Books

Writers Jimmy Carter, David Evans take home literary Grammy Awards

Jimmy Carter
Jimmy Carter, 93, is a nine-time Grammy nominee.
(Curtis Compton / TNS)

The spotlight was on musicians at Sunday’s Grammy Awards presentation, but the Recording Academy found time to honor some writers as well.

Former president Jimmy Carter took home the Grammy for spoken word album, a category that includes poetry, audiobooks and storytelling. Carter won for the audiobook version of his “Faith: A Journey for All.” It was the third time Carter has taken home the prize; he also won the award in 2007 and 2016.

Three of the other nominees in the category were also writers who narrated their own audiobooks, including David Sedaris for “Calypso,” Questlove for “Creative Quest” and Tiffany Haddish for “The Last Black Uniform.” Actor Courtney B. Vance was nominated for his narration of the audiobook “Accessory to War,” by Neil de Grasse Tyson and Avis Lang.

Previous winners of the award have run the gamut from comedians to politicians. Last year, Carrie Fisher won the prize for the audiobook version of her memoir, “The Princess Diarist"; others who have taken home the award include Martin Luther King Jr., Joan Rivers, Betty White, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, who won in the category twice.

In the album notes category, which is given to a writer or editor, the winner was David Evans for “Voices of Mississippi: Artists and Musicians Documented by William Ferris,” a box set of blues and gospel songs from the 1960s and ‘70s. It was the second Grammy win for Evans, who took home the album notes prize in 2003 for the notes to “Screamin’ and Hollerin’ the Blues: The Worlds of Charley Patton.”

“Voices of Mississippi” also won the Grammy for historical album.

Evans beat out five other nominees, including James P. Leary for “Alpine Dreaming: The Helvetia Records Story, 1920-1924"; Richard Martin and Ted Olson for Charles A. Asbury’s “4 Banjo Songs,1891-1897: Foundational Recordings of America’s Iconic Instrument"; Ben Ratliff for the Sonny Clark Trio’s “The 1960 Time Sessions"; David Gilbert for “The Product of Our Souls: The Sound and Sway of James Reese Europe’s Society Orchestra” and Amanda Petrusich for Bob Dylan’s “Trouble No More: The Bootleg Series Vol. 13/1979-1981.”

Past notable winners in the album notes category include Glenn Gould, Pete Hamill, Walter Mosley and Joni Mitchell.