The National Book Foundation Announces 2020 5 Under 35 Honorees

The National Book Foundation announced its annual 5 Under 35 honorees, a se­­lection of five fiction writers under the age of 35 whose debut work promises to leave a lasting impression on the literary landscape. Each honoree was selected by a National Book Award Winner, Finalist, or Longlisted author, or by an author previously recognized by the 5 Under 35 program.

“Since its inception in 2006, 5 Under 35 has highlighted exciting new voices with the goal of championing young authors at the start of their careers,” said David Steinberger, Chair of the National Book Foundation’s Board of Directors. “As we bring these authors into the fold, we are proud of this program’s continued tradition of uplifting unique and unforgettable debut work and introducing new readers to the next generation of ground-breaking authors.”

Throughout their vivid debuts, these five authors tackle family dynamics, identity, mythology, race, and the many meanings of discovery. For the first time in 5 Under 35 history, all of the honorees are women of color. The 2020 cohort has been longlisted by the Center for Fiction First Novel Prize, the VCU Cabell First Novelist Award, and the Booker Prize; and shortlisted for the Kirkus Prize for Fiction and the Lambda Literary Awards. Honorees’ writing has been published by the New York Times, The Cut, Granta, The Paris Review Daily, Kweli, The Yale Review, and more.

“We are so thankful for our expert selectors who read with enthusiasm and skilled discernment,” said Lisa Lucas, Executive Director of the National Book Foundation. “5 Under 35 continues to showcase outstanding craft and storytelling, and we are thrilled to welcome these five remarkable authors to the National Book Foundation family. We couldn’t be more honored to witness their limitless potential.”

This year’s 5 Under 35 selectors are 2019 National Book Award Winner Susan Choi, 2019 National Book Award Finalist Marlon James, 2018 National Book Award Longlister Tayari Jones, 2018 National Book Award Longlister Tommy Orange, and 2012 5 Under 35 honoree Justin Torres. Their decisions are made independently of the National Book Foundation staff and Board of Directors; deliberations are strictly confidential.

Previous Honorees include Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah, Lesley Nneka Arimah, Brit Bennett, Anelise Chen, Yaa Gyasi, Danielle Evans, Isabella Hammad, Lydia Kiesling, Nam Le, Johannes Lichtman, Valeria Luiselli, Kirstin Valdez Quade, Karen Russell, Bryan Washington, Claire Vaye Watkins, Ashley Wurzbacher, and Tiphanie Yanique, as well as National Book Award Finalists Akwaeke Emezi, Angela Flournoy, and Téa Obreht, and 2014 National Book Award Winner Phil Klay.

This year, the 5 Under 35 Ceremony will be presented exclusively digitally on October 20, in partnership with the Miami Book Fair. The honorees each receive a $1,000 prize. 5 Under 35 is sponsored by the Amazon Literary Partnership.

The 2020 5 Under 35 Honorees are:

K-Ming Chang, Bestiary
One World / Penguin Random House
Selected by Justin Torres, 2012 5 Under 35 Honoree

Naima Coster, Halsey Street
Little A / Amazon Publishing
Selected by Tayari Jones, 2018 National Book Award Longlist for Fiction

Raven Leilani, Luster
Farrar, Straus and Giroux / Macmillan Publishers
Selected by Susan Choi, 2019 National Book Award Winner for Fiction

Fatima Farheen Mirza, A Place for Us
SJP for Hogarth / Penguin Random House
Selected by Tommy Orange, 2018 National Book Award Longlist for Fiction

C Pam Zhang, How Much of These Hills Is Gold
Riverhead Books / Penguin Random House
Selected by Marlon James, 2019 National Book Award Finalist for Fiction

2020 National Book Awards Longlist for Fiction

The ten contenders for the National Book Award for Fiction

The National Book Foundation today announced the Longlist for the 2020 National Book Award for Fiction. The Finalists in all five categories will be revealed on October 6.

The 2020 Fiction Longlist counts three debuts among the ten titles. Only one writer, Lydia Millet, has been honored by the National Book Awards before; Millet’s novel Sweet Lamb of Heaven was Longlisted for Fiction in 2016. This year’s Longlist includes two writers who have been previously honored by the National Book Foundation’s 5 Under 35 prize, Brit Bennett and Charles Yu. The authors on the 2020 National Book Award for Fiction Longlist have earned recognition from numerous prizes, including the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Critics Circle Award, the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, and the PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize. In addition, their writing has appeared in a variety of publications, including the New York Times, The New Yorker, The Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, Elle, New York Magazine, The Paris Review, New York Review of Books, GQThe AtlanticMcSweeney’s, and more.

Three titles on this year’s Longlist are set in the American South. Brit Bennett’s The Vanishing Half is a multi-generational family saga in which the characters contemplate the consequences of their lineage. Twins Stella and Desiree escaped rural Louisiana as teenagers, but years later Desiree returns with her daughter in this work of crisp social commentary that addresses colorism, gender identity, and more. The Secret Lives of Church Ladies by Deesha Philyaw draws us into the multifaceted lives of Black women across several generations as they engage in self-discovery and seduction. In Philyaw’s first work of fiction, her characters push the boundaries of thought around morality, Christianity, and their community’s expectations. Returning to the fictional territory of Tims Creek, North Carolina in which two of his previous works also take place, the short story collection If I Had Two Wings by Randall Kenan explores appetites of all kinds, as well as characters yearning for both metaphorical and literal flight.

Two Longlisted titles mine the complexity and poignancy of apocalyptic events. In Leave the World Behind by Rumaan Alam, Brooklyn couple Amanda and Clay head out on a family vacation to Long Island, but their trip turns uneasy when the homeowners seek refuge following blackouts in New York City. As the world outside moves towards greater unrest, the group faces their perceptions about each other and the very concept of safety. Civilization’s future is at stake in A Children’s Bible by Lydia Millet, who holds a master’s degree in environmental policy. The cast of young characters in Millet’s novel easily fend for themselves as their parents remain indifferent to the devastation of the world around them in allegorical tale that defies rationalizations about climate change.

Two debut novels set overseas consider the impact of a lack of support, whether from society or family, in very different settings and time periods. In Megha Majumdar’s debut A Burning, a Facebook post results in protagonist Jivan being accused of collaborating with a terrorist on social media. With this act at its center, Majumdar lambasts the promise of social mobility through technology in India, capturing the despair felt by all of those betrayed by the promise of digital democracy and failed by their nation’s justice systems. Set in Glasgow in the 1980s, Shuggie Bain by Douglas Stuart is an epic portrayal of a working-class family haunted by alcoholism. Each of their experiences are portrayed with great care through the eyes of lonely Hugh “Shuggie” Bain, who finds himself at the margins of his own family.

Two novels interrogate interpersonal relationships and self-concept. The reveal of a family secret propels The Great Offshore Grounds by Vanessa Veselka. Originally seeking an inheritance, sisters Livy and Cheyenne join forces with their adopted younger brother Essex to find their other mother, Ann, who agreed to let Kirsten raise both daughters, provided Kirsten not reveal the details of who belonged to which mother. Their quest takes them across the country as each character works to define their own freedom. In The Index of Self-Destructive Acts by Christopher Beha, statistics whiz Sam Waxworth arrives in New York City to write a monthly column for a venerable magazine and soon finds himself entangled in a crumbling family empire. Beha’s novel meticulously explores the relationship between the old guard and new meritocracy as Waxworth unpacks his complicated relationship to his analytics career.

