Now accepting submissions for the 2018 National Book Awards

Twenty-five judges in five categories will review all titles submitted for the 69th National Book Awards

Twenty-five judges in five categories will review all titles submitted for the 69th National Book Awards

The National Book Foundation is now accepting submissions for the 2018 National Book Awards. Full guidelines for submission, including details for the new National Book Award for Translated Literature, are now available. 




Chris BachelderChris Bachelder is the author of Bear v. SharkU.S.!, and Abbott Awaits. His most recent novel, The Throwback Special, was a Finalist for the National Book Award. His fiction and essays have appeared in McSweeney’sBeliever, and Paris Review. He lives with his wife and two daughters in Cincinnati, where he teaches at the University of Cincinnati. Photo credit: Jennifer Habel


Laila LalamiChair – Laila Lalami is a novelist. Her most recent book, The Moor’s Account, won the American Book Award, was on the Man Booker Prize longlist, and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in Fiction. She is a columnist for Nation and a critic-at-large for the Los Angeles Times. The recipient of Fulbright and Guggenheim Fellowships, she is currently a professor of creative writing at the University of California, Riverside. Photo credit: April Rocha


Min Jin LeeMin Jin Lee’s Pachinko was a finalist for the National Book Award. A New York Times bestseller, Pachinko was a Top 10 Books of the Year for the New York TimesUSA Today, BBC, and the New York Public Library, and on over 75 best books of the year lists, including NPR, PBS, and CNN. Lee’s debut novel Free Food for Millionaires was a Top 10 Books of the Year for The Times, NPR’s “Fresh Air” and USA Today.  Photo credit: Elena Seibert


Laurie MuchnickLaurie Muchnick is the fiction editor at Kirkus Reviews, and has been writing and editing book reviews for more than 25 years. Her career began at the Village Voice Literary Supplement, and as the book editor of Newsday and Bloomberg News. A former president of the National Book Critics Circle, her writing has appeared in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Boston Globe, and many other publications.
Photo credit: Greta Mansour


Chinelo OkparantaChinelo Okparanta is the author of the novel Under the Udala Trees and the short story collection Happiness, Like Water. Her honors include two Lambda Literary Awards, an O. Henry Prize, and finalist selections for the International DUBLIN Literary Award and the NYPL Young Lions Fiction Award. She has been nominated for the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award as well as the NAACP Image Award in Fiction. In 2017, Okparanta was named one of Granta‘s Best of Young American Novelists. Photo credit: Akwaeke Emezi



Rachel CassRachel Cass is the head buyer at Harvard Book Store in Cambridge, Massachusetts. She became a bookseller in 2006, managed the award-winning Harvard Book Store author event series from 2011 to 2013, and became head buyer in 2013. Before becoming a bookseller, she pursued graduate work in mathematics, completing an MA in mathematics from Brandeis University in 2008. Photo credit: Alex Meriwether


John FreemanJohn Freeman is a writer, editor and anthologist. His books include The Tyranny of E-mail, How to Read a Novelist, and Mapsa collection of poems. He has also edited two anthologies on inequality, the latest of which is Tales of Two Americas: Stories of Inequality in a Divided Nation. The former editor of Granta, he teaches at NYU and edits the literary biannual Freeman’s. He is also executive editor of the Literary Hub. The former president of the National Book Critics Circle, his work has been translated into more than twenty languages. Photo credit: Deborah Treisman


Annette Gordon-ReedChair – Annette Gordon-Reed is the Charles Warren Professor of American Legal History at Harvard Law School and a Professor of History in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences. She won the Pulitzer Prize in History in 2009 for The Hemingses of Monticello: An American Family (W.W. Norton, 2009). She is the author, among other books, of Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings: An American Controversy (1997) and (with Peter S. Onuf) “Most Blessed of the Patriarchs”: Thomas Jefferson and the Empire of the Imagination (Liveright Publishing, 2016). Photo credit: Harvard Law School


