NEW YORK — (AP) — A debut novel about a biochemistry major, a chapbook centered in part on Hawaiian volcanoes and an exploration of rural policy in China have won awards for their blend of literary quality and scientific insight.
The National Book Foundation, which administers the National Book Awards, and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation announced Wednesday the second annual list of honorees. The authors receive $10,000 from the Science + Literature program.
The winners are Brandon Taylor's first novel, “Real Life,” in which a queer Black college student questions whether to pursue a career in science; Sabrina Imbler's chapbook “Dyke (geology),” a coming out story about nature in which stars really might collide, and Xiaowei Wang's “Blockchain Chicken Farm: And Other Stories of Tech in China’s Countryside.”
“These deeply engaging works — from stories rooted in science journalism and lived experiences to fictional narratives rich with scientific understanding — demonstrate the many ways in which science and technology permeate our everyday lives,” Ruth Dickey, executive director of the National Book Foundation, said in a statement. “This year’s selected titles contribute to a national conversation around the importance of diverse scientific writing and are sure to offer something for every kind of reader.”
The Science + Literature program is funded by a 3-year, $525,000 grant from the Sloan Foundation, which over the years has backed such notable books as Kai Bird's and Martin J. Sherwin’s Pulitzer Prize-winning biography of J. Robert Oppenheimer, “American Prometheus,” and Margot Lee Shetterly’s Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race."
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