Everyone embodies a role in Interior Chinatown by Charles Yu and protagonist Willis Wu strives to land the best one available to an Asian-American man: Kung Fu Guy. Yu’s novel takes the concept of allegory and uses the familiar landscape of Hollywood tropes to create a nuanced, heartfelt, and stylistically unique portrait of Asian-American identity.

Publishers submitted a total of 388 books for the 2020 National Book Award for Fiction. The judges for Fiction are Roxane Gay (Chair), Cristina Henríquez, Laird Hunt, Rebecca Makkai, and Keaton Patterson. Judge’s decisions are made independently of the National Book Foundation staff and Board of Directors and deliberations are strictly confidential. Winners in all categories will be announced live at the virtual National Book Awards Ceremony on November 18.

2020 Longlist for the National Book Award for Fiction:

Rumaan Alam, Leave the World Behind
Ecco / HarperCollins Publishers

Christopher Beha, The Index of Self-Destructive Acts
Tin House Books

Brit Bennett, The Vanishing Half
Riverhead Books / Penguin Random House

Randall Kenan, If I Had Two Wings
W. W. Norton & Company

Megha Majumdar, A Burning
Alfred A. Knopf / Penguin Random House

Lydia Millet, A Children’s Bible
W. W. Norton & Company

Deesha Philyaw, The Secret Lives of Church Ladies
West Virginia University Press

Douglas Stuart, Shuggie Bain
Grove Press / Grove Atlantic

Vanessa Veselka, The Great Offshore Grounds
Alfred A. Knopf / Penguin Random House

Charles Yu, Interior Chinatown
Pantheon Books / Penguin Random House

2020 National Book Awards Longlist for Nonfiction

The ten contenders for the National Book Award for Nonfiction

The National Book Foundation announced the Longlist for the 2020 National Book Award for Nonfiction. The Finalists in all five categories will be revealed on October 6.

The 2020 Nonfiction Longlist is a mix of debut works and veteran writers, and addresses current social issues, explorations of history, works of memoir, biographies of icons, science writing, and more. Jill Lepore is the sole author who has been previously honored by the National Book Awards, as Finalist for Nonfiction in 2013. The Longlisted authors have earned recognition from other prizes, including the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Critics Circle Award, the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award for Nonfiction, the National Humanities Medal, and the Bancroft Prize. In addition, their writing has previously appeared in a variety of publications, including the New York Times, The New Yorker, The Atlantic, The New Republic, Glamour, Elle, Vogue, n+1, Tin House, The New Inquiry, The Guardian, Oxford American, Smithsonian MagazineScientific American, and more.

Michelle Bowdler’s Is Rape a Crime?: A Memoir, an Investigation, and a Manifesto is written with the perspective and insight of a public health professional. Bowdler’s own 1984 assault acts as a catalyst into a career of advocacy in this impeccably researched narrative of rape culture, revealing the deeply flawed systems intended to deal with sexual violence, and interrogating how our society views rape. The Undocumented Americans by Karla Cornejo Villavicencio is a keenly reported work written with an awareness that can only come from within one’s own community. Former DACA recipient Cornejo Villavicencio profiles undocumented people across the country, focusing on their inner lives and value beyond their status and contributions to the economy.

Afropessimism by Frank B. Wilderson III is both an autobiography and a philosophical account that asks why the perpetual cycle of slavery, in all its political, intellectual, and cultural forms, continues to define the Black experience. Afropessimism vividly takes readers through the author’s own life, showing how integral Black people are to society, yet in all places excluded from it. The one essay collection on this year’s Nonfiction Longlist, How to Make a Slave and Other Essays by Jerald Walker includes reflections on the author’s experiences in academia such as racial profiling by a campus security guard, accounts of discussing race with his children, and contemplations on disability and family, all told with a wry comedic eye and deep honesty.

Pulitzer Prize winner Isabel Wilkerson unpacks how America has been shaped by a hidden caste system in Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents. Linking the caste systems of America, India, and Nazi Germany, Wilkerson explores why those who benefit from being on the top rung are invested in maintaining our hierarchical system, and how to find a way forward through our shared humanity. Claudio Saunt turns a historian’s eye on President Jackson’s 1830 Indian Removal Act in Unworthy Republic: The Dispossession of Native Americans and the Road to Indian Territory. Drawing on firsthand accounts and numerous records produced by the federal government, Saunt reveals how the removal of Native Americans was calculated and connected to the growth of the uniquely American form of capitalism.

Two books on the list convey emotional and intimate truths of historical icons. Decades of research went into the creation of The Dead Are Arising: The Life of Malcolm X by Les Payne and Tamara Payne, a fully realized portrait of Malcolm X. Pulitzer Prize winner Les Payne set out to interview anyone who had ever known Malcolm X, and after his death in 2018, his daughter and researcher Tamara Payne completed his work. As a result of hundreds of interviews, readers get to know Malcolm X beyond his iconic role in American history, from his musical taste to how his early youth informed his Black pride. When interning at the Harry Ransom Center in Texas where the papers of writer Carson McCullers are held, Jenn Shapland discovers letters between Carson McCullers and Swiss writer Annemarie Schwarzenbach that imply a romantic relationship between the two. In My Autobiography of Carson McCullers, Shapland plumbs the depths of the Southern writer’s life as well as her own, addressing how queer love stories are hidden and finally told.

A cautionary tale, If Then: How the Simulmatics Corporation Invented the Future by Jill Lepore draws a line between current obsessions with data mining and predictive analytics and a Cold War–era market research firm. Aiming to predict and change the future, Simulmatics clientele included the John F. Kennedy presidential campaign, the Department of Defense, and major manufacturers.

Owls of the Eastern Ice: A Quest to Find and Save the World’s Largest Owl by Jonathan C. Slaght brings science writing to this year’s Longlist. Traversing Russian landscapes to study the elusive and endangered Blakiston’s fish owl, Slaght provides a rare glimpse into the everyday life of a field scientist and argues the necessity of conservation efforts.

Publishers submitted a total of 609 books for the 2020 National Book Award for Nonfiction. The judges for Nonfiction are Terry Tempest Williams (Chair), James Goodman, Yunte Huang, Hannah Oliver Depp, and David Treuer. Judge’s decisions are made independently of the National Book Foundation staff and Board of Directors and deliberations are strictly confidential. Winners in all categories will be announced live at the virtual National Book Awards Ceremony on November 18.

