NEW YORK — A meditation on death, "How We Die: Reflections on Life's Final Chapter," by Sherwin B. Nuland, won the nonfiction prize at the National Book Awards Wednesday night.
William Gaddis won his second fiction award for "A Frolic of His Own," and James Tate won the poetry award for the "Worshipful Company of Fletchers."
Each winner received $10,000.
Poet Gwendolyn Brooks received the 1994 National Book Foundation Medal, given for "distinguished contribution to American letters," at the annual event at the Plaza Hotel.
Much of the interest in this year's awards has centered on one of the finalists, "Strange Justice: The Selling of Clarence Thomas," by two Wall Street Journal reporters. Authors Jill Abramson and Jane Mayer discuss Thomas' appointment to the high court.
Other nonfiction finalists included "The Unredeemed Captive: A Family Story From Early America," by John Demos; "Fatheralong: A Meditation on Fathers, Sons, Race and Society," by John Edgar Wideman; and "In Pharaoh's Army: Memories of the Lost War," by Tobias Wolff.
The fiction finalists included "Moses Supposes," by Ellen Currie; "White Man's Grave," by Richard Dooling; "The Bird Artist," by Howard Norman; and "The Collected Stories," by Grace Paley.