The 2014 National Book Awards were presented Wednesday evening at a ceremony at Cipriani Wall Street in Lower Manhattan. The winners of the 65th annual awards, overseen by the National Book Foundation, included Jacqueline Woodson (Young People’s Literature), Louise Glück (Poetry), Evan Osnos (Nonfiction), and Phil Klay (Fiction). The award, one of the most prestigious accolades in American literature, comes with a $10,000 cash prize.

Emcee Daniel Handler (aka Lemony Snicket), welcomed the crowd of authors, agents, publishers, and finalists, whom he called his “fellow literary nerds,” to one of the more glamorous celebrations in the publishing world. In addition to taking a moment to “marvel at the nominees,” Handler also worked in several digs at Amazon, one of the sponsors of the event, into his opening remarks. After lauding Graywolf Press, a nonprofit publisher with two titles on the Poetry shortlist, Handler quipped, “if you’re a publishing house not interested in making a profit, please see [Amazon CEO] Jeff Bezos after the show.”

The first award, Young People’s Literature, went to Jacqueline Woodson, author of Brown Girl Dreaming (Penguin/Nancy Paulsen Books). “I love how much love there is in the world of young adult and children’s literature,” said Woodson. Her book, a memoir in verse, tells the story of her childhood; she told the audience, “It’s so important that we talk to old people and get their stories before they become ancestors, and get their stories. The world wouldn’t be complete without all our stories in it.”

Former U.S. Poet Laureate Louise Glück, a finalist for the National Book Award three times before, was “astonished” as she accepted the Poetry award for Faithful and Virtuous Night (Farrar, Straus and Giroux). “It is very difficult to lose,” she said. “It turns out, it is very difficult to win. My work would not exist without the work of the other finalists, and my colleagues in poetry, who have more times than I can say astonished me, and moved me, and filled me with the envy that in time becomes gratitude.”

Evan Osnos, author of Age of Ambition (Farrar, Straus and Giroux), took home the Nonfiction prize. Osnos gave a nod to his fellow nominees, singling out Roz Chast, the first cartoonist recognized in the adult categories, whose work he deemed “beautiful and very meaningful.”

The final award of the night, for Fiction, went to Phil Klay, author of the debut short story collection, Redeployment (Penguin Press), about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the lives of soldiers returning to civilian life. “I can’t think of a more important conversation to be having," said Klay. "War is too strange to be processed alone.”

In addition to the awards for 2014 titles, children’s author Mary Pope Osborne presented the Literarian Award for Outstanding Contribution to the American Literary Community to Kyle Zimmer, cofounder of the nonprofit First Book, which distributes new books to children in need. “[Books] can change the life of a kid today," said Zimmer, in her acceptance of the award. “And they can change the life trajectory of that child forever.”

Neil Gaiman presented the 2014 Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters to Ursula K. Le Guin. In his introduction, Gaiman said that Le Guin, whom he called a “giant of literature,” is someone who not only made him a better writer, but "more importantly," someone who made him “a much better person who wrote.”

Le Guin, who won the National Book Award for The Farthest Shore in 1973, thanked the National Book Foundation for the “beautiful reward,” one she shared with her agent and editors. She also "rejoiced" in accepting it for “the writers who were excluded from literature for so long, [her] fellow authors of fantasy and science fiction, writers of the imagination, who for the last 50 years watched the beautiful rewards go to the so called realists.”

As she delved into the state of the publishing industry today, Le Guin’s speech was not without message. “Right now, I think we need writers who know the difference between the production of a market commodity and a practice of an art,” she said. Le Guin, too, referenced the Amazon issue, citing a “profiteer" trying to "punish a publisher for disobedience.” She continued, “I have had a long career and a good one, in good company. Now, here, at the end of it, I really don’t want to watch American literature get sold down the river. We who live by writing and publishing want and should demand our fair share of the proceeds. But, the name of our beautiful reward is not profit. Its name is freedom.”