Since 1950, the National Book Awards have celebrated the best of American literature. In 2016, speaker Colson Whitehead won the National Book Award in Fiction for his sweeping tour de force novel, The Underground Railroad. This year, Masha Gessen won the Award in Non-Fiction for The Future Is History: How Totalitarianism Reclaimed Russia.
The Penguin Random House Speakers Bureau is honored to represent a number of past winners, as well as finalists of the National Book Award, the nation’s preeminent literary prize, that works “to enhance the cultural value of great writing in America.” Let us introduce you!
2017: The Future Is History - Masha Gessen
Masha Gessen, a Russian and American journalist, is the intrepid chronicler of Russian social and political issues, from Pussy Riot to Putin. Her latest book, The Future is History, chronicles how, in the space of a generation, Russia surrendered to a more virulent and invincible new strain of autocracy.
Colson Whitehead has established himself as one of the most versatile and innovative writers in contemporary literature. The author of eight books, he is a MacArthur fellow and Pulitzer Prize finalist.
2014: Redeployment - Phil Klay
United States Marine Corps veteran Phil Klay wowed critics and readers alike with his short story collection Redeployment, which was named “one of the best debuts of the year” (The Oregonian.)
2009: Let the Great World Spin - Colum McCann
Hailed as an incomparable storyteller, Colum McCann is an award-winning author whose topics have ranged from the troubles in Northern Ireland, to the effects of 9/11, to the examination of the Roma in Europe.
In this deeply researched and fast-moving narrative, Dr. Ibram X. Kendi chronicles the entire story of anti-Black racist ideas and their staggering power over the course of American history. Stamped from the Beginning uses the life stories of five major American intellectuals to offer a window into the contentious debates between assimilationists and segregationists and between racists and antiracists.
Hailed by Toni Morrison as “required reading,” a bold and personal literary exploration of America’s racial history by “the single best writer on the subject of race in the United States” (The New York Observer)
Pulitzer Prize winner Katherine Boo is among the most influential journalists writing about disadvantaged populations. Her New York Times bestseller Behind the Beautiful Forevers, based on years of reporting in Mumbai, exposes one of the twenty-first century’s hidden worlds with uncompromising clarity and empathy.
2009: The First Tycoon - T.J. Stiles
T. J. Stiles is the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The First Tycoon, a biography of Cornelius Vanderbilt, and Custer’s Trials, a biography of George Armstrong Custer. He has served as a historical adviser and on-screen expert for American Experience programs on PBS.
1997: American Sphinx - Joseph J. Ellis
A leading scholar of American history, Joseph J. Ellis is a Pulitzer Prize winner for his biographies of our nation’s earliest presidents. Ellis is a distinguished professor and seasoned speaker who regales audiences with stories of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and other U.S. presidents.
Young People’s Literature Winners
Jacqueline Woodson is a four-time Newbery Honor winner, a recipient of the NAACP Image Award, and was recently named the Young People’s Poet Laureate by the Poetry Foundation. She gives stirring lectures that delve into the inspiration behind her books and explore important issues of race, gender, and bullying.
Pulitzer Prize-winning presidential biographer Edmund Morris’s Theodore Roosevelt trilogy is considered the definitive work on that president’s life, and perhaps no writer is better equipped to discuss the legacy of Ronald Reagan than Morris. He is a seasoned lecturer in demand by audiences as both a historical expert and as an interpreter of public lives.
Dr. Ibram X. Kendi (Nonfiction, 2016)
Jacqueline Woodson (Fiction, 2016)
Lauren Groff (Fiction, 2015)
Emily St. John Mandel (Fiction, 2014)
Junot Díaz (Fiction, 2012)
Téa Obreht (Fiction, 2011)
Lauren Redniss (Nonfiction, 2011)
Peter Carey (Fiction, 2010)
E. Lockhart (Young People’s Literature, 2008)
Dan Chaon (Fiction, 2001)
Jennifer Egan (Fiction, 2001)