Sarah Manguso
Sarah Manguso 
is the author of seven books including 300 Arguments, Ongoingness, The Guardians, and The Two Kinds of Decay. Her work has been supported by a Guggenheim Fellowship and the Rome Prize. She lives in Los Angeles. Photo credit: Andy Ryan


Andres ResendezAndrés Reséndez is an author and professor of history. His recent book, The Other Slavery: The Uncovered Story of Indian Enslavement in America, was a finalist for the 2016 National Book Award, winner of the 2017 California Book Award in Nonfiction, and winner of the 2017 Bancroft Prize by Columbia University. He teaches courses on food and history, colonial Latin America, and Mexico. Photo credit: Ray Johnston



Mary Jo BangChair – Mary Jo Bang is the author of eight books of poems, including A Doll For Throwing, Louise in Love, The Bride of EThe Last Two Seconds, and Elegy, which received the National Book Critics Circle Award. Her translation of Dante’s Inferno, illustrated by Henrik Drescher, was published by Graywolf Press. She has received a Hodder Fellowship, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and a Berlin Prize Fellowship. She teaches creative writing at Washington University in St. Louis. Photo credit: Matt Valentine


Ken ChenKen Chen is the Executive Director of the Asian American Writers’ Workshop. He received the Yale Younger Poets Award for his book Juvenilia. An NEA, NYFA and Bread Loaf fellow, Chen co-founded the cultural website Arts & Letters Daily and CultureStrike, a national arts organization dedicated to migrant justice. A graduate of Yale Law School, he successfully defended the asylum application of an undocumented Muslim high school student from Guinea detained by Homeland Security. Photo credit: Brooklyn One Hundred


Elise PaschenElise Paschen is the author of The NightlifeBestiaryInfidelities, and Houses: Coasts. Her poems have been published in The New Yorker and Poetry Magazine, among other magazines, and in numerous anthologies. Former Executive Director of the Poetry Society of America, she is a co-founder of the Poetry in Motion program. A graduate of Harvard University and Oxford University, Paschen teaches in the MFA Writing Program at the School of the Art Institute and lives in Chicago with her family. Photo credit: Jennifer Girard


Danez SmithDanez Smith is the author of Don’t Call Us Dead, finalist for the 2017 National Book Award, and [insert] boy, winner of the Kate Tufts Discovery Award and the Lambda Literary Award for Gay Poetry. A Black, Queer, Poz writer and performer from St. Paul, MN, Danez’s work has been featured widely, including in the New York TimesGuardianBest American Poetry, and on “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.” Photo credit: David Hong


Stephen SparksStephen Sparks is co-owner of Point Reyes Books, an independent bookstore in Point Reyes Station, California. He is a board member of the Northern California Booksellers Association, a contributing editor at LitHub, and has served as a juror for the National Endowment for the Arts, the American Booksellers Association Indies Choice Book Awards, and other awards. His first book, Fog: an Object Lesson, is scheduled to be published by Bloomsbury in 2019. Photo credit: Stephen Sparks



Harold AugenbraumChair – Harold Augenbraum is Acting Editor of The Yale Review. He is the former Executive Director of the National Book Foundation and was a Franke Visiting Fellow at Yale University. He has translated, among others, the works of José Rizal, Juan Rulfo, Cabeza de Vaca, J.Á. González Sainz, and the poetry of Marcel Proust. His most recent translation is the 1885 Filipino novel Nínay by Pedro Paterno, under a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts.
Photo credit: National Book Foundation


Karen Maeda AllmanKaren Maeda Allman is Author Events Co-Coordinator at the Elliott Bay Book Company in Seattle. She has served on jury and awards panels for Hedgebrook, the Washington State Book Awards, the NEA Big Read Book Review Committee, the NEA Literary Translation Fellowships, the Kiriyama Prize, and the 2016 DSC Prize for South Asian Literature. She has worked in bookstores since 1989, and in 2017 won a Seattle Arts and Lectures Prowda Literary Champions Award. Photo credit: G. Shutt


