Annette Gordon-Reed won the National Book Award for nonfiction on Wednesday night for “The Hemingses of Monticello: An American Family,” a sweeping, prodigiously researched biography of three generations of a slave family owned by Thomas Jefferson.
Ms. Gordon-Reed, who celebrated her 50th birthday on the night of the awards, was the first African-American author to win the prize for nonfiction since Orlando Patterson won for “Freedom” in 1991. “I can’t say what a wonderful November this has been,” she said. “It’s sort of wonderful to have the book come out at this time. People ask me if I planned it this way; I didn’t. All of America — we’re on a great journey now and I look forward to the years to come.” The book was published by W. W. Norton. (more. . .)