Patti Smith memoir wins US book award

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Patti Smith
Image caption,
Just Kids tells of Smith's friendship with the late photographer Robert Mapplethorpe

Veteran rock singer Patti Smith has won a prestigious US book award for her memoir, Just Kids.

The 63-year-old received the National Book Award for non-fiction for her work, which chronicles her youth in 1960s New York.

As she collected her $10,000 (£6,254) prize, Smith urged publishers not to let technology kill traditional books.

"There is nothing more beautiful than the book, the paper, the font, the cloth," she said at the New York event.

Jaimy Gordon won the fiction award for Lord of Misrule, about a horseman's scheme to rescue his failing stable.

It was a surprise win for Gordon, who has been releasing books through small publishers for the last 20 years.

She said she had not expected to win, but that friends had told her she had given them hope just by being nominated.

The poetry award was presented to Terrance Hayes for his fourth collection, Lighthead

Kathryn Erskine won the young people's literature award for Mockingbird, about an 11-year-old with Asperger's syndrome coping with her brother's death.

Best-selling author Tom Wolfe was presented a medal for distinguished contribution to American letters.

The 79-year-old author of The Bonfire of the Vanities sang a few lines from The Girl of Ipanema as he collected his honour on Wednesday.

The National Book Awards have been presented annually by the National Book foundation since 1950.

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