National Book Awards

2013 National Book Awards

cover art: Good Lord Birdcover art: The Unwindingcover art: The Thing About Luckcover art: Incarnadine

If you ask me, awarding prizes for works of art--whether they be books, movies or single malt scotches--is pretty silly, if not quixotic. I mean, how can we pretend to objectively declare something as complex as a novel or nuanced as a great pop song to be "better" than another when most of us have our hands full deciding whether M&Ms or Reese's Pieces would go better with our Double Dutch Chocolate frozen yogurt?

2011 National Book Award Winners

Cover Art: Salvage the Bones by Jesmyn WardThe National Book Awards were handed out on Wednesday night in New York City. As you might recall, the announcement of the NBA finalists received more attention than usual this year (though not the kind the organization would have wanted). Amid the customary, and probably justified, grousing about the nominees’ obscurity and the snubbing of well-received works by better-known (and better-selling) writers, was the mistaken nomination, and forced withdrawal, of Lauren Myracle’s Shine.

2011 National Book Awards Finalists

National Book Award medal - courtesy of the National Book FoundationThe finalists for the 2011 National Book Awards were announced on October 12. As usual the list is a mix of relative unknowns and old reliables, critically acclaimed bestsellers and small press prestige titles. The NBA, along with the Pulitzer, is the most coveted prize awarded to American writers. The roster of past winners reads like a Who's Who of the last half century in American letters. They include Jonathan Franzen, Ha Jin, Cormac McCarthy and Alice Walker for fiction; Patti Smith, Joan Didion, Tom Wolfe and Maxine Hong Kingston for nonfiction; Galway Kinnell, Elizabeth Bishop, W. H. Auden and William Carlos Williams for Poetry; and Sherman Alexie and Jeanne Birdsall for young people's literature.

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