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What To Do With A National Book Award?

by A.L. Major

In November, I watched the National Book Awards ceremony via an online broadcast. A U of Michigan alum of 05′, Jesmyn Ward, was nominated for her novel Salvage The Bones , and if she won, I wanted to witness it. Of course, my impulse to watch the awards was a self-involved, highly illogical one: that if I am a U of Michigan MFA Fiction student and she is an alum of this same program, then I might be able to produce a work of similar notability and talent. When she won, I was surprisingly elated. As if I had won too. I bought her books, the hour after, not yet critical of why it hadn’t occurred to me to buy them before. Later, I realized I’ve become a complacent reader.