By Porter Anderson, Editor-in-Chief | @Porter_Anderson
Translations: German, Swedish, Japanese, Spanish, ArabicPreferring to talk of finalists rather than shortlists, the United States’ National Book Awards have today (October 6) released their 25 finalists in the National Book Foundation’s 71st annual round of honors.
As Publishing Perspectives readers know, the program’s two special awards were announced first. The late Carolyn Reidy has been named to receive the Literarian Award posthumously, and author Walter Mosley will be recognized with the 2020 Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters.
Winners will be named live in the digital National Book Awards ceremony on November 18. Winners receive US$10,000. In the case of the Translated Literature award, the author and translator split the money.
Taking the five categories together, publishers submitted 1,692 books for this year’s competition: 388 in fiction, 609 in nonfiction, 254 in poetry, 130 in translated literature, and 311 in young people’s literature.
At today’s Publishers Lunch, Michael Cader is making the point that “The biggest publishers are thoroughly under-represented this year, publishing only two of the fiction nominees, one of the nonfiction candidates, none of the poetry finalists, and two of the translated literature titles.”
Of course, if you’re a proponent of smaller and independent presses, you may see this as a very positive reflection of good work beyond the majors.
All is subjective in love and book awards.
National Book Award Finalists: Translated Literature
Jurors for this category are Dinaw Mengestu (chair), Heather Cleary, John Darnielle, Anne Ishii, and Brad Johnson.
|Anja Kampmann||Anne Posten||High as the Waters Rise||Catapult|
|Jonas Hassen Khemiri||Alice Menzies||The Family Clause||Macmillan / Farrar, Straus and Giroux|
|Yu Miri||Morgan Giles||Tokyo Ueno Station||Penguin Random House / Riverhead|
|Pilar Quintana||Lisa Dillman||The Bitch||World Editions|
|Adania Shibli||Elisabeth Jaquette||Minor Detail||New Directions|
National Book Award Finalists: Fiction
The jurors for this category are Roxane Gay (chair), Cristina Henríquez, Laird Hunt, Rebecca Makkai, and Keaton Patterson.
|Rumaan Alam||Leave the World Behind||HarperCollins / Ecco|
|Lydia Millet||A Children’s Bible||WW Norton|
|Deesha Philyaw||The Secret Lives of Church Ladies||West Virginia University Press|
|Douglas Stuart||Shuggie Bain||Grove Press / Grove Atlantic|
|Charles Yu||Interior Chinatown||Penguin Random House / Pantheon|
National Book Award Finalists: Nonfiction
The jurors for this category are Terry Tempest Williams (chair), James Goodman, Yunte Huang, Hannah Oliver Depp, and David Treuer.
|Karla Cornejo Villavicencio||The Undocumented Americans||Penguin Random House / One World|
|Les Payne, Tamara Payne||The Dead Are Arising: The Life of Malcolm X||WW Norton / Liveright|
|Claudio Saunt||Unworthy Republic: The Dispossession of Native Americans and the Road to Indian Territory||WW Norton|
|Jenn Shapland||My Autobiography of Carson McCullers||Tin House|
|Jerald Walker||How To Make a Slave and Other Essays||Ohio State University / Mad Creek|
National Book Award Finalists: Young People’s Literature
The jurors for this category are Joan Trygg (chair), Randy Ribay, Neal Shusterman, Ebony Elizabeth Thomas, and Colleen AF Venable.
|Kacen Callendar||King and the Dragonflies||Scholastic|
|Traci Chee||We Are Not Free||Houghton Mifflin Harcourt|
|Candice Iloh||Every Body Looking||Penguin Random House / Dutton for Young Readers|
|Victoria Jamieson, Omar Mohamed||When Stars Are Scattered||Penguin Random House / Dial for Young Readers|
|Gavriel Savit||The Way Back||Penguin Random House / Knopf for Young Readers|
National Book Award Finalists: Poetry
The jurors for this category are Layli Long Soldier (Chair), Rigoberto González, John Hennessy, Diana Khoi Nguyen, and Elizabeth Willis.
|Mei-mei Berssenbrugge||A Treatise on Stars||New Directions|
|Tommye Blount||Fantasia for the Man in Blue||Four Way Books|
|Don Mee Choi||DMZ Colony||Wave|
|Anthony Cody||Borderland Apocrypha||Omnidawn|
|Natalie Diaz||Postcolonial Love Poem||Graywolf|
Below is a retrospective video on the first 70 years of the National Book Awards program, from the National Book Foundation.
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