Baltimore native Jaimy Gordon wins National Book Award
Congratulations to Baltimore native Jaimy Gordon, whose "Lord of Misrule" this week won the National Book Award for fiction.
Here's how the book is described by the publisher: "At the rock-bottom end of the sport of kings sits the ruthless and often violent world of cheap horse racing, where trainers and jockeys, grooms and hotwalkers, loan sharks and touts are all struggling to take an edge, or prove their luck, or just survive. ... Lord of Misrule follows five characters -- scarred and lonely dreamers in the American grain -- through a year and four races at Indian Mound Downs, downriver from Wheeling, West Virginia."
Gordon is an English professor at Western Michingan University. According to a news release from the school, she based the novel partly on her experience in the late 1960s working as a groom and hot-walker at Charles Town Race Track in West Virginia. In an NBA interview, she also noted that some key research took place at Pimlico, namely through "Bubbles Riley, born in 1914, now age 96, one of the people to whom Lord of Misrule is dedicated. Bubbles had done much more than rub horses in his day, at West Virginia tracks as well as Pimlico, and he is far too foxy, worldly, gregarious, savvy in business, and downright postmodern to have been the model for Medicine Ed, but he told me hundreds of things I needed to know in the course of writing Lord of Misrule, and he still does." You can see Gordon's acceptance speech in this video.
For all you Small-timore folks, the author is the daughter of the late David and Sonia Gordon. He was a founding partner of the Baltimore law firm of Gordon, Feinblatt, Rothman, Hoffberger and Hollander; she was an artist, educator and anti-war activist.