At this year’s National Book Awards, the US sees its racist past up close

“Wow, the National Book Foundation is woke!” said comedian Larry Wilmore at an award’s ceremony on the night of Nov. 16 in downtown New York City.

The host was referring to this year’s winners of the National Book Awards, the US’s biggest literary prize. The recipients across four categories include three black men writing about the United States’s racist past, one of whom is civil rights leader and US congressman John Lewis.

The mood at the award ceremony was nervous, with...

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