UNCW Alumnus, New York Times Bestselling Author Jason Mott Wins National Book Award

Thursday, November 18, 2021

UNCW alumnus Jason Mott ’06, ’08M won the National Book Award in the category of fiction for his newest novel Hell of a Book. One of the most prestigious literary prizes in the world, the 2021 National Book Awards finalists were selected by a panel of literary experts. The winners were announced on Nov. 17 during a virtual ceremony.

The critically acclaimed Hell of a Book explores the injustice and fear of growing up Black in the American South. It has been named the winner of the 2021 Sir Walter Raleigh Award for Fiction, longlisted for the 2022 Carnegie Medal for Fiction, the 2021 Joyce Carol Oates Prize and the 2021 Aspen Words Literary Prize. It made the Entertainment Weekly “Must List,” the NY Post’s “Best Summer Reading Books” and USA Today‘s “5 Books Not to Miss,” among others.

Chosen by the Today Show’s Jenna Bush Hager as a “Read With Jenna” pick, the host offered the following praise: “It is a story of love and family. It is powerful…poignant and beautiful and what makes me so excited is I cannot wait to be part of these conversations…It’s a story of race, family, love and justice. It’s original and Jason Mott is a talent.”

A native of Bolton, NC, Mott is a former writer-in-residence in the UNCW Department of Creative Writing. His New York Times bestselling novel The Returned became the ABC TV series “Resurrection.” He was a 2009 Pushcart Prize nominee and was listed by Entertainment Weekly as one of their 10 “New Hollywood: Next Wave” people to watch.

“I’d like to dedicate this award to all the other mad kids, to all the outsiders, the weirdos, the bullied, the ones so strange that they had no choice but to be misunderstood by the world and by those around them,” Mott said in his acceptance speech.

-- Caroline Cropp