On Wednesday evening, November 15, the book publishing community gathered at Cipriani Wall Street in Manhattan for the 68th National Book Awards. Our photographer caught up with the five finalists for the Young People’s Literature prize, along with their editors, and captured Dick Robinson as he accepted the 2017 Literarian Award. (Click here to see coverage of his speech and of Robin Benway’s acceptance speech.) All photos: Nancy Crampton.

Rita Williams-Garcia (r.), a finalist for Clayton Byrd Goes Underground, with her editor, Rosemary Brosnan.

Robin Benway (l.), finalist for Far from the Tree, and her editor, Kristen Pettit.

Finalist Elana K. Arnold (r.), author of What Girls Are Made Of, with her editor, Alix Reid.

I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter author Erika L. Sánchez (r.), and her editor, Michelle Frey.

Finalist Ibi Zoboi (American Street), center, with HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray co-publisher Alessandra Balzer (l.), and her editor, Hayley Wagreich of Alloy Entertainment.

Author Meg Medina, chair of the Young People’s Literature Award judges, said, “The books we read as young people are sacred. And they’re sacred because they guide us through growing up, and remain imprinted on us for a lifetime.”

Medina congratulating Robin Benway, whom she had just announced as this year’s Young People’s Literature Award winner.

In her acceptance speech, Benway thanked her agent, her editor, a number of staffers at her publishing house, and members of her family. Speaking about the importance of writing for young adults, she said, “Teenagers are the toughest audience because they need to hear the truth more than anything, especially in days like today.”

Scholastic president, CEO, and chairman Dick Robinson was given the 2017 Literarian Award for Outstanding Service to the American Literary Community. In his speech, Robinson appealed to the wider publishing community to “join me in recognizing the importance of tonight’s message and battle cry: reading for all.”

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