2020 Longlist for the National Book Award for Nonfiction:  

Michelle Bowdler, Is Rape a Crime?: A Memoir, an Investigation, and a Manifesto
Flatiron Books / Macmillan Publishers

Karla Cornejo Villavicencio, The Undocumented Americans
One World / Penguin Random House

Jill Lepore, If Then: How the Simulmatics Corporation Invented the Future
Liveright / W. W. Norton & Company

Les Payne and Tamara Payne, The Dead Are Arising: The Life of Malcolm X
Liveright / W. W. Norton & Company

Claudio Saunt, Unworthy Republic: The Dispossession of Native Americans and the Road to Indian Territory
W. W. Norton & Company

Jenn Shapland, My Autobiography of Carson McCullers
Tin House Books

Jonathan C. Slaght, Owls of the Eastern Ice: A Quest to Find and Save the World’s Largest Owl
Farrar, Straus and Giroux / Macmillan Publishers

Jerald Walker, How to Make a Slave and Other Essays
Mad Creek Books / The Ohio State University Press

Frank B. Wilderson III, Afropessimism
Liveright / W. W. Norton & Company

Isabel Wilkerson, Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents
Random House / Penguin Random House

2020 National Book Awards Longlist for Poetry

The ten contenders for the National Book Award for Poetry

The National Book Foundation announced the Longlist for the 2020 National Book Award for Poetry. The Finalists in all five categories will be revealed on October 6.

The 2020 Poetry Longlist includes emerging voices, mid-career writers, and more traditionally established poets. Independent presses are well-represented with nine titles on the list and the remaining slot is filled by a university press. Poets on this year’s list have received fellowships from National Endowment for the Arts, the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, MacArthur Fellowships and more. All the poets on the 2020 Longlist are newcomers to the National Book Awards.

Two titles on the Longlist are debut collections, Fantasia for the Man in Blue by Tommye Blount and Borderland Apocrypha by Anthony Cody. The title poem in Fantasia for the Man in Blue is a series of poems ranging throughout the book, a quartet that speaks to the experience and threat of police violence upon Black people. The complex and layered collection is drawn from reality, and exemplifies how desire lives in proximity to the danger of being a marginalized body. A work of documentary poetics, Borderland Apocrypha details the history of trauma and survival at the U.S.-Mexico border. Cody utilizes imagery, historic documents, multi-lingual erasure poems, and more to force a reckoning with history’s silence.

The desert setting of Guillotine by Eduardo C. Corral contains the voices of undocumented immigrants and border patrol agents, capturing complex portraits of interiority as Corral seamlessly moves between English and Spanish in his second collection. Natalie Diaz‘s second collection, Postcolonial Love Poem, engages with love and history in an anthem of desire against erasure while simultaneously celebrating her survival as an Indigenous queer woman.

Two works utilize commonly assumed impersonal formats as their foundation. The poems of Lillian-Yvonne Bertram’s Travesty Generator use computational processes to demonstrate that randomness offers no escape from familiar patterns of grief and misfortune. Python and Java are used to proceduralize the final moments of Eric Garner and Trayvon Martin and through these programming languages, Bertram shows the complexity of mourning, discomfort, and collective responsibility. Victoria Chang utilizes the form of the obituary to craft her lyrical Obit, examining the many natures of loss and the litany of smaller forfeitures attached to every death and how we publicly express grief.

Several collections on the Longlist concretely look back in time. The galleon trade ships controlled by the Spanish empire colonized the Philippines and enslaved Filipino workers on the ships; in The Galleons, Rick Barot questions how descendants of the exploited laborers reconcile with this history. Engaging with perspective and story, Barot shows how both history and the creative process are inextricable from subjectivity. Deeply rooted in the personal and political, DMZ Colony by Don Mee Choi is structured in eight sections and includes transcriptions of conversations with activist Ahn Hak-sop, her father’s work as a photojournalist, hand-written texts, and more. Choi deftly explores the histories of South Korea and the United States via her return from the U.S. to South Korea in 2016. In 1773, Phillis Wheatley published a book of poetry that challenged Western prejudices about African and female intellectual capabilities. Based on fifteen years of archival research, The Age of Phillis by Honorée Fanonne Jeffers reimagines Wheatley’s relationships in a fully realized life study in verse.

Unity guides A Treatise on Stars by Mei-mei Berssenbrugge which implores that we connect with the larger natural and cosmic world. This is Berssenbrugge’s thirteenth collection of poems, and a lyrical work that reveals constellations of our connectedness to fuel introspection.

Publishers submitted a total of 254 books for the 2020 National Book Award for Poetry. The judges for Poetry are Layli Long Soldier (Chair), Rigoberto González, John Hennessy, Diana Khoi Nguyen, and Elizabeth Willis. Judge’s decisions are made independently of the National Book Foundation staff and Board of Directors and deliberations are strictly confidential. Winners in all categories will be announced live at the virtual National Book Awards Ceremony on November 18.

2020 Longlist for the National Book Award for Poetry:

Rick Barot, The Galleons
Milkweed Editions

Mei-mei Berssenbrugge, A Treatise on Stars
New Directions

Lillian-Yvonne Bertram, Travesty Generator
Noemi Press

Tommye Blount, Fantasia for the Man in Blue
Four Way Books

Victoria Chang, Obit
Copper Canyon Press

Don Mee Choi, DMZ Colony
Wave Books

Anthony Cody, Borderland Apocrypha
Omnidawn Publishing

Eduardo C. Corral, Guillotine
Graywolf Press

Natalie Diaz, Postcolonial Love Poem
Graywolf Press

Honorée Fanonne Jeffers, The Age of Phillis
Wesleyan University Press

2020 National Book Awards Longlist for Translated Literature

The ten contenders for the National Book Award for Translated Literature

The National Book Foundation today announced the Longlist for the 2020 National Book Award for Translated Literature, a fifth Awards category that was added in 2018. The Finalists in all five categories will be revealed on October 6.

Ten novels originally published in eight different languages comprise this year’s Translated Literature Longlist: Arabic, German, Japanese, Korean, Persian, Spanish, Swedish, and Tamil. One of the authors, Perumal Murugan, was Longlisted for the National Book Award for Translated Literature in 2018. The authors and translators on the list have been recognized by numerous international prizes, such as the International Man Booker Prize, the Stella Prize, the August Prize, the Akutagawak Prize, the German Book Prize, the Colombian Biblioteca de Narrativa Prize, and the Languages Festival Samanvay Bhasha Samman for writing in Indian languages.

Two titles focus on animals, though from different perspectives. Perumal Murugan returns to the National Book Awards Longlist with an animal protagonist in The Story of a Goat, translated from the Tamil by N. Kalyan Raman. Following the lifetime of Poonachi, a small black goat, Murugan’s novel is grounded in stark realism and evokes empathy for the struggles and instability its central figure endures. Set on Colombia’s Pacific coast, The Bitch by Pilar Quintana is a portrait of a woman wrestling with abandonment, love, and her need to nurture. Translated from the Spanish by Lisa Dillman, the narrative follows the main character’s adoption of a dog that disappears into the jungle; when the dog returns, she nurses it to health but when it flees once more, there are brutal consequences.

Two novels reflect on violence and its effects on victims, society, and the future. Written by Adania Shibli and translated from the Arabic by Elisabeth Jaquette, Minor Detail is split between two interrelated narratives, the latter half following a young woman’s search to discover more about the tragic murder of a Palestinian teenager in 1949, who died the day she was born. In Hurricane Season by Fernanda Melchor, a witch’s murder is at the epicenter of the novel. Translated from the Spanish by Sophie Hughes and shortlisted for the International Man Booker Prize, Hurricane Season connects a series of narrators who guide the reader through their shared reality of pervasive violence.

