book Award for Non-Fiction for her book "Behind the Beautiful Forevers." Read an interview with Boo on Mittenlit.com here. Boo now adds the prestigious award to her Pulitzer Prize which she won for her work at the Washington Post. Documentarians like Boo only come along once or so in a decade and I hope she's got her sight set on her next project. The committee which chooses each year's book is to be highly commended for their selection, afterall, it's not often you can pick the National Book Award winner.
Also winning an award this year was one of my long time favorite authors Louise Erdrich for her book "The Round House", a continuation of her unparalleled writing about America's often invisible American Indian community. Michigan's own Elmore Leonard was also recognized for his writing with the National Book Award Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters. I was fortunate enough to see Elmore in Warren Michigan about a week before his award ceremony and when I asked him about he award he said he had just finished writing his "speech" that afternoon and his own precise way he added, "at 3 p.m." Photos of Elmore showed him all dressed up in a suit (or tux) and tie. Mostly he wears comfortable sweaters.
Elmore continued the string of having a Michigan author on the program of the National Book Award for the last three years with Bonnie Jo Campbell, Jaimy Gordon and Jesmyn Ward all representing Michigan so ably in the past three years.