The 22nd National Book Awards: Tess Gunty, Robert McPhee, and More

The 22nd National Book Awards: Tess Gunty, Robert McPhee, and More

L.A.’s Tess Gunty, Imani Perry among winners of 2022 National Book Awards

The winners of the 22nd National Book Awards were announced Monday evening at a gala in Manhattan hosted by actress, singer, and writer Rosario Dawson. A year after the 2016 awards in New York City, Los Angeles, and Washington, DC, saw the rise of a black L.A. author and the first-ever Los Angeles Literature Prize for the book “Dear Sister: A Memoir.”

From writer-activist Maya Angelou, beloved teacher and poet Ethel Waters, iconoclast writer Robert McPhee, and more, we look back at the winners of the second-biggest literary awards in the world. Here’s a look at the 22 winners of the National Book Awards:

Tess Gunty, LA Times Book Review

Tess Gunty’s debut novel, “We Will Be Free,” set “a series of events that transformed LA into a war zone where police and gangsters alike are working daily to create a new order and remake Los Angeles” (Los Angeles Times). This was the third year, following the novel’s success as the inaugural recipient of the L.A. Book Prize.

The first winner of the award, Gunty was inspired by growing up in the heart of the riots, watching the violence “as a young person trapped in the middle of the story.”

She wrote the novel after meeting “a woman who had been imprisoned in a police cell in the 1990s, while her family lost everything in the Rodney King riots.” While writing the book, she was reminded of the stories her parents told her about the riots. When she finished, her parents took the book home with her as a gift.

In a special note to her parents, she wrote: “I have always tried to be a better son and a better uncle by not taking things for granted, and also by being honest about my concerns and asking for what I need. I now understand that I was doing them a disservice by not allowing them to tell

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