The two debut novels on the list focus on the inner emotional life of their narrators. Kim Jiyoung, Born 1982 by Cho Nam-Joo and translated from the Korean by Jamie Chang has sold over a million copies and has been translated into twelve languages, signaling the relatability of the everywoman main character, whose life of frustration and submission is recounted to the male psychiatrist her husband sends her to. Translated from the German by Anne Posten, High as the Waters Rise by Anja Kampmann explores the emotional life of an oil rig worker whose bunkmate fell into the sea and drowned, setting off a chain of events that force his reckoning with the exploitation of natural resources.

The two novels translated from the Swedish focus on families and complex webs of emotions. The Helios Disaster by Linda Boström Knausgård, translated by Rachel Willson-Broyles, is a study of loss that brings the myth of Athena to Sweden. Twelve-year-old Anna’s father is committed to a psychiatric hospital, and when the assimilation efforts with the foster family do not work out, she is institutionalized as well. Jonas Hassen Khemiri’s The Family Clause, translated by Alice Menzies, provides insight on one family across a span of only ten days, during which relationships change and memories are brought to the surface.

Two novels on the Longlist have ghost narrators. Shortlisted for the International Booker Prize, The Enlightenment of the Greengage Tree by Shokoofeh Azar is narrated by the ghost of Bahar, a thirteen-year-old girl. Brought to English from the Persian by an anonymous translator, The Enlightenment of the Greengage Tree centers the Islamic revolution and interweaves the conflict with the lives of a family and their place in a tumultuous world. In Tokyo Ueno Station by Yu Miri and translated from the Japanese by Morgan Giles, ghost narrator Kazu visits the park in which he last lived as a homeless man. As the book unfolds, the reader learns more about his earlier years and the ways in which Japan’s modernization pushed many to the margins of society, where they were subsequently ignored.

Publishers submitted a total of 130 books for the 2020 National Book Award for Translated Literature. The judges for Translated Literature are Dinaw Mengestu (Chair), Heather Cleary, John Darnielle, Anne Ishii, and Brad Johnson. Judge’s decisions are made independently of the National Book Foundation staff and Board of Directors and deliberations are strictly confidential. Winners in all categories will be announced live at the virtual National Book Awards Ceremony on November 18.

 

2020 Longlist for the National Book Award for Translated Literature:

Shokoofeh Azar, The Enlightenment of the Greengage Tree
Translated from the Persian by Anonymous
Europa Editions

Linda Boström Knausgård, The Helios Disaster
Translated from the Swedish by Rachel Willson-Broyles
World Editions

Anja Kampmann, High as the Waters Rise
Translated from the German by Anne Posten
Catapult

Jonas Hassen Khemiri, The Family Clause
Translated from the Swedish by Alice Menzies
Farrar, Straus and Giroux / Macmillan Publishers

Fernanda Melchor, Hurricane Season
Translated from the Spanish by Sophie Hughes
New Directions

Yu Miri, Tokyo Ueno Station
Translated from the Japanese by Morgan Giles
Riverhead Books / Penguin Random House

Perumal Murugan, The Story of a Goat
Translated from the Tamil by N. Kalyan Raman
Black Cat / Grove Atlantic

Cho Nam-Joo, Kim Jiyoung, Born 1982
Translated from the Korean by Jamie Chang
Liveright / W. W. Norton & Company

Pilar Quintana, The Bitch
Translated from the Spanish by Lisa Dillman
World Editions

Adania Shibli, Minor Detail
Translated from the Arabic by Elisabeth Jaquette
New Directions

2020 National Book Awards Longlist for Young People’s Literature

The ten contenders for the National Book Award for Young People’s Literature

The National Book Foundation announced the Longlist for the 2020 National Book Award for Young People’s Literature (YPL). The Finalists in all five categories will be revealed on October 6.

This year’s Longlist is comprised entirely of newcomers to the National Book Awards. Of the ten titles selected, three are debut works: Every Body Looking, Lifting as We Climb: Black Women’s Battle for the Ballot Box, and Cemetery Boys.

Two titles are in verse, Apple (Skin to the Core) by Eric Gansworth and Every Body Looking by Candice Iloh. Both narratives are deeply personal journeys: in Every Body Looking, protagonist Ada reckons with her past while her exploration of dance grounds her in her body and points a way forward, while Gansworth’s memoir explores the legacy of injustices and abuse against the Onondaga Nation through verse and imagery, and is a declarative reclaiming of the derogatory descriptor “apple.”

A history lesson that opens in 2016, Lifting as We Climb: Black Women’s Battle for the Ballot Box by Evette Dionne draws a line from abolition to suffrage to civil rights to the work of contemporary activists, and spotlights the contributions of Black suffragettes in conjunction with the centennial of women’s suffrage. Also focusing on American history is How We Got to the Moon: The People, Technology, and Daring Feats of Science Behind Humanity’s Greatest Adventure, written and illustrated by John Rocco, which covers familiar territory, lesser known details, and the human lives behind the U.S. space program.

Traci Chee’s work of historical fiction follows fourteen teenage narrators whose lives have been changed by the forced removal of people of Japanese ancestry from their homes during World War II. We Are Not Free includes photographs and documents from the time period, enhancing this portrait of a harrowing time in our nation’s history.

The graphic novel When Stars Are Scattered is written and illustrated by the Newbery Honor winner Victoria Jamieson and based on interviews with co-author Omar Mohamed. Their work chronicles the years Mohamed spent in a Kenyan refugee camp, where limbo and hope co-exist as he awaits news about resettlement and watches the lives of those around him change.

Ancient tradition informs both Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas and The Way Back by Gavriel Savit. In Cemetery Boys, teenage trans boy Yadriel sets out to prove himself as a brujo in a tale that explores Latinx culture and the various facets of love. Jewish folklore infuses The Way Back, in which two young people travel into a world of spirits and demons and must find their way home to their nineteenth-century shtetl Tupik in Eastern Europe.

In King and the Dragonflies, Kacen Callender’s protagonist Kingston James deals with grief, sexual identity, and the perceptions and expectations of family. Family and trauma are also centered in Marcella Pixley’s Trowbridge Road; set in 1983, June Bug’s recent loss of her father to AIDS is complicated by her mother’s onset of germaphobia and depression. New neighbor Ziggy Carlo is her catalyst into the outside world.

Publishers submitted a total of 311 books for the 2020 National Book Award for Young People’s Literature. The judges for Young People’s Literature are Joan Trygg (Chair), Randy Ribay, Neal Shusterman, Ebony Elizabeth Thomas, and Colleen AF Venable. Judge’s decisions are made independently of the National Book Foundation staff and Board of Directors and deliberations are strictly confidential. Winners in all categories will be announced live at the virtual National Book Awards Ceremony on November 18.

2020 Longlist for the National Book Award for Young People’s Literature:

Kacen Callender, King and the Dragonflies
Scholastic Press / Scholastic Inc.

