Patti Smith Wins National Book Award

Philly-raised rocker honored for her memoir about Robert Mapplethorpe

Born in Deptford and raised in Philly, rock legend Patti Smith was honored this week with the National Book Award for her poignant memoir Just Kids, which traces the early meanderings of her art and music career with soul mate and controversial gay photographer Robert Mapplethorpe. The book winds its way through New York City’s bohemia of the 1960s, 70s and 80s, with a hungry prose that digs deep into what it means to fall in love, make art and come to terms with sexuality, fame, AIDS and loss.

Upon accepting the award, she said, “There is nothing in our material world more beautiful than a book.”

Smith looked back on the life that inspired her award-winning memoir recently on NPR’s Fresh Air.

G Philly would like to congratulate this hometown sweetheart with a video about the book (Smith appears at the Free Library of Philadelphia on Dec. 8 at 7:30 p.m.):