Novelist Louise Erdrich and journalist Katherine Boo took the top prizes at the National Book Awards in New York on Wednesday night. Although set half a world apart, both women's books express what Boo described as "small stories in so-called hidden places."
Erdrich won the fiction award for "The Round House," set among the Turtle Mountain Chippewa. The author of more than a dozen novels, Erdrich spoke in Ojibwe and English in her speech, citing "the grace and endurance of Native women."
Boo won the nonfiction award for "Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity," a book that chronicled three years in the life of an impoverished family in the Annawadi slum. The author thanked her husband, who convinced her to write about poverty, as well as her translators, her literary agent and her publishers — the "ferocious women at Random House."
Octogenarian David Ferry won the award for poetry. His book, "Bewilderment: New Poems and Translations," was published by