2005 National Book Award winners announced

Last night, William T. Vollmann’s searing complicated epic, Europe Central, received the much-coveted National Book Award in the fiction category. The NBA judges described Vollmann’s 811 page masterpiece as…”heroic art, the writer’s courageous immersion in totalitarian ugliness to retrieve forgotten moral heroes…”

Vollmann, 46, won over four other formidable finalists:

E.L. Doctorow for The March
Mary Gaitskill for Veronica
Christopher Sorrentino for Trance
Renè Steinke for Holy skirts

Winners in the other categories of the 2005 National Book Awards are:

Young People’s Literature

Jeanne Birdsall for The Penderwicks – for more details on this title, watch the upcoming blog from Kidlit

Poetry

W.S. Merwin for Migration: New and Selected Poems

Non-fiction

Joan Didion for The Year of Magical Thinking

Mr. Vollmann considered himself such an underdog, given his competition, that, when presented with the National Book Foundation’s sculpture and check for $10,000, said, “I thought I would lose, so I didn’t prepare a speech.”