Sonoma Valley High graduate Ada Limón wins National Book Critics Award for poetry

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Sonoma Valley High graduate Ada Limón, class of 1993, last week was awarded the 2019 National Book Critics Circle Award for poetry for her book of poems, “The Carrying.”

Limón, who was born and raised in Sonoma (and who still has a home here), read from at Readers’ Books last August.

In her acceptance speech, Limón said:

“Let me accept this in honor of all the women who wrote books this year. And beyond that, the women who are the reason we can and do write books. Because while writing may seem like a lonely venture, the introvert’s isolated stadium, we know we never write in a vacuum. We write with all the good ghosts in our corners. I, for one, have never made anything alone, never wrote a single poem alone…

“I made this book for everyone who didn’t get to choose to be an artist because something stood in the way, whether it was illness or money or pain or discrimination or trauma. I made this book with everyone who allowed me to choose the path of art.

“I have never done anything alone. I made this book with you and for you. So this award is also is in honor of all those shoulders I have stood on to be here.

The real prize is this life you have given me.”

Limón’s previous collection, “Bright Dead Things,” was a finalist for the Book Critics Circle Award and was named a Best Poetry Book of the Year by the New York Times.

NPR described “The Carrying” as “one of the most anticipated poetry books of 2018” and Publishers Weekly listed it as one of the “Top 10 Poetry Collections of Fall 2018.”

Limón was the first person hired by Andy Weinberger to work at Readers’ Books in 1991.

“We have been following her literary career avidly ever since,” said Weinberger. “She was 16 years old, living across the street, above what is now Café La Haye, and she tapped on our door, even before we opened for business and asked for a job.”

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