Rocker Patti Smith Wins National Book Award

By Michael Preston
|  Thursday, Nov 18, 2010  |  Updated 7:36 AM EDT
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Patti Smith is a genre-shaping punk rocker, poet and visual artist. She can now add award-winning writer to her list of accolades.

Smith, best known for her 1975 album "Horses" and a famous cover of Bruce Springsteen's "Because the Night," was awarded the National Book Award for nonfiction on the strength of her memoir, Just Kids, reports the New York Times.

The book focuses on Smith's time in New York City in the 1960s and 70s and her relationship with the artist Robert Mapplethorpe.

"I dreamed of having a book of my own, of writing one that I could put on a shelf," she said upon accepting the award at the 61st annual awards at Cipriani Wall Street in Manhattan. "Please, no matter how we advance technologically, please don't abandon the book. There is nothing in our material world more beautiful than the book."

In a notable omission, Jonathan Franzen's critically acclaimed "Freedom" was not nominated.

Other winners included Tom Wolfe who received the Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters and Jaimy Gordon who won in the fiction category for "Lord of Misrule."

The winners received a $10,000 check and a bronze statue. The awards were hosted by writer and comedian Andy Borowitz.

Selected Reading: NY Times, New York, Los Angeles Times

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