IU English Faculty Member Wins Top Prize in Indiana Authors Awards

(BLOOMINGTON) – Ross Gay’s collection of essays “The Book of Delights” was named the 2020 nonfiction winner in the Eugene and Marilyn Glick Indiana Authors Awards. Gay is a member of the Department of English’s core faculty.

Ross Gay’s The Book of Delights is a genre-defying book of essays—some as short as a paragraph; some as long as five pages—that record the small joys that occurred in one year, from birthday to birthday, and that we often overlook in our busy lives. His is a meditation on delight that takes a clear-eyed view of the complexities, even the terrors, in his life, including living in America as a black man; the ecological and psychic violence of our consumer culture; the loss of those he loves.

Among Gay’s funny, poetic, philosophical delights: the way Botan Rice Candy wrappers melt in your mouth, the volunteer crossing guard with a pronounced tremor whom he imagines as a kind of boat-woman escorting pedestrians across the River Styx, a friend’s unabashed use of air quotes, pickup basketball games, the silent nod of acknowledgment between black people. And more than any other subject, Gay celebrates the beauty of the natural world – his garden, the flowers in the sidewalk, the birds, the bees, the mushrooms, the trees.

Ross Gay

Every two years, the Indiana Authors Awards recognize books written by Hoosier authors in the children’s, emerging, fiction, genre, nonfiction, poetry and young adult categories.