National Book Award 2021 goes to Jason Mott!
This year's National Book Awards have just been announced and we're delighted to see Jason Mott win in the fiction category with Hell of a Book (Dutton).
A Black author sets out on a cross-country publicity tour to promote his bestselling novel. That storyline drives Hell of a Book and is the scaffolding of something much larger and urgent: since Mott’s novel also tells the story of Soot, a young Black boy living in a rural town in the recent past, and The Kid, a possibly imaginary child who appears to the author on his tour.
As these characters’ stories build and build and converge, they astonish. For while this heartbreaking and magical book entertains and is at once about family, love of parents and children, art and money, it’s also about the nation’s reckoning with a tragic police shooting playing over and over again on the news. And with what it can mean to be Black in America.
For the National Book Foundation Jason Mott's book is “a structurally and conceptually daring examination of art … [which] somehow manages the impossible trick of being playful, insightful, and deeply moving all at the same time.”
The author has also been inspired by the surge in US police violence against Black citizens: “I’d like to dedicate this award to all the other mad kids, to all the outsiders, the weirdos, the bullied, the ones so strange that they had no choice but to be misunderstood by the world and by those around them, [...] to the ones who, in spite of this, refuse to outgrow their imagination, refuse to abandon their dreams and refuse to deny, diminish their identity or their truth or their loves. Unlike so many others.”
Hell of a Book will be published in Italy by NN Editore.