Is anyone having a better year professionally than Atlantic national correspondent, author and genius Ta-Nehisi Coates? Probably not.
With a MacArthur grant earlier this fall, a blockbuster Atlantic cover story, a best-selling, Toni Morrison-approved book out, things were already looking great. And now that book, Between the World and Me–Coates’ memoir/examination of what it means to be a black man in America–has won the 2015 National Book Award for nonfiction.
Coates’ acceptance speech took on a somber tone as he dedicated the award to his friend Prince Jones, killed by a cop in a case of mistaken identity, whose story is featured in the book. “I’m a black man in America. I can’t punish that officer. Between the World and Me comes out of that place. What I do have the power to say is that you won’t enroll me in this lie. You won’t make me a part of it,” he said.
— Michele Norris (@michele_norris) November 19, 2015
— a. o. scott (@aoscott) November 19, 2015
— Brent Staples (@BrentNYT) November 19, 2015
This is a big goddamned deal. Ta-Nehisi Coates wins the National Book Award. I’m over the moon.
— Lisa Lucas (@likaluca) November 19, 2015