Jason Mott won the 2021 US National Book Award for his novel Hell of a Book (Trapeze). The judges of the award, seen as a prize “by writers for writers”, described Hell of a Book as a “highly original, inspired work that breaks new ground”. The novel, they said, “weaves together three narrative strands – an unnamed author, a boy named Soot, and a figure known as The Kid – into a masterful novel. In a structurally and conceptually daring examination of art, fame, family and being black in America, Mott somehow manages the impossible trick of being playful, insightful and deeply moving, all at the same time.”
This is the first chapter of Hell of a Book.