Sinan AntoonSinan Antoon is a poet, novelist, and translator. He holds degrees from Baghdad, Georgetown, and Harvard, where he specialized in Arabic literature. His books include l’jaamThe Corpse Washer, The Baghdad Eucharist, and The Book of Collateral Damage (forthcoming from Yale University Press in 2019). His translation of Mahmoud Darwish’s In the Presence of Absence won the 2012 American Literary Translators’ Award. He is an Associate Professor at New York University. Photo credit: Bassam Haddad


Susan BernofskySusan Bernofsky directs the literary translation program in the Columbia University School of the Arts. Her translations include works by Robert Walser, Franz Kafka, Hermann Hesse, Jenny Erpenbeck, and Yoko Tawada. Her many prizes and awards include the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize, the Oxford-Weidenfeld Translation Prize, the Schlegel-Tieck Prize, the Helen and Kurt Wolff Translation Prize, the Warwick Prize for Women in Translation, and a Guggenheim Fellowship. She blogs about translation at Photo credit: Caroline White


Álvaro EnrigueÁlvaro Enrigue was a Cullman Center Fellow and a Fellow at the Princeton University Program in Latin American Studies. His work has appeared in many publications, including the New York TimesLondon Review of Books, and El PaísSudden Death, his most recent novel, was awarded the prestigious Herralde Prize in Spain, the Elena Poniatowska International Novel Award in Mexico, and the Barcelona Prize for Fiction. Enrigue was born in Mexico and lives in New York City. He teaches at Hofstra University.
Photo credit: Sonny Maya



Robin BenwayChair – Robin Benway is a New York Times-bestselling author of six novels for young people. Her books have received numerous awards and recognition, including starred reviews from Kirkus Reviews, Booklist, and Publishers Weekly, and have been published in more than 20 countries. Her most recent book, Far From the Tree, won the 2017 National Book Award for Young People’s Literature. Robin grew up in Orange County, California, and is a graduate of UCLA. She lives in Los Angeles. Photo credit: Lovato Images

Lamar GilesLamar Giles
 is the author of the Edgar Award Nominated Fake ID and Endangered. His latest, Overturned, was a Kirkus Reviews Best YA Novel for 2017. He is a founding member of We Need Diverse Books, and a faculty member in the Spalding University MFA program. He resides in Virginia with his wife. Photo credit: Christa Gitchell


Grace GreeneGrace Worcester Greene has worked with literature for youth all her professional life, first as a children’s librarian in Massachusetts, and then for twenty-seven years as the Youth Services Consultant at the Vermont Department of Libraries. In Vermont she oversaw the management of the state’s three children’s choice book awards. In addition, she has served on numerous book award committees, including the Caldecott, the Newbery, the Boston Globe-Horn Book and the Vermont Book Award. Photo credit: Vermont Library

Valerie KoehlerValerie Koehler
 opened Blue Willow Bookshop in west Houston in October 1996. She was named a Champion of Literacy from Literacy Advance of Houston, and MPIBA Bookseller of the Year in 2011. She has served on the boards of MidSouthIBA, MPIBA, ABC, and ABFFE.  She is currently serving on the board of the American Booksellers Association. Valerie has a very patient husband and two sons successfully launched into the world.
Photo credit: Blue Willow Bookshop

Mitali PerkinsMitali Perkins
 has written several novels, including You Bring the Distant Near, Rickshaw Girl, Bamboo People, and Tiger Boy.She was honored as a “Most Engaging Author” by booksellers and a “Literary Light for Children” by the Boston Public Library. Mitali was born in India before immigrating to the United States. She also lived in Bangladesh, England, Thailand, Mexico, Cameroon, and Ghana, studied at Stanford and Berkeley, and resides in the San Francisco Bay Area. Photo credit: Bethany Carnes

WHY READING MATTERS CONFERENCE 2018: Reading Without Boundaries


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Keynote Speaker: Alvin Irby, Founder of Barbershop Books
Winner of the 2017 Innovations in Reading Prize