Traci Chee, We Are Not Free
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Evette Dionne, Lifting as We Climb: Black Women’s Battle for the Ballot Box
Viking Books for Young Readers / Penguin Random House

Eric Gansworth, Apple (Skin to the Core)
Levine Querido

Candice Iloh, Every Body Looking
Dutton Books for Young Readers / Penguin Random House

Victoria Jamieson and Omar Mohamed, When Stars Are Scattered
Dial Books for Young Readers / Penguin Random House

Marcella Pixley, Trowbridge Road
Candlewick Press

John Rocco, How We Got to the Moon: The People, Technology, and Daring Feats of Science Behind Humanity’s Greatest Adventure
Crown Books for Young Readers / Penguin Random House

Gavriel Savit, The Way Back
Knopf Books for Young Readers / Penguin Random House

Aiden Thomas, Cemetery Boys
Swoon Reads / Macmillan Publishers

The Literary Arts Emergency Fund Awards More Than $3.5 Million to 282 Literary Arts Organizations, Magazines, and Presses Across the U.S. in Historic Relief Effort

The Literary Arts Emergency Fund, launched and administered by the Academy of American Poets, the Community of Literary Magazine & Presses (CLMP), and the National Book Foundation, will be distributing $3,530,000 in emergency funding to 282 nonprofit literary arts organizations, magazines, and presses across the nation that have experienced severe financial losses due to COVID-19. The organizations and publishers to receive support reported $27,635,559 in financial losses to date and are projecting $48,137,391 in financial losses in the year ahead.

Leaders of the three organizations—Jennifer Benka, Mary Gannon, and Lisa Lucas—united to raise funds and establish the Literary Arts Emergency Fund in response to the lack of institutional support for the nonprofit organizations and publishers that sustain literary culture in the U.S. by presenting poets and writers at events and by publishing and distributing thousands of poems, stories, and essays in books, magazines, and through open online archives. They also employ writers as teaching artists who bring literature into classrooms; offer workshops, festivals, and conferences; support the creative practice of poets and writers by providing millions of dollars in grants and fellowships; and honor the achievements of poets and writers, giving their work visibility. Together, these organizations reach more than 75 million readers each year.

The Literary Arts Emergency Fund was made possible by a grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and applications were open to eligible organizations, magazines, and presses from July 17 to August 7, 2020.

The administering organizations convened three separate grantmaking panels to make recommendations for the final award decisions. The panelists were:

At the Academy of American Poets: Richard Blanco, Ruth Ellen Kocher, and Deborah Paredez

At CLMP: Harold Augenbraum, Nate Marshall, and Elda Rotor

At the National Book Foundation: Ken Chen, Andre Perry, and Keren Taylor

The literary arts organizations, magazines, and presses receiving emergency funding are: 

