Judges consider only
books written by American citizens and published in the United
States between December 1 of the previous year and November
30 of the current year. Only publishers can nominate books
for the National Book Award, although panel chairs can request
books publishers have not nominated.
Fiction, Nonfiction, Poetry,
and Young People’s Literature
Each category has a panel of five judges who have written
and published works in that category. Judges are nominated
by past National Book Award Winners, Finalists, and Judges
and then selected and recruited by the Foundation’s
Executive Director in consultation with the Board of Directors.
Jury members are chosen for their literary sensibilities
and their expertise in a particular genre. Each judge receives
an honorarium of $2,500; panel chairs receive $3,000.
The judging panels change every
year. Juries develop their own criteria for awarding the
National Book Award and discussions are held independent
of the Foundation. The National Book Foundation Board and
staff take no part in these deliberations, except to help
determine a submission’s eligibility in conjunction
with the submission guidelines.
In mid-October, the Foundation announces a list of five
Finalists, as selected by the appropriate judges, for each
category. The announcement is made publicly at a different
literary site each year. Each Finalist receives a prize
of $1,000, a medal, and a citation from the panel jury.
of the National Book Award Winner
The jury meets on the day of the National Book Awards Ceremony
in November to select the Award Winner. The announcement
is made at the Awards Ceremony later that evening and winners
are kept confidential from the Foundation staff until then.
National Book Award Winners receive $10,000 and a bronze