Alum Author Jason Mott Picks Up Monumental Literary Honor

Thursday, October 07, 2021

UNCW alumnus Jason Mott's ’06, ’08M newest novel Hell of a Book has been selected as one of five finalists in fiction for the 2021 National Book Award - one of the most prestigious literary prizes in the world.

The book explores the injustice and fear of growing up Black in the American South and was chosen by the Today Show’s Jenna Bush Hager as a “Read With Jenna” pick.

Mott, a former writer-in-residence in the Department of Creative Writing, is the author of two poetry collections and four novels, including The Returned, a New York Times bestseller that became the ABC TV series “Resurrection.” He was a 2009 Pushcart Prize nominee and listed by Entertainment Weekly as one of their 10 “New Hollywood: Next Wave” people to watch.

The 25 finalists for the 2021 National Book Awards (fiction, nonfiction, poetry, translated literature and young people’s literature) were selected by a distinguished panel of literary experts. The winners will be announced on Nov. 17 during the virtual 72nd National Book Awards Ceremony.

“Making it this far is already a career-defining moment,” shared Mott in a Facebook post. “Win or lose November 17, the game has already changed for me…I don’t have enough words to express my gratitude.”

-- Caroline Cropp