Susan Faludi , a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and Cambridge resident, was awarded with a Kirkus Prize for nonfiction Thursday evening for her memoir, “In the Darkroom.” C.E. Morgan received the fiction prize for her novel “The Sport of Kings,” and Jason Reynolds won the young readers’ literature prize for his middle-grade novel, “As Brave as You.”
“In the Darkroom” centers on the events that unfolded after Faludi received a phone call from her estranged father years ago, informing her that he had become a woman. The book dives into the modern relationship between gender and identity, focusing on Faludi’s fraught relationship with her dad. The feminist journalist was a keynote speaker at last month’s Boston Book Festival.
“More than memoir, or biography, it’s a detective story with two unforgettable characters at its center: an authoritarian Hungarian refugee who escapes the Holocaust; and Faludi herself, a feminist icon grappling with an unexpected family revelation,” the judges wrote in a statement. “ ‘In the Darkroom’ is a landmark achievement in which Faludi uses her well-honed journalistic talents to tell the most intimate story she could possibly tell, her father’s journey into womanhood.”
“The Sport of Kings” tells the multigenerational saga of two families, one white and one black, whose lives entangle after a black man comes to work on a Kentucky farm belonging to the powerful Forge family. The story is sparked by the Forges’s desire to breed an indomitable racehorse, and it accentuates the prejudice and economic inequality present in the American South.
Regional narratives are also explored in “As Brave as You,” which follows two brothers as they leave Brooklyn for the first time to spend a summer with their grandparents in the Virginia countryside. Genie, the younger of the two, is fascinated by his blind grandfather’s seemingly mysterious life, as well as his older brother’s reluctance to learn how to shoot.
The winners, chosen from a pool of 1,154 titles that were granted a starred Kirkus review in the past year, will each receive $50,000.Sonia Rao can be reached at email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter @misssoniarao.