May 2011 eNewsletter

National Book Awards, Over 60 Years of Honoring Great American Books
May 2011 eNewsletter
Now Accepting Entries for 2011 National Book Awards

NBA Winner MedallionThe guidelines and entry form for the 2011 National Book Awards are now available. Publishers who are in the Foundation's database should already have received the materials. Publishers who have not yet received the guidelines and entry form can send a request, including company name and office mailing address, to Amy Gall at, with "NBA Guidelines Request" in the subject line.


Please note that entry forms are not available for download or via email. The guidelines can be viewed on the Foundation's website:


Congratulations to the 2011 Innovations in Reading Prize Winners!

iir2011_logoThe Innovations in Reading Prize is the Foundation's way of recognizing and rewarding individuals and institutions that have developed innovative means of creating and sustaining a lifelong love of reading. In its third year of offering the Prize, the Foundation received roughly 120 applications from writers, librarians, teachers, schools, nonprofit organizations, publishers, bookstores, and many others across the country.


The winners of this year's Innovations in Reading Prize are:


iir2011_myownbookfund2Burton Freeman for My Own Book 

New York, NY 


While volunteering for the East Harlem Tutorial Program, Burton Freeman realized that many of the children had few or no books at home, and most of them lived nowhere near a bookstore. To address this issue, Mr. Freeman founded My Own Book, a program that takes third-grade students, 90 percent of whom qualify for the school lunch program, to bookstores and gives them $50 each to purchase books. Children make selections with help from teachers and volunteers. Founded in 1999, the program now sponsors 41 schools. In 2009-10, 4,500 third graders purchased almost 26,000 books in all five New York City boroughs. 


iir2011_kore2Kore Press 

Tucson, AZ 

Known as a press devoted to publishing the highest quality writing by women, Kore has created the Grrls Literary Activism Workshop, an after-school program for young women ages 14 to 20, and "Literature in Unexpected Places," an initiative to integrate literature into daily life on high school and university campuses. Workshop participants, many of whom are considered "at risk," read and present literature in creative ways, such as on t-shirts, in video PSAs screened at the local independent cinema, and in pamphlets handed out on street corners. "Literature in Unexpected Places" hung a 40-foot banner of a Sappho poem outside the University of Arizona library in full view of the football stadium during homecoming.


iir2011_electriclit2Electric Literature/Electric Publisher

Brooklyn, NY 

Electric Literature is a quarterly anthology of contemporary short fiction delivered in every viable format, from paperback to the iPad. It was the first literary magazine to publish to the iPhone, the first to create a YouTube channel, and the first to micro-serialize a short story via Twitter. In October 2010, Electric Literature created its own app-building software because they couldn't find an existing one that met their needs or their budget. It was a success; thirty-five percent of Electric Literature's readership uses their app to read the anthology on the iPhone or iPad. To share that success, Electric Publisher now develops book apps for other organizations on a sliding scale, to make sure that they're affordable.  


iir2011_yarnYARN, the Young Adult Review Network

Weston, MA 

YARN is an online literary journal featuring original writing by YA authors and teens, including fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and interviews. YARN was founded in 2009 by Kerri Majors, a YA writer and former writing professor. When Majors began writing for young adults, she was struck by the lack of literary journals for YA writing. Responding to the need for such a journal, Majors started YARN with another writer and teacher, Shannon Marshall. In just over two years, YARN has become a go-to resource for YA writers and readers (both teens and adults), as well as educators. In addition to writing, YARN includes photographs submitted by teen photographers and lesson plans developed around the content published on the site.


Thanks to all who applied for the Prize this year. Keep up the good work, and keep in touch! Elaine McElhaney, a winner in 2010 for the library she created in the Mount Olive Baptist Church in South Carolina, recently wrote to the Foundation about her continuing efforts to spread her love of literature. After a family member endured a stroke, Elaine began spending a lot of time at a rehabilitation center in iir2011_levengerthe Seattle area. When she noticed that the center had only six books for 150 in-patients, Elaine sprang into action, buying books from nearby used bookstores and thrift stores. Before long, the management took notice and put up shelves to accommodate all the new reading material. "Looks like I have started another library," Elaine said. 


A Great First Year for BookUpTexas


Since 2007, the Foundation has been proud to administer BookUp, an after-school program for middle-school students, at five sites in New York City. Last September, BookUp expanded to a new site in Bryan, Texas, led by novelist and teacher Angie Cruz. BookUpTX has had a terrific first year of after-school sessions and field trips, including a recent trip to Houston.


