2022 National Book Award Finalists Announced

Twenty-five Finalists to contend for National Book Awards in the categories of Fiction, Nonfiction, Poetry, Translated Literature, and Young People’s Literature


The twenty-five Finalists for the 2022 National Book Awards for Fiction, Nonfiction, Poetry, Translated Literature, and Young People’s Literature were announced with the New York Times. The five Finalists in each category were selected by a distinguished panel of judges, and were advanced from the Longlists announced in September with The New Yorker.

Between the five categories, there are five writers and one translator who have been previously honored by the National Book Awards: Gayl Jones, a 1998 Fiction Finalist; Scholastique Mukasonga, a 2019 Translated Literature Finalist; Sharon Olds, a 2002 Poetry Finalist; David Quammen, a 2018 Nonfiction Longlister; and Yoko Tawada and Margaret Mitsutani, the 2018 Translated Literature Winners. All five of the Finalists for Young People’s Literature are first-time National Book Award honorees. Six of the twenty-five Finalist titles are debuts.

Publishers submitted a total of 1,772 books for this year’s National Book Awards: 463 in Fiction, 607 in Nonfiction, 260 in Poetry, 146 in Translated Literature, and 296 in Young People’s Literature. Judges’ decisions are made independently of the National Book Foundation staff and Board of Directors, and deliberations are strictly confidential.

The Winners will be announced live on Wednesday, November 16 at the invitation-only 73rd National Book Awards Ceremony & Benefit Dinner, in person at Cipriani Wall Street in New York City, and broadcast live for readers everywhere. Two lifetime achievement awards will also be presented as part of the evening’s ceremony: Art Spiegelman will be recognized with the National Book Foundation’s Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters, presented by Neil Gaiman, and Tracie D. Hall will receive the Foundation’s Literarian Award for Outstanding Service to the American Literary Community.

Finalists for Fiction:

Tess Gunty, The Rabbit Hutch
Alfred A. Knopf / Penguin Random House

Gayl Jones, The Birdcatcher
Beacon Press

Jamil Jan Kochai, The Haunting of Hajji Hotak and Other Stories
Viking Books / Penguin Random House

Sarah Thankam Mathews, All This Could Be Different
Viking Books / Penguin Random House

Alejandro Varela, The Town of Babylon
Astra House / Astra Publishing House

Tess Gunty’s debut novel, The Rabbit Hutch, takes place over the course of one week and centers around the residents of a dilapidated affordable housing complex in fictionalized Vacca Vale, Indiana. The Birdcatcher by Gayl Jones follows a coterie of Black American artists in Ibiza—a writer and her closest friend, a sculptor whose husband repeatedly institutionalizes her for attempting to murder him. Jamil Jan Kochai explores characters of the Afghan diaspora living in the United States and modern-day Afghanistan as they wrestle with the effects of war and forced displacement in his story collection, The Haunting of Hajji Hotak and Other Stories. Set in Milwaukee at the height of the Great Recession, Sarah Thankam Mathews’s debut novel All This Could Be Different tells the story of a young queer immigrant who creates a community for herself while grappling with the oppressive demands of capitalism. In Alejandro Varela’s debut The Town of Babylon, a queer Latinx professor returns to suburban Long Island to care for his parents and struggles to revisit, and reconcile, his past and future.

Finalists for Nonfiction:

Meghan O’Rourke, The Invisible Kingdom: Reimagining Chronic Illness
Riverhead Books / Penguin Random House

Imani Perry, South to America: A Journey Below the Mason-Dixon to Understand the Soul of a Nation
Ecco / HarperCollins Publishers 

David Quammen, Breathless: The Scientific Race to Defeat a Deadly Virus
Simon & Schuster

Ingrid Rojas Contreras, The Man Who Could Move Clouds: A Memoir
Doubleday / Penguin Random House

Robert Samuels and Toluse Olorunnipa, His Name Is George Floyd: One Man’s Life and the Struggle for Racial Justice
Viking Books / Penguin Random House

Drawing from her own experiences of living with chronic illness and informed by interviews with scientists, doctors, and patients alike, Meghan O’Rourke sheds light on the often-flawed development of modern Western medicine in The Invisible Kingdom: Reimagining Chronic Illness. In South to America: A Journey Below the Mason-Dixon to Understand the Soul of a Nation, Imani Perry blends personal history and travel narrative as she traverses the American South in an examination of race, politics, culture, and identity. David Quammen interviewed close to 100 scientists and health officials to record the scientific response to COVID-19—from the frantic efforts to trace the virus’s origins to the development of an effective vaccine—and the ongoing quest to understand the disease’s long-lasting impacts in Breathless: The Scientific Race to Defeat a Deadly Virus. In The Man Who Could Move Clouds: A Memoir, Ingrid Rojas Contreras travels to her native Colombia with her mother to disinter the remains of her late grandfather—and unravel generations of ancestral history, and the magic within it. His Name Is George Floyd: One Man’s Life and the Struggle for Racial Justice, by Washington Post reporters Robert Samuels and Toluse Olorunnipa, illuminates the life of George Floyd, a man whose untimely death ignited protests against police brutality and racial injustice across the United States.

