Saturday, June 12, 2021

Malcolm X’s Daughter Ilyasah Shabazz Among Book Awards Finalists (Read Excerpt)

Ilyasah Shabazz
Ilyasah Shabazz

*A daughter of Malcolm X is among the 10 nominees on the National Book Awards’ longlist for young people’s literature.

Ilyasah Shabazz worked with Kekla Magoon on “X: A Novel,” a story about the early years of her father, who was assassinated in 1965 when Shabazz was just 2 years old.


Authors Gary Paulsen and M.T. Anderson also made the cut. Paulsen was cited for “This Side of Wild: Mutts, Mares, and Laughing Dinosaurs” and Anderson for “Symphony for the City of the Dead: Dmitri Shostakovich and the Siege of Leningrad.”

Judges will narrow the list to five finalists on Oct. 14, with the winner to be revealed at a ceremony in Manhattan on Nov. 18. Over the next three days this week, ending Thursday, longlists for poetry, nonfiction and fiction will be announced.

The foundation, which presents the awards, announced last week that Don DeLillo would receive an honorary medal.

Read an excerpt from “X: A Novel” below:

“Smoke everywhere. In the air, by the door, at the windows—- in our very bed, it seemed. Hot and dark, choking. Someone’s hands on me, dragging me up, then down. Stumbling over floorboards and furniture. Scooped up into strong arms. The first breath of cool, fresh night. We watched the house burn from the back of the yard. Papa said the members from the Black Legion— a Ku Klux Klan splinter group— came in the night, stood right outside our windows, and set the place on fire. They were angry at us for living on prime land that was supposed to be reserved for whites. But Papa had bought it fair and square.

The house burned down to the ground.

We survived. Papa got us out: all of us kids and Mom. Papa knew how to fix things, even the really bad things. But once he was gone, it seemed like nothing could ever be made right. Who’s going to protect me now? I already know; the answer is no one.” 



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