Alvin Irby Barbershop Books
Alvin Irby Barbershop Books

Alvin Irby is an award-winning educator, comedian, and entrepreneur. As Founder and Chief Reading Inspirer at Barbershop Books, winner of the National Book Foundation’s 2017 Innovations in Reading Prize, Irby has expanded book access for thousands of children and inspired a national movement to promote reading in barbershops. As a 2015 StandUp NBC national finalist, he beat out more than 600 comedians nationwide to showcase his stand up comedy at the Hollywood Improv in Los Angeles, CA. Irby has established himself as a thought leader in early literacy and a cultural competency specialist, captivating audiences with his passionate keynotes and insightful workshops. In 2016, Irby published his debut children’s book Gross Greg, a laugh-out-loud story that combines his passion for humor and children’s literature. Irby holds a BA from Grinnell College, an MS in Childhood Education from Bank Street Graduate School of Education, and an MPA from New York University.


Author Talk:
Lisa Ko, The Leavers
2017 National Book Award Finalist

Lisa Ko author photo, credit: Bartosz Potocki
Lisa Ko, photo credit: Bartosz Potocki

Lisa Ko is the author of The Leavers, a novel which won the 2016 PEN/Bellwether Prize for Socially Engaged Fiction and was a finalist for the 2017 National Book Award for Fiction, the 2018 PEN/Hemingway Award, and the 2017 Barnes and Noble Discover Great New Writers Award. Her writing has appeared in Best American Short Stories 2016, The New York Times, BuzzFeed, O. Magazine, and elsewhere. She has been awarded fellowships from the New York Foundation for the Arts, the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, and the MacDowell Colony, among others. Born in Queens and raised in Jersey, she lives in Brooklyn.
Visit her at

A full schedule of breakout presentations will be announced May 10, 2018.

Eight Publishers Commit Over 420,000 Books to Second Year of Book Rich Environments Initiative

The Book Rich Environments (BRE) initiative, now in its second year, aims to combat lack of literary access, often termed “book deserts,” by connecting communities with resources that help foster life-long, joyful relationships between readers and books.

With new partner and participating sites,
Book Rich Environments  programming will take
place at 37 sites across 19 states

Book Rich Environments logo

The Book Rich Environments (BRE) initiative, now in its second year, aims to combat lack of literary access, often termed “book deserts,” by connecting communities with resources that help foster life-long, joyful relationships between readers and books. BRE is a collaboration between the National Book Foundation, which serves as lead partner, the U.S. Departments of Education (ED) and Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the Urban Libraries Council, and the National Center for Families Learning, a new partner. This unique program works with HUD-assisted communities to strengthen home libraries, facilitate book-distribution events, and provide the information and tools to establish long-term connections between families, libraries, and other literary resources.

This year, with book contribution commitments from eight U.S. book publishers (Algonquin Books for Young Readers/Workman Publishing, Candlewick Press, Hachette Book Group, HarperCollins Publishers, Macmillan Publishers, Penguin Random House, Scholastic, and Simon & Schuster), BRE has secured a total of 422,000 free, high-quality, diverse books that will go to children and families in HUD-assisted communities. BRE programming will once again take place throughout the U.S., from Missouri to Colorado to New York, where last year, through BRE, the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) received the largest book donation in its history.  37 sites across 19 states will participate, and two sites will be joining for the first time, one in Phenix City, Alabama and the second in northern Minnesota, serving communities on three Anishinaabe reservations: Leech Lake, Red Lake, and White Earth.

“Our commitment to supporting and encouraging readers of all ages is unwavering.”

— David Steinberger, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the National Book Foundation

Each local public housing authority (PHA) partner pledges to hold at least three book-distribution events. The most visible part of the BRE program, these events are held at public housing buildings, community centers, and local library branches (providing opportunities for attendees to sign up for library cards). Past events have included a community barbeque in Cincinnati, a scavenger hunt in Springfield, MA, and an innovative plan to turn the otherwise tedious process of public housing renewal into a family-friendly book distribution event in Houston.

“Our commitment to supporting and encouraging readers of all ages is unwavering,” said David Steinberger, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the National Book Foundation. “We are thrilled that with the expansion of Book Rich Environments, we will be able to reach even more young people across the country with literature and stories that will be meaningful to them.”