Finalists for Poetry:

Allison Adelle Hedge Coke, Look at This Blue
Coffee House Press

John Keene, Punks: New & Selected Poems
The Song Cave

Sharon Olds, Balladz
Alfred A. Knopf / Penguin Random House

Roger Reeves, Best Barbarian
W. W. Norton & Company

Jenny XieThe Rupture Tense
Graywolf Press

Allison Adelle Hedge Coke examines America’s long history of violence against people, animals, and the Earth in her book-length poem, Look at This Blue. Over seven sections, Punks: New & Selected Poems covers several decades of John Keene’s career and features unpublished and new work that contemplates love, lust, family, Blackness, and queerness. Sharon Olds considers her relationship with her late mother, grapples with her white privilege, and expresses a deep appreciation for the many stages of life and love in her latest collection, Balladz. In Best Barbarian, Roger Reeves interrogates beloved writers and pop culture figures alike, explores racism in the United States and around the world, and investigates the horrors faced by immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border and Black victims of police brutality. Beginning with poems inspired by photojournalist Li Zhensheng’s rare images of the Chinese Cultural Revolution, Jenny Xie’s The Rupture Tense recovers ancestral history through an investigation of state-sanctioned memory loss and intergenerational trauma.

Finalists for Translated Literature:

Jon Fosse, A New Name: Septology VI-VII
Translated from the Norwegian by Damion Searls
Transit Books

Scholastique Mukasonga, Kibogo
Translated from the French by Mark Polizzotti
Archipelago Books

Mónica Ojeda, Jawbone
Translated from the Spanish by Sarah Booker
Coffee House Press

Samanta Schweblin, Seven Empty Houses
Translated from the Spanish by Megan McDowell
Riverhead Books / Penguin Random House

Yoko Tawada, Scattered All Over the Earth
Translated from the Japanese by Margaret Mitsutani
New Directions Publishing

A New Name: Septology VI-VII by Jon Fosse and translated from the Norwegian by Damion Searls is a story of two doppelgängers—both painters named Asle living nearly indistinguishable lives—that explores artmaking, friendship, and faith. Translated from the French by Mark Polizzotti, Scholastique Mukasonga’s Kibogo weaves stories of Rwanda’s core mythologies—those of a country faced with drought, famine, and war—in defiance of the colonialists and Christian missionaries determined to suppress and erase them. Two Catholic high school classmates bond over their mutual love of horror stories and become inseparable, near mirror images of each other in Jawbone by Mónica Ojeda and translated from the Spanish by Sarah Booker. In Seven Empty Houses, translated from the Spanish by Megan McDowell, Samanta Schweblin presents seven different empty houses where families are missing people, memories, love, furniture, or intimacy, in an exploration of the universal desire for human connection. In Scattered All Over the Earth by Yoko Tawada and translated from the Japanese by Margaret Mitsutani, protagonist Hiruko is a refugee from Japan—a country that, along with her mother tongue, no longer exists—who teaches her invented language to young immigrants in Denmark.

Finalists for Young People’s Literature:

Kelly Barnhill, The Ogress and the Orphans
Algonquin Young Readers / Workman Publishing

Sonora Reyes, The Lesbiana’s Guide to Catholic School
Balzer + Bray / HarperCollins Publishers

Tommie Smith, Derrick Barnes, and Dawud Anyabwile, Victory. Stand!: Raising My Fist for Justice
Norton Young Readers / W. W. Norton & Company

Sabaa Tahir, All My Rage
Razorbill / Penguin Random House

Lisa Yee, Maizy Chen’s Last Chance
Random House Books for Young Readers / Penguin Random House

In Kelly Barnhill’s The Ogress and the Orphans, the children of the Orphan House are determined to defend a kind Ogress who falls under suspicion and uncover the true villain of Stone-in-the-Glen in this fantastical tale about the power of community. Sonora Reyes’s debut novel The Lesbiana’s Guide to Catholic School introduces readers to 16-year-old Yamilet, a queer Mexican American girl, during her first year as a transfer student at a predominantly white and wealthy Catholic school. Tommie Smith’s graphic memoir Victory. Stand!: Raising My Fist For Justice, co-written with Derrick Barnes and illustrated by Emmy Award-winning artist Dawud Anyabwile, details both Smith’s childhood and athletic career, culminating in the Mexico City Olympics of 1968 where Smith, winner of the gold medal in the 200-meter sprint, and John Carlos, winner of the bronze medal, raised their fists in protest of racial injustice. Spanning decades and crossing oceans, Sabaa Tahir’s All My Rage follows the story of a working-class Pakistani American family from their origins in Lahore to their present-day life running a motel in Juniper, California. In Maizy Chen’s Last Chance, Lisa Yee’s titular character spends the summer in Last Chance, Minnesota and, as she and her mother care for her ailing grandfather, discovers family secrets that strengthen her own relationship with her culture.

The National Book Foