The winner: Kathy Erskine takes National Book Award
Charlottesville writer Kathryn Erskine now possesses one of the most prestigious literary awards in the country: the 2010 National Book Award in young people's literature for her book, Mockingbird.
Erskine was one of 20 finalists at the awards dinner at Cipriani Wall Street last night in New York. Also in the winners' circle was singer Patti Smith in nonfiction for her memoir, Just Kids, about her youth in New York in the '60s with her buddy, photographer Robert Mapplethorpe; Jaimy Gordon in fiction for Lord of Misrule, and Terrance Hayes in poetry for Lighthead.
Richmond native Tom Wolfe received an honorary lifetime achievement award.
Mockingbird is the story of an 11-year-old girl with Asperger's Syndrome whose brother is killed in a school shooting. The book, Erskine told the Hook a few weeks ago, was "part of my processing the Virginia Tech shootings."
Erskine edged out 229 other authors of young people's fiction, and was named one of five finalists in that category in October. The award carries with it a $10,000 prize.