The rock musician Patti Smith won the National Book Award for nonfiction on Wednesday night for “Just Kids,” a sweetly evocative memoir of her relationship with the artist Robert Mapplethorpe and life in the bohemian New York of the 1960s and ’70s.
Accepting the award to applause and cheers, Ms. Smith — clearly the favorite of the night — choked up as she recalled her days as a clerk in the Scribner’s bookstore in Manhattan.
“I dreamed of having a book of my own, of writing one that I could put on a shelf,” she said. “Please, no matter how we advance technologically, please don’t abandon the book. There is nothing in our material world more beautiful than the book.” “Just Kids” was published by Ecco, an imprint of HarperCollins.