Arte Publico Press $50,000
Bookmarks $50,000
Cave Canem Foundation, Inc $50,000
Center for the Art of Translation $50,000
Coffee House Press $50,000
Copper Canyon Press $50,000
Feminist Press $50,000
Lambda Literary Foundation $50,000
Small Press Distribution $50,000
The Loft Literary Center $50,000
The Center for Fiction $50,000
Urban Word NYC $50,000
Writers in the Schools $50,000
Youth Speaks $50,000
Alice James Books $25,000
Archipelago Books $25,000
Asian American Writers’ Workshop $25,000
Bellevue Literary Press $25,000
Beyond Baroque Literary Arts Center $25,000
Brooklyn Book Festival, Inc. $25,000
CantoMundo $25,000
City of Asylum Pittsburgh $25,000
Gemini Ink $25,000
Graywolf Press $25,000
Herstory Writers Workshop Inc. $25,000
Just Buffalo Literary Center, Inc. $25,000
Kundiman, Inc. $25,000
Letras Latinas, the literary initiative at the University
of Notre Dame’s Institute for Latino Studies
$25,000
Literary Arts $25,000
McSweeney’s Publishing $25,000
Mizna $25,000
Northwestern University Press $25,000
Nuyorican Poets Cafe Inc. $25,000
Open Letter Books $25,000
Poets & Writers, Inc. $25,000
Red Hen Press $25,000
Center for Black Literature $25,000
Restless Books $25,000
Split This Rock $25,000
The Muse Writers Center $25,000
The PEN/Faulkner Foundation $25,000
Wesleyan University Press $25,000
Woodland Pattern Book Center $25,000
Zoeglossia $25,000
A Gathering of the Tribes $15,000
A Public Space $15,000
African Voices Communications, Inc. $15,000
Aspen Words $15,000
Association of Writers & Writing Programs $15,000
Authors Guild Foundation, Inc. $15,000
Autumn House Press $15,000
Bamboo Ridge Press $15,000
BOA Editions, Ltd. $15,000
Boston Book Festival $15,000
Bowery Arts and Science, Ltd. $15,000
Charis Circle, Inc $15,000
Children’s Book Project $15,000
ConTextos $15,000
Etruscan Press $15,000
Foundation for the Future of Literature and Literacy $15,000
Get Lit! $15,000
In-Na-Po, Indigenous Nations’ Poets $15,000
Inprint $15,000
InsideOut Literary Arts $15,000
Kaya Press $15,000
Kore Press Institute $15,000
Kweli Journal Inc $15,000
Los Angeles Review of Books $15,000
Louisville Story Program $15,000
Mass Poetry $15,000
Miami Book Fair $15,000
Milkweed Editions $15,000
Minnesota Prison Writing Workshop $15,000
O, Miami $15,000
PEN America $15,000
Poets House $15,000
Antenna $15,000
Sarabande Books $15,000
Sibling Rivalry Press $15,000
Simpson Literary Project $15,000
Small Press Traffic $15,000
Southern Word $15,000
Stadler Center for Poetry & Literary Arts at Bucknell University $15,000
Teachers and Writers Collaborative $15,000
Tennessee Williams/New Orleans Literary Festival $15,000
Texas Book Festival $15,000
The American Literary Translators Association $15,000
Blair Publishing $15,000
The Community of Writers $15,000
The Moth $15,000
The Oxford American Literary Project $15,000
Two Dollar Radio $15,000
University of Pittsburgh Press $15,000
Zora Neale Hurston/Richard Wright Foundation $15,000
American Short Fiction, Inc. $10,000
Aunt Lute Books $10,000
Behind the Book $10,000
Board of Regents of the University of Nebraska for the
University of Nebraska-Lincoln – African Poetry Book Fund
$10,000
Buckeye Book Fair $10,000
California Poets in the Schools $10,000
Carnegie Center for Literacy & Learning $10,000
CavanKerry Press $10,000
Chapter 510 & the Dept of Make Believe $10,000
Chicago Humanities Festival $10,000
City Arts & Lectures $10,000
CityLit Project $10,000
Common Foundation, Inc / The Common $10,000
contratiempo nfp $10,000
Dominican Writers Association Inc $10,000
Driftless Writing Center $10,000
DSTL Arts $10,000
Electric Lit, Inc. $10,000
Virginia Children’s Book Festival $10,000
Every Child a Reader $10,000
Four Way Books $10,000
Get Lit – Words Ignite $10,000
Girls Write Now, Inc. $10,000
Greensboro Literary Organization $10,000
Gulf Coast Journal $10,000
Hanging Loose Press $10,000
Highlights Foundation $10,000
House of SpeakEasy $10,000
Indiana Writers Center $10,000
Iowa City UNESCO City of Literature $10,000
Keep St. Pete Lit $10,000
Kenyon Review $10,000
Libros Schmibros $10,000
Lighthouse Writers Workshop $10,000
Mad Creek Books/The Ohio State University Press $10,000
Mississippi Book Festival $10,000
n+1 foundation $10,000
BOMB Magazine $10,000
Nightboat Books $10,000
Nimrod International Journal of Prose and Poetry $10,000
NY Writers Coalition Inc. $10,000
Obsidian: Literature & Arts in the African Diaspora under The Board of Trustees of Illinois State University $10,000
Omnidawn Publishing, Inc $10,000
Open Books, Ltd. $10,000
Ploughshares $10,000
Poetry Society of America $10,000
RADAR Productions $10,000
Rain Taxi $10,000
San Antonio Book Festival $10,000
Semiotext(e) Limited $10,000
Short Run Seattle $10,000
Siglio Press $10,000
Slice Literary, Inc. $10,000
So Say We All $10,000
SOMOS (Society of the Muse of the Southwest) $10,000
Street Poets Inc $10,000
The Cabin $10,000
The Litquake Foundation $10,000
The Paris Review Foundation, Inc. $10,000
The Podium Foundation / Podium RVA $10,000
The Poetry Project $10,000
The Telling Room $10,000
The Writer’s Center/Poet Lore $10,000
The Writers Grotto $10,000
Transit Books $10,000
Tulsa Literary Coalition and Magic City Books $10,000
Twelve Literary Arts $10,000
Ugly Duckling Presse, Ltd. $10,000
University of Arizona Poetry Center / University of Arizona Foundation $10,000
Wick Poetry Center $10,000
Word Up Community Bookshop / Seven Stories Institute $10,000
 Wordcrafters in Eugene / Writers in the Schools $10,000
Words Without Borders $10,000
The American Poetry Review $10,000
Write Around Portland $10,000
YMCA of Greater Syracuse – The Downtown Writer’s Center $10,000
Young Chicago Authors $10,000
ZYZZYVA $10,000
3 Hole Press $5,000
826 Boston $5,000
826 MSP $5,000
826DC $5,000
Adirondack Center for Writing $5,000
Airlie Press $5,000
Alaska Quarterly Review $5,000
Alternative Field $5,000
Apogee Journal $5,000
Appalachia Book Company $5,000
Backbone Press $5,000
Conjunctions Literary Magazine $5,000
Belladonna Series $5,000
Belt Media Collaborative $5,000
River Styx $5,000
Birds, LLC $5,000
Black Ink Book Festival $5,000
Board of Regents of the University of Nebraska for the
University of Nebraska-Lincoln – Prairie Schooner
$5,000
Borderlands: Texas Poetry Review $5,000
Bright Hill Press, Inc. $5,000
Brink Literacy Project $5,000
Brooklyn Poets, Inc. $5,000
Cambodian American Literary Arts Association $5,000
Catamaran Literary Reader $5,000
CHARM: Voices of Baltimore Youth $5,000
Chicago Poetry Center $5,000
Cleveland State University Poetry Center $5,000
Colorado Review/Center for Literary Publishing $5,000
Creative Nonfiction Foundation $5,000
Cuatrogatos Foundation, Inc. $5,000
Deep Center $5,000
Deep Vellum Publishing $5,000
Epiphany Magazine $5,000
Feminine Empowerment Movement Slam $5,000
Fence Magazine, Inc. $5,000
Fishtrap $5,000
Foglifter Press $5,000
Free Verse Project $5,000
Futurepoem Inc. $5,000
Guernica Magazine $5,000
Hudson Valley Writers Center $5,000
In Full Color $5,000
Indolent Books $5,000
Inside Literature $5,000
Kallisto Gaia Press $5,000
Kansas Authors Club $5,000
LibroMobile Arts Coop $5,000
Literary Cleveland $5,000
Literary Freedom Project $5,000
The Southern Review and LSU Press $5,000
Madison Reading Project $5,000
Makara Center for the Arts $5,000
MAKE Literary Productions, NFP $5,000
Manic D Press $5,000
Missoula Writing Collaborative $5,000
Montana Book Festival $5,000
National Youth Foundation $5,000
Nebraska Writers Collective $5,000
New Letters Magazine $5,000
New Orleans Poetry Festival $5,000
Nomadic Press $5,000
North Dakota State University Press $5,000
Northern Arizona Book Festival $5,000
One Book One New Orleans $5,000
One Story, Inc. $5,000
Pen Parentis $5,000
Perugia Press $5,000
Philippine American Writers and Artists $5,000
Pleiades Magazine / Pleiades Press $5,000
Poetic Research Bureau $5,000
Poetry Flash $5,000
Poetry Society of New York $5,000
Poetry Society of Virginia $5,000
Polyphony Lit $5,000
Room Project $5,000
Ruminate Magazine $5,000
San Francisco Writers Conference and Writing for Change Worldwide $5,000
San Francisco Zine Fest $5,000
Shout Mouse Press, Inc. $5,000
Sinister Wisdom $5,000
Skagit River Festival $5,000
St. Louis Poetry Center $5,000
Stories Matter Foundation $5,000
Sundress Publications $5,000
Switchback Books $5,000
Lost Horse Press $5,000
The Beloit Poetry Journal Foundation Inc. $5,000
The DreamYard Project, Inc. $5,000
The Massachusetts Review $5,000
The Missouri Review $5,000
The National Poetry Series $5,000
The Offing $5,000
The Point Magazine $5,000
The Seventh Wave $5,000
The Threepenny Review $5,000
The Writer’s Garret $5,000
Third World Press Foundation $5,000
Tia Chucha’s Centro Cultural $5,000
Triple Canopy $5,000
Tupelo Press, Inc. $5,000
Underground Writing $5,000
Undocupoets $5,000
New York State Writers Institute $5,000
VIDA: Women in Literary Arts $5,000
Rose O’Neill Literary House $5,000
White Pine Press $5,000
Women in Comics Collective International $5,000
Write Now! SF Bay $5,000
YALLFest $5,000
Young, Black & Lit $5,000

 

About the Academy of American Poets

The Academy of American Poets is the nation’s leading champion of poets and poetry with supporters in all fifty states. Founded in 1934, the organization produces Poets.org, the world’s largest publicly funded website for poets and poetry; originated and organizes National Poetry Month; publishes the popular Poem-a-Day series and American Poets magazine; provides award-winning resources to K–12 educators, including the Teach This Poem series; administers the American Poets Prizes; hosts an annual series of poetry readings and special events; and coordinates a national Poetry Coalition working together to promote the value poets bring to our culture. Through its prize program, the organization annually awards more funds to individual poets than any other organization, giving a total of $1,250,000 to more than 200 poets at various stages of their careers. This year, in response to the global health crisis, the Academy joined six other national organizations to launch Artist Relief, a multidisciplinary coalition of arts grantmakers and a consortium of foundations working to provide resources and funding to the country’s individual poets, writers, and artists who are impacted by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. In another similar effort, the Academy, along with two other literary arts organizations—the Council of Literary Magazines & Presses and the National Book Foundation—established the Literary Arts Emergency Fund, which will grant emergency relief funding to magazines, presses, and literary arts organizations across the U.S. that have experienced financial losses as a result of the pandemic.

