Ta-Nehisi Coates has won the 2015 National Book Award for nonfiction, it was announced on Wednesday evening, for his slim but powerful book Between the World and Me.
Coates, who Toni Morrison has said fills the “intellectual void” left after James Baldwin’s death, has had quite a year. Between the World and Me, written as a letter to his son about being black in the U.S., spent 17 weeks on the New York Times best-seller list since its July release. And Coates was a recipient of one of the MacArthur Foundation’s prestigious “genius” grants in September.
Between the World and Me pulled ahead of Sally Mann’s Hold Still, Sy Montgomery’s The Soul of an Octopus, Carla Power’s If the Oceans Were Ink: An Unlikely Friendship and a Journey to the Heart of the Quran, and Tracy K. Smith’s Ordinary Light.
The winners were announced Wednesday evening at the National Book Foundation’s ceremony in New York City.