The Twenty National Book Award Finalists Revealed
New York, NY (October 10, 2012) – The twenty Finalists for the 2012 National Book Awards were announced this morning on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” hosted by Joe Scarborough, Mika Brzezinski, and Willie Geist. David Steinberger, Chairman of the National Book Foundation’s Board of Directors and President and CEO of Perseus Books Group, appeared as a guest on the show. This was the first time that the National Book Award Finalists were announced on television.
The twenty Finalists include five debut works, two memoirs, and a short-story collection. Among the Finalists are five Pulitzer Prize winners, two recipients of MacArthur ”Genius” grants, one previous National Book Award Winner, three previous National Book Award Finalists, and a recipient of the National Book Foundation’s Literarian Award, one of the Foundation’s two lifetime achievement awards. In addition, six of the twenty books were published by small, independent, or university presses.
This year’s Fiction list includes Pulitzer Prize winner and MacArthur “Genius” grant recipient Junot Díaz, who also served as a National Book Award Fiction Judge in 2009; two-time National Book Award Finalist, for Fiction in 1999 and for Young People’s Literature in 2001, Louise Erdrich; recipient of the National Book Foundation’s 2009 Literarian Award, Dave Eggers; Texas-based author of a previous short-story collection, Ben Fountain; and debut novelist Kevin Powers.
The Nonfiction list includes Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Katherine Boo; National Book Award Finalist and Pulitzer Prize winner Anne Applebaum; National Book Award Winner (2003) and two-time Finalist (1975 and 1983) Robert Caro; debut memoirist Domingo Martinez; and foreign correspondent for The New York Times Anthony Shadid, who died in February.
All of this year’s Poetry Finalists are first-time nominees who have published previous volumes of poetry. Tim Seibles is the author of five poetry collections and teaches workshops for Cave Canem. David Ferry is the author of eight collections of poetry and translation and the Sophie Chantal Hart Professor Emeritus of English at Wellesley College. Cynthia Huntington teaches creative writing at Dartmouth College and was named Poet Laureate of New Hampshire in 2004. Alan Shapiro is the author of ten collections of poetry and a winner of the Los Angeles Times Book Prize. Susan Wheeler is a recipient of a Guggenheim and currently directs the creative writing program at Princeton University.
Four of this year’s Young People's Literature Finalists are first-time nominees. Both Minneapolis-based William Alexander and Los Angeles-based Carrie Arcos have been nominated for their debut novels. Patricia McCormick was a National Book Award Finalist for Young People’s Literature once previously, for Sold in 2006. Eliot Schrefer is the author of four previous novels. Steve Sheinkin has been nominated for his second book, the only nonfiction Finalist in this category.
“We are particularly pleased that the Finalists include some of the most well-known literary names in America and new names and faces to the National Book Awards,” said Harold Augenbraum, Executive Director of the National Book Foundation, which administers the Awards.
The Winners in Fiction, Nonfiction, Poetry, and Young People’s Literature will be announced at the 63rd National Book Awards Benefit Dinner and Ceremony at Cipriani Wall Street in New York City on Wednesday, November 14. Television and radio host, political and pop culture commentator, journalist, and actor Faith Salie will host the event, which will be streamed live on the Foundation’s website, www.nationalbook.org. Winners receive $10,000 and a bronze statue; Finalists receive a bronze medal and $1,000. The evening is chaired by Morgan Entrekin, Lynn Nesbit, and Shelley Wanger. Novelist Elmore Leonard will receive the National Book Foundation’s Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters, to be presented by author Martin Amis. The Foundation’s Literarian Award for Outstanding Contribution to the American Literary Community will go to New York Times chairman and publisher Arthur O. Sulzberger, Jr., to be presented by the host of NPR’s “Fresh Air,” Terry Gross.
Publishers submitted a total of 1,285 books for the 2012 National Book Awards, including 311 in Fiction, 479 in Nonfiction, 181 in Poetry, and 314 in Young People’s Literature. The Finalists were selected by four distinguished panels of Judges who were given the charge of selecting what they deem to be the best books of the year. Their decisions are made independent of the National Book Foundation staff and Board of Directors; deliberations are strictly confidential. To be eligible for a 2012 National Book Award, a book must have been published in the United States between December 1, 2011 and November 30, 2012, and must have been written by a United States citizen.
The invitation-only Awards Ceremony is the culminating event of National Book Awards Week. The celebration begins on November 12 with 5 Under 35, the Foundation’s seventh annual invitation-only celebration of emerging fiction writers selected by National Book Award Winners and Finalists. On November 13, the National Book Awards Teen Press Conference will take place at Brooklyn Public Central Library, with young-adult author Coe Booth as host, giving students the chance to play the role of reporters as they direct questions to the five Finalists for the National Book Award in Young People’s Literature. Also on November 13, the five winners of the Foundation’s fourth Innovations in Reading Prize will gather for a luncheon at The Ford Foundation. That evening, all Finalists will read from their nominated works at the National Book Award Finalists Reading at The New School. The Finalists Reading is open to the public; tickets are $10 and are available through The New School box office by calling 212-229-5488 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Attached is the list of the 2012 National Book Award Finalists in Fiction, Nonfiction, Poetry, and Young People’s Literature. For more information about the Finalists and all National Book Awards Week events, visit www.nationalbook.org or call Sherrie Young at (212) 685-0261.
The National Book Award, the nation’s most prestigious literary prize, has a stellar record of identifying and rewarding quality writing. In 1950, William Carlos Williams was the first Winner in Poetry, the following year William Faulkner was honored in Fiction, and so on through the years. Many previous Winners of a National Book Award are now firmly established in the canon of American literature. On November 16, 2011, the Winners of the 62nd National Book Awards were announced: Jesmyn Ward for Fiction, Stephen Greenblatt for Nonfiction, Nikky Finney for Poetry, and Thanhha Lai for Young People’s Literature.
The National Book Foundation’s mission is to celebrate the best of American literature, to expand its audience, and to enhance the cultural value of good writing in America. In addition to the National Book Awards, for which it is best known, the Foundation’s programs include 5 Under 35, a celebration of emerging fiction writers selected by former National Book Award Finalists and Winners; the National Book Awards Teen Press Conference, an opportunity for New York City students to interview the current National Book Award Finalists in Young People’s Literature; the Innovations in Reading Prize, awarded to individuals and institutions that have developed innovative means of creating and sustaining a lifelong love of reading; NBA on Campus, a partnership that brings current National Book Award authors to Concordia College in Moorhead, MN; and BookUp, an after-school reading program for middle-school students, led by writers, which has recently expanded from New York to Texas.
Source: Press Release