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Les Payne's Malcolm X bio 'The Dead Are Rising' wins National Book Award

Les Payne, who died in 2018, began working

Les Payne, who died in 2018, began working on his Malcolm X biography 30 years ago. Credit: Newsday/Alan Raia

"The Dead Are Rising," a biography of Malcolm X written by former Newsday columnist Les Payne and his daughter, Tamara Payne, won the National Book Award for nonfiction Wednesday night in a livestreamed ceremony.

Les Payne began working on the painstakingly researched book 30 years ago and continued up until his death in 2018. HIs daughter, who served as his research assistant, completed the book.

Charles Yu's "Interior Chinatown," a satirical, cinematic novel written in the form of a screenplay, took the award for fiction. Kacen Callender's "King and the Dragonflies" was award for young people's literature. The poetry prize went to Don Mee Choi's "DMZ Colony" and the winner for best translated work was Yu Miri's "Tokyo Ueno Station," translated from Japanese by Morgan Giles.

Honorary medals were given to mystery novelist Walter Mosley and to the late CEO of Simon & Schuster, Carolyn Reidy, who died in May at age 71. The children's author and current US Youth Ambassador for young adult literature Jason Reynolds served as emcee, and along with Bob Woodward and Walter Isaacson was among the Simon & Schuster writers who appeared in a taped tribute to Reidy.

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