About CLMP

The Community of Literary Magazines and Presses (CLMP) ensures a vibrant, diverse literary landscape by helping mission-driven independent literary magazines and presses thrive. We provide publishers with funding and technical assistance; facilitate peer-to-peer learning and group action; serve as a dependable, essential hub for best practices, resources, and nurturing community support; and build bridges to connect publishers with other groups of literary stakeholders, including readers, writers, booksellers, librarians, educators, presenting organizations, and funders. Along with directly serving 500+ member-publishers located in almost every state in the country, CLMP administers the Lit Mag Adoption program, which provides to educators and students discounted literary magazine subscriptions for use in the classroom; an annual Indie Lit Fair, featuring magazines and presses at the PEN World Voices Festival; the Literary Writers Conference, a two-day professional development event for writers held every December in New York City; and the annual Firecracker Awards for Independently Published Literature, which celebrate magazines and books that make a significant contribution to our literary culture. To learn more about CLMP, visit clmp.org/about.

About the National Book Foundation

The mission of the National Book Foundation, presenter of the National Book Awards, is to celebrate the best literature in America, expand its audience, and ensure that books have a prominent place in American culture. The Foundation approaches this work from three programmatic angles: Awards & Honors, recognizing exceptional authors, literature, and literary programs; Education & Access initiatives, helping young and adult readers develop a lifelong passion for books; and Public Programs, bringing acclaimed authors to communities nationwide to engage in conversations about books and the power of literature as a tool for understanding our world, cultivating meaningful discourse around the issues of our age. Information on all of the Foundation’s programs can be found online at nationalbook.org.

National Book Foundation to present Lifetime Achievement Award to Walter Mosley

Edwidge Danticat to present Medal to Mosley

Distinguished Contribution to American Letters medal, 2014. Photo credit: Beowulf Sheehan

The National Book Foundation, presenter of the National Book Awards, announced that it will award Walter Mosley with the 2020 Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters (DCAL). Mosley has written more than sixty critically acclaimed books across subject, genre, and category. Walter Mosley’s 1990 debut novel Devil in a Blue Dress was the first in the bestselling mystery series featuring detective Easy Rawlins, and launched Mosley into literary prominence. Mosley’s books have been translated into twenty-five languages, and he has won numerous awards, including, but not limited to, an Edgar Award for Down the River Unto the Sea, an O. Henry Award, The Mystery Writers of America’s Grand Master Award, a Grammy®, several NAACP Image awards, and PEN America’s Lifetime Achievement Award. In 2020, he was named the recipient of the Robert Kirsch Award for lifetime achievement from the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books. The DCAL will be presented to Mosley by two-time National Book Award Finalist Edwidge Danticat.

“Mosley is a master of craft and narrative, and through his incredibly vibrant and diverse body of work, our literary heritage has truly been enriched,” said David Steinberger, Chair of the Board of Directors of the National Book Foundation. “From mysteries to literary fiction to nonfiction, Mosley’s talent and memorable characters have captivated readers everywhere, and the Foundation is proud to honor such an illustrious voice whose work will be enjoyed for years to come.”

Born in Los Angeles in 1952, Mosley’s limitless imagination has fueled the creation of novels, plays, conscious-raising nonfiction, and more, and his boundless drive has often pushed him to publish two or more books a year. In addition to the many awards and accolades he has received over the years, several of his books have been adapted for film and television including Devil in a Blue Dress, released in 1995, starring Denzel Washington, Don Cheadle, and Jennifer Beals. His nonfiction writing has appeared in the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, and The Nation among other publications. Mosley is also a writer and an executive producer on the John Singleton FX drama series, “Snowfall.”

“Mosley is undeniably prolific, but what sets his work apart is his examination of both complex issues and intimate realities through the lens of characters in his fiction, as well as his accomplished historical narrative works and essays,” said Lisa Lucas, Executive Director of the National Book Foundation. “His oeuvre and his lived experience are distinctly part of the American experience. And as such, his contributions to our culture make him more than worthy of the Foundation’s Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters.”

Mosley is the thirty-third recipient of the National Book Foundation’s Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters, which was created in 1988 to recognize a lifetime of literary achievement. Previous recipients include Edmund White, Isabel Allende, Annie Proulx, Robert A. Caro, John Ashbery, Judy Blume, Don DeLillo, Joan Didion, E.L. Doctorow, Maxine Hong Kingston, Stephen King, Ursula K. Le Guin, Elmore Leonard, Norman Mailer, Toni Morrison, and Adrienne Rich. Nominations for the DCAL medal are made by former National Book Award Winners, Finalists, judges, and other writers and literary professionals from around the country. The final selection is made by the National Book Foundation’s Board of Directors. Recipients of the Foundation’s Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters receive $10,000 and a solid brass medal.

ABOUT WALTER MOSLEY

Walter Mosley is one of the most versatile and admired writers in America. He is the author of more than sixty critically acclaimed books that cover a wide range of ideas, genres, and forms including fiction (literary, mystery, and science fiction), political monographs, writing guides including Elements of Fiction, a memoir in paintings, and a young adult novel called 47. His work has been translated into twenty-five languages,

From a forthcoming collection of short stories, The Awkward Black Man, to his daring novel John Woman, which explored deconstructionist history, and his standalone crime novel Down the River Unto the Sea, which won an Edgar Award for Best Novel, the rich storylines that Mosley has created deepen the understanding and appreciation of Black life in the United States. He has introduced an indelible cast of characters into the American canon starting with his first novel, Devil in a Blue Dress, which brought Easy Rawlins, his private detective in postwar Los Angeles and his friends Jackson Blue and Raymond “Mouse” Alexander into reader’s lives. Mosley has explored both large issues and intimate realities through the lens of characters like the Black philosopher Socrates Fortlow; the elder suffering from Alzheimer’s, Ptolemy Grey; the bluesman R L; the boxer and New York private investigator Leonid McGill; the porn star of Debbie Doesn’t Do It Anymore Debbie Dare; and Tempest Landry and his struggling angel, among many others.

Mosley has also written and staged several plays including The Fall of Heaven, based on his Tempest Landry stories and directed by the acclaimed director Marion McClinton. Several of his books have been adapted for film and television including Devil in a Blue Dress (starring Denzel Washington, Don Cheadle and Jennifer Beals) and the HBO production of Always Outnumbered (starring Laurence Fishburne and Natalie Cole). His short fiction has been widely published, and his nonfiction—long-form essays and op-eds—have appeared in the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, and The Nation among other publications. He is also a writer and an executive producer on the John Singleton FX drama series, “Snowfall.”

Concerned by the lack of diversity in all levels of publishing, in 1998 Mosley established The Publishing Certificate Program with the City University of New York to bring together book professionals and students hailing from a wide range of racial, ethnic, and economic communities for courses, internships, and job opportunities. In 2013, Mosley was inducted into the New York State Writers Hall of Fame, and he is the winner of numerous awards, including an O. Henry Award, The Mystery Writers of America’s Grand Master Award, a Grammy®, several NAACP Image awards, and PEN America’s Lifetime Achievement Award. In 2020, he was named the recipient of the Robert Kirsch Award for lifetime achievement from Los Angeles Times Festival of Books.

