Entertainment behind the scenes
Awarded to "Olive Kitteridge" by Elizabeth Strout (Random House), a collection of 13 short stories set in small-town Maine that packs a cumulative emotional wallop, bound together by polished prose and by Olive, the title character, blunt, flawed and fascinating. Drama:
Awarded to "Ruined," by Lynn Nottage, a searing drama set in chaotic Congo that compels audiences to face the horror of wartime rape and brutality while still finding affirmation of life and hope amid hopelessness. History:
Awarded to "The Hemingses of Monticello: An American Family," by Annette Gordon-Reed (W.W. Norton & Company), a painstaking exploration of a sprawling multi-generation slave family that casts provocative new light on the relationship between Sally Hemings and her master, Thomas Jefferson. Biography:
Awarded to "American Lion: Andrew Jackson in the White House," by Jon Meacham (Random House), an unflinching portrait of a not always admirable democrat, but a pivotal president, written with an agile prose that brings the Jackson saga to life. Poetry:
Awarded to "The Shadow of Sirius," by W.S. Merwin (Copper Canyon Press), a collection of luminous, often tender poems that focus on the profound power of memory. General Nonfiction:
Awarded to "Slavery by Another Name: The Re-Enslavement of Black Americans from the Civil War to World War II," by Douglas A. Blackmon (Doubleday), a precise and eloquent work that examines a deliberate system of racial suppression and that rescues a multitude of atrocities from virtual obscurity. Prize in Music:
Awarded to "Double Sextet" by Steve Reich (Boosey & Hawkes), premiered on March 26, 2008 in Richmond, VA, a major work that displays an ability to channel an initial burst of energy into a large-scale musical event, built with masterful control and consistently intriguing to the ear.