James McBride Wins Inaugural Gotham Book Prize

The inaugural Gotham Book Prize, an annual award honoring writing about New York City that was launched in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, goes to James McBride for his novel Deacon King Kong. The book, which is set in 1960s Brooklyn, was selected by a jury of "leading New Yorkers," including authors, academics, and others. Among books that received honorable mentions include The City We Became by N.K. Jemison, Luster A Novel by Raven Leilani, and You Again by Debra Jo Immergut. The prize comes with a $50,000 purse.

"It's a thrill to be honored in your own hometown. It's like having your very own parade," McBride said in a statement. "This award landed in my lap nearly the same day as my late mother's 100th birthday (April 1). She was the subject of my first book, The Color of Water. She loved New York. Despite the hardship of raising 12 kids here, she always felt that there was no better place in the world. She would be prouder of this than anything I've done, just because it bears the stamp of our ragged, proud metropolis. If it were wrapped with yesterday's fish, in yesterday's Daily News, she'd still love it."

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