On March 27, the BookUpTX group took an hour-and-forty-five-minute bus ride to Houston, where they had lunch at the Downtown Aquarium and then shopped at the independent Brazos Bookstore. It was many of the students' first time in Houston, and all of the students' first experience visiting a small, independent bookstore. As is the custom in BookUp, the students received $25 each to purchase books for their own home libraries. The group then continued on to Pershing Middle School, where YA author Rebecca Stead read from her work, took questions from the audience, signed books, and posed for a photo with the group.


Many thanks to BookUp instructor Angie Cruz and BookUp Fellow Casie Cabos for their hard work in getting the new Texas site off the ground, as well as to the Education Department of the George Bush Presidential Library and Museum for its generous financial support. Congratulations on a great first year!


For more information about BookUp, visit  


Get Your Tickets for Eat, Drink & Be Literary 


Each winter/spring, the National Book Foundation, in partnership with the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM), presents eight acclaimed authors for Eat, Drink & Be Literary: Dinner and a Reading in BAMcafé. Each event begins at 6:30 p.m. with live music and wine, followed by a delicious buffet dinner prepared by executive chef Tim Sullivan. At 7:30 p.m. the literary program begins with a reading by the featured author, followed by a discussion with the moderator and a question-and-answer session with the audience.

Upcoming evenings include:


Edward Albee - SOLD OUT

Thursday, May 5 at 6:30 p.m.

Moderated by Michael Greenberg


 Cristina GarciaCristina García
Thursday, May 12 at 6:30 p.m.
Moderated by Michael Greenberg


Tickets are $50 and cover admission to the reading, dinner, wine, tax, and tip. For more information, visit

edmund whiteListen to podcasts of January's Eat, Drink & Be Literary with Elizabeth Strout and February's with Edmund White here:


NBA Backlist: Past
Winners and Finalists



Fiction: Cristina García was a Finalist in 1992 for Dreaming in Cuban. She is the author of four other novels, two books for young readers, and a poetry collection, and has edited two anthologies, one of contemporary Cuban literature and one of contemporary Mexican and Chicano/a literature. Her most recent novel, The Lady Matador's Hotel, was published in 2010. García is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Whiting Writers' Award, and an NEA grant, among others.  She is currently a Professor of Creative Writing at Texas Tech University. For more information about García, visit 

Nonfiction: Andrew Solomon was a Winner in 2001 for The Noonday Demon: An Atlas of Depression, which was also a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. He is a regular contributor to numerous publications, including The New York Times, The New Yorker, and Artforum, and has lectured on depression at Princeton, Yale, Stanford, Harvard, MIT, Cambridge, and the Library of Congress. He is currently at work on a new nonfiction book, A Dozen Kinds of Love: Bringing Up Challenging Children, as well as a comic novel. For more information about Solomon, visit

Poetry: Mona Van Duyn was a Winner in 1971 for To See, To Take and a Finalist in 1983 for Letters from a Father and Other Poems. In addition to the National Book Award, she won the Bollingen Prize for Poetry, the Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize, and the Pulitzer Prize for poetry, and received fellowships from the Academy of American Poets, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Guggenheim Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts. Van Duyn was elected a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets in 1985, and served as the first woman Poet Laureate of the United States from 1992 to 1993. For more information about Van Duyn, visit

Young People's Literature: Gene Luen Yang was a Finalist in 2006 for American Born Chinese, the first graphic novel to be nominated for a National Book Award and the first to win the American Library Association's Printz Award. It also won an Eisner Award for Best Graphic Album. Yang's The Eternal Smile, a collection of three short stories in comics, done in collaboration with Derek Kirk Kim in 2009, won an Eisner as well. In 2010, he released two graphic novels: Animal Crackers and Prime Baby, which was recently nominated for an Eisner. His new graphic novel, Level Up, is due out in June 2011.  For more information about Yang, visit


Important Dates

June 15
All National Book Award entry forms must be sent to NBF office (postmark deadline)

August 1
All entered books must be received by NBA Judges and NBF office (NOT a postmark deadline)

November 14
5 Under 35 Celebration of Young Fiction Writers
New York, NY

November 15
National Book Awards Teen Press Conference (morning)
New York, NY

National Book Award Finalists Reading (evening)
New York, NY

November 16
2011 National Book Awards Ceremony and Benefit Dinner
New York, NY


NBA Daily News

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List of Foundation's Donors as of Sept, 2010