There was a bit of gallows humor at the 60th annual National Book Awards ceremony in New York last night. Host Andy Borowitz said that when he was first invited to emcee the awards, he was so honored that he said he would have done it for free. As it turns out, he said, "The NBA had the same idea." When it comes to the economics of the publishing world, Borowitz said, "We're all in the same sinking ship."
But you wouldn't have known it from appearances at last night's ceremony. The event was held in the grand ballroom at Cipriani Wall Street and the well-dressed throng of authors and publishers all enjoying an expensive meal created at least the impression of prosperity and well being.
And there was no shortage of collective enthusiasm for the judges' choices as the winners were announced.
In the fiction category, the award went to Irish author Colum McCann for "Let the Great World Spin," his novel focusing on the lives of various New Yorkers on the day in 1974 when French trapeze artist Phillip Petit walked a tight rope between the World Trade Center towers. McCann dedicated his award to recently deceased "Angela's Ashes" author Frank McCourt saying, "I think he's dancing upstairs."