“We firmly believe that the wonder and excitement of books are for everyone,” said Lisa Lucas, Executive Director of the National Book Foundation. “Access to those books—new, quality books that readers are able to take home and keep—is a strong foundation on which to build a rich, enthusiastic, life-long relationship with reading.”

“We firmly believe that the wonder and excitement of books are for everyone. Access to those books—new, quality books that readers are able to take home and keep—is a strong foundation on which to build a rich, enthusiastic, life-long relationship with reading.”

— Lisa Lucas, Executive Director of the National Book Foundation

National Center for Families Learning has joined as a new BRE partner this year. The Louisville-based nonprofit has a national footprint, and brings to the table nearly 30 years of broad experience with coalition-building, professional learning, and a family-centered approach to reading—experience that is invaluable to BRE’s goal of connecting families to the literary resources necessary to sustain an active interest in literature.

In its inaugural year, BRE provided over 270,000 free books to children and families in PHAs. This year’s quantity of 422,000 books represents a significant expansion in the reach of BRE resources. With a new programming partner and participating sites, BRE is not only able to provide free books that encourage and sustain home libraries for families, but is also able to activate local libraries and literary partners able to serve families in the communities where these public housing authorities are located, to develop and deliver ongoing literary and literacy programming, resulting in a program that is far reaching, but also responsive to each local community’s needs.

Books available at BRE book-distribution events include both English and Spanish language titles for kids ages 0-18, and include books by beloved children’s and YA authors such as Margaret Wise Brown, Evelyn Coleman, Donald Crews, Tomie dePaola, Arthur Dorros, John Green, and Sabaa Tahir. Titles by National Book Awards authors are also available, including Bronzeville Boys and Girls by Gwendolyn Brooks, Ramona and Her Mother by Beverly Cleary, A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle, Mango, Abuela y yo by Meg Medina, The Great Gilly Hopkins by Katherine Paterson, and Challenger Deep by Neal Shusterman.

With a focus on providing free books, programming, and vital connections to local resources, BRE seeks to make long-lasting impact within PHAs, helping to create sustainable book rich environments where literature is accessible and celebrated within the community.

  • Phenix City, AL
  • Phoenix, AZ
  • Chandler, AZ
  • Contra Costa County, CA
  • Fresno, CA
  • Los Angeles, CA
  • Marin County, CA
  • San Diego, CA
  • San Joaquin County, CA
  • San Mateo County, CA
  • Stanislaus County, CA
  • Boulder, CO
  • Sarasota, FL
  • Tampa, FL
  • Nampa, ID
  • Pocatello, ID
  • Fort Wayne, IN
  • Topeka, KS
  • Cambridge, MA
  • New Bedford, MA
  • Springfield, MA
  • Anishinaabe Reservations, MN
  • Kansas City, MO
  • Billings, MT
  • Durham, NC
  • New York, NY
  • Akron, OH
  • Cincinnati, OH
  • Brownsville, TX
  • Edinburg, TX
  • Harlingen, TX
  • Houston, TX
  • Gregory, TX
  • San Antonio, TX
  • Roanoke, VA
  • Tacoma, WA
  • Washington, DC

Martin Amis reading and discussion with Deborah Treisman – Eat, Drink & Be Literary at BAMcafe

Presented by the National Book Foundation and BAM

Martin Amis is the author of 13 novels, including Money, London Fields, Time’s Arrow, The Information, The Pregnant Widow, and, most recently, Lionel Asbo: State of England. He is the author of the memoir Experience, two collections of short stories, and six books of nonfiction, including The Moronic Inferno, Visiting Mrs. Nabokov and Other Excursions, Koba the Dread, and The War Against Cliché. Amis has served as literary editor of The New Statesman and is a regular contributor to many newspapers and journals including The New Yorker, The Atlantic, and The Guardian. He lives in Brooklyn.

