Alexander Alter of the New York Times reports Ta-Nehisi Coates won the National Book Award for nonfiction for “Between the World and Me,” a “visceral, blunt exploration of his experience of being a black man in America, which was published this summer in the middle of a national dialogue about race relations and inequality.”
The celebrated writer discussed violence against blacks during his acceptance speech.
“‘Every day you turn on the TV and see some kind of violence being directed at black people,’ Mr. Coates said in an emotional acceptance speech. ‘Over and over and over again. And it keeps happening…’
‘Between the World and Me,’ which was published by Spiegel & Grau, was one of the most celebrated and widely discussed books of the year, and won comparisons to the work of James Baldwin.
Mr. Coates, a correspondent for The Atlantic, wrote the book in the form of a letter to his son. He dedicated the award to his college friend, Prince Jones, who was shot to death by a police officer who mistook him for a criminal. ‘I’m a black man in America. I can’t punish that officer; ‘Between the World and Me’ comes out of that place,” Mr. Coates said. ‘I can’t secure the safety of my son. I just don’t have that power. But what I do have the power to do is say, ‘You won’t enroll me in this lie. You won’t make me part of it.’”
Read more at the New York Times.