Nonfiction Winner: Hillbilly Elegy

Part memoir, part a social critique, J.D. Vance's Hillbilly Elegy explores the very topical issue of the struggles faced by America’s white working class. Vance grew up in a poor Rust Belt town of a Hillbilly heritage that, for good and bad, permeated the world view of his family and the wider community. He would move on to become a marine and Yale Law School graduate – making him a clear outlier, but one who credits as much as criticizes the values he grew up with as being pivotal to his ultimate escape and success. Vance brings compassion and honesty to a discussion many of us are having right now, offering valuable insight and shedding light on what's been for some a dark and unseen part of the American experience.