Nell Freudenberger reading and discussion with Phillip Lopate – Eat, Drink & Be Literary at BAMcafe

Presented by the National Book Foundation and BAM

The acclaimed author of Lucky Girls reads from and discusses her most recent work, about a Bangladeshi Muslim woman whose online courtship leads to marriage in America.

Nell Freudenberger is the author of The Dissident, a novel about a Chinese performance artist in Los Angeles, and The Newlyweds, about a Bangladeshi Muslim woman whose online courtship leads to marriage in America. She is also the author of the short story collection Lucky Girls, which won the PEN/Malamud Award and the Sue Kaufman Prize for First Fiction. Freudenberger, a Guggenheim Fellow, was a recipient of a 2005 Whiting Award and was named one of Granta’s Best Young American Novelists and one of The New Yorker’s “20 Under 40.” She lives in Brooklyn.

Jamaica Kincaid reading and discussion with Phillip Lopate – Eat, Drink & Be Literary at BAMcafe

Presented by the National Book Foundation and BAM

The beloved author of At the Bottom of the River reads from and discusses See Now Then, her first novel in 10 years.

“Kincaid writes with passion and conviction…a musical sense of language, a poet’s understanding of how politics and history, private and public events, overlap and blur.” —The New York Times

Born in Antigua, Jamaica Kincaid is the author of the memoir My Brother, which won the Prix Femina Etranger, and the works Annie John, Lucy, Among Flowers: A Walk in the Himalaya, Mr. Potter, and The Autobiography of My Mother, which won the Lannan Literary Award for Fiction. Kincaid’s short story collection At the Bottom of the River won the Morton Dauwen Zabel Award and was nominated for a PEN/Faulkner Award. Her short fiction has appeared in The Paris Review and The New Yorker, where she was a staff writer for 19 years.

Ann Beattie reading and discussion with Deborah Treisman – Eat, Drink & Be Literary at BAMcafe

Presented by the National Book Foundation and BAM

Ann Beattie has been included in four O. Henry Award Collections and in John Updike’s Best American Short Stories of the Century. In 2000, she received the PEN/Malamud Award for achievement in the short story form. In 2005, she received the Rea Award for the Short Story. In a review of her most recent novella, Walks with Men, Jay McInerney described Beattie as “a national treasure” (The New York Times Book Review). She and her husband, Lincoln Perry, live in Key West, Florida and Charlottesville, Virginia, where she is Edgar Allan Poe Professor of Literature and Creative Writing at the University of Virginia.

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie reading and discussion with Michael Greenberg – Eat, Drink & Be Literary at BAMcafe

Presented by the National Book Foundation and BAM

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie grew up in Nigeria. Her work has been translated into 30 languages and has appeared in various publications, including The O. Henry Prize Stories 2003, The New Yorker, Granta, Financial Times, and Zoetrope. Her novel, Half of a Yellow Sun, won the Orange Broadband Prize, was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, was named a New York Times Notable Book, and was a People and Black Issues Book Review Best Book of the Year. Her first novel, Purple Hibiscus, won the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize and the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award. She is the recipient of a 2008 MacArthur Foundation fellowship, and was selected as one of The New Yorker’s “20 Under 40.” She divides her time between the United States and Nigeria.

Jennifer Egan reading and discussion with Deborah Treisman – Eat, Drink & Be Literary at BAMcafe

Presented by the National Book Foundation and BAM

Jennifer Egan has published short stories in many magazines, including The New Yorker, Harper’s, Granta, and McSweeney’s. Her first novel, The Invisible Circus, came out in 1995 and was released as a movie starring Cameron Diaz in 2001. Her second novel, Look at Me, was a National Book Award Finalist in 2001, and her third, The Keep, was a national bestseller. Her book, A Visit From the Goon Squad, won critical acclaim “as a brilliant, all-absorbing novel” (All Things Considered). Also a journalist, Egan has written many cover stories for The New York Times Magazine on topics ranging from young fashion models to the secret online lives of closeted gay teens. Her 2002 cover story on homeless children received the Carroll Kowal Journalism Award, and her 2008 story on bipolar children won an Outstanding Media Award from the National Alliance on Mental Illness. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and two sons.