National book award winners, from left; Mark Doty for poetry; Annette Gordon-Reed for nonfiction; Judy Blundell for young people's literature and Peter Matthiessen for fiction. (Robin Platzer~AP)
Though several Chicagoans were nominated for the National Book Award, none came home with the prize. But as the Oscar hopefuls always say: "It's an honor just to be nominated." Very true, but someone has to win.
In the fiction category, Peter Matthiessen -- who beat out our own Aleksandar Hemon -- won for Shadow Country, a revision of a trilogy of novels originally released in the '90s.
''This book was quite a trial for everybody, including me,'' Matthiessen said at the awards ceremony last night in New York. ''[The original books] weren't best-sellers. They didn't make a lot of money.''
The 81-year-old Matthiessen, founder of the Paris Review, also won a National Book Award in 1979, for his nonfiction book The Snow Leopard.
Other awards included:
Nonfiction: Annette Gordon-Reed for The Hemingses of Monticello.
Young People's Literature: Judith Blundell for What I Saw and How I Lied.
Poetry: Mark Doty for Fire to Fire.
Honorary awards: Maxine Hong Kingston and Barney Rosset.
Each winner received $10,000.