Born and raised in Los Angeles, Mosley now lives in Brooklyn and Los Angeles.

ABOUT EDWIDGE DANTICAT

Edwidge Danticat. (Photo credit: Jonathan Demme)

Edwidge Danticat is the author of several books, including Breath, Eyes, Memory, an Oprah’s Book Club selection, Krik? Krak!, a National Book Award Finalist, and The Farming of Bones, an American Book Award winner, and Everything Inside, a National Book Critics Circle Award Finalist. She is the editor of The Butterfly’s Way: Voices from the Haitian Diaspora in the United States and Haiti Noir and Haiti Noir 2. She has written seven books for young adults and children, AnacaonaBehind the MountainsEight DaysThe Last MapouMama’s NightingaleMy Mommy Medicine, and Untwine, as well as a travel narrative, After the Dance, A Walk Through Carnival in Jacmel. Her memoir, Brother, I’m Dying, was a National Book Award Finalist in 2007 and a National Book Critics Circle Award winner for autobiography. Edwidge Danticat is a 2009 MacArthur Fellow and winner of the 2018 Neustadt International Prize for Literature. She is a two-time winner of The Story Prize, a 2020 United States Artist Fellow, and winner of the 2020 Vilcek Prize in Literature.

National Book Foundation to Present Lifetime Achievement Award to Carolyn Reidy

The late President and CEO of Simon & Schuster to be honored at the 2020 National Book Awards for her industry-leading career in publishing

Literarian medal, 2014. Photo credit: Beowulf Sheehan.

The National Book Foundation, presenter of the National Book Awards,  announced Carolyn Reidy, the late President and CEO of Simon & Schuster, as the recipient of its 2020 Literarian Award for Outstanding Service to the American Literary Community. Carolyn Reidy was unparalleled in her devotion to literature, and throughout her career at Simon & Schuster and beyond, Reidy was a tireless advocate for readers, writers, booksellers, and all booklovers across the country. Carolyn Reidy passed away on May 12, 2020. The Literarian Award will be presented to Reidy in a video montage of authors and others Reidy worked with during her career, and will be accepted by her husband, Stephen Reidy.

“Books and readers around the world have benefitted deeply from having Carolyn Reidy at the helm of the publishing industry for four decades,” said David Steinberger, Chair of the Board of Directors of the National Book Foundation. “On top of her responsibilities at Simon & Schuster, Carolyn Reidy served on our Board and as the chair of the Foundation’s Program Committee. In her almost two decades of generous service, she instilled energy, creativity, and insight into all of the National Book Foundation’s programming. Though the National Book Foundation has not presented the Literarian Award posthumously before, the Foundation’s Board was unanimous that we should recognize Carolyn and her legacy of service to literature.”

In addition to her role as CEO and President, Reidy gave unreservedly of her time both mentoring those rising through the ranks, and more formally guiding industry and charitable organizations, serving for many years on the Boards of the Association of American Publishers and Literacy Partners as well as the National Book Foundation.

“Carolyn Reidy was a singular force in the world of books, and we are forever grateful for her passion and advocacy not just for the Foundation, but also for authors and readers everywhere.” said Lisa Lucas, Executive Director of the National Book Foundation. “It was an honor to work alongside her and see firsthand how she always brought her keen vision, business acumen, and relentless compassion to everything she did; it is with great pride that we recognize her innumerable contributions in service to literature and her undeniable impact on the literary community at large.”

During Reidy’s tenure, Simon & Schuster published books by National Book Awards-honored authors such as Isabel Allende, Anthony Doerr, Walter Isaacson, Stephen King, David McCullough, Annie Proulx, Jason Reynolds, Neal Shusterman, Jesmyn Ward, among many others. From books by cultural icons to works by political leaders; from romance to children’s books, Reidy underscored the importance of reaching readers across the spectrum, and embodied it in her effort to promote a diversity of titles and leave no community overlooked.

Reidy will be honored with the Literarian Award at the 71st National Book Awards Ceremony on November 18, 2020. Her husband, Stephen Reidy, will accept the Award on her behalf along with the $10,000 prize, which Mr. Reidy will donate to Carolyn Reidy’s favorite charity, Worldreader, a non-profit that believes readers build a better world. Worldreader combines 21st-century technology, culturally relevant digital books, and supportive programming to improve learning outcomes, workforce readiness, and gender equity in vulnerable communities around the world. Since 2010, Worldreader has reached 15 million children and young adults across the Global South.

This is the sixteenth year that the Foundation has presented the Literarian Award, which is given to an individual or organization for a lifetime of achievement in expanding the audience for books and reading. Past recipients include Dr. Maya Angelou, Joan Ganz Cooney, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Terry Gross, Kyle Zimmer, the literary organization Cave Canem, Richard Robinson, Doron Weber, and, most recently, Oren J. Teicher. Nominations for the Literarian Award are made by former National Book Award Winners, Finalists, and judges, and other writers and literary professionals from around the country. Final selections are made by the National Book Foundation’s Board of Directors.

 

ABOUT CAROLYN REIDY

 

Carolyn Reidy became President and Chief Executive Officer of Simon & Schuster, Inc. in January 2008. In this role, she was responsible for all the publishing and operations of Simon & Schuster’s numerous publishing groups as well as its international companies in Australia, Canada, India and the United Kingdom.

Reidy joined Simon & Schuster in 1992 as President of the Trade Division, was named President of the Adult Publishing Group in 2001, and became President and CEO of Simon & Schuster in 2008. During Reidy’s time with the company, Simon & Schuster has published many acclaimed works, including books by Pulitzer Prize winners David W. Blight, Anthony Doerr, Doris Kearns Goodwin, Frank McCourt and David McCullough and Siddhartha Mukherjee; world figures, celebrities, newsmakers and journalists including Jimmy Carter, Hillary Rodham Clinton, Dick Cheney, Jaycee Dugard, Walter Isaacson, Phil Knight and Bob Woodward; bestselling novelists Mary Higgins Clark, Vince Flynn, Stephen King, Ruth Ware and Jennifer Weiner; works of practical advice from authorities including Ray Dalio, Angela Duckworth, Dr. Michael F. Roizen and Dr. Mehmet C. Oz, and Rhonda Byrne’s worldwide multi-million copy bestseller The Secret; and bestselling children’s and teen authors including Cassandra Clare, Jason Reynolds, Shannon Messenger, Rachel Renée Russell and Neal Shusterman.

Prior to Simon & Schuster, Reidy was President and Publisher of Avon Books, after having worked at William Morrow and Random House, where she was publisher of Vintage Books and Associate Publisher of the Random House imprint. In 2017 Reidy was named “Person of the Year” by Publishers Weekly. In 2007 Reidy was named one of “The 50 Women to Watch,” by the Wall Street Journal, and she was also is a recipient of the Matrix Award from the New York Women in Communications. She graduated from Middlebury College, and obtained an M.A. and Ph.D. in English from Indiana University, where in 2011 she was recipient of the university’s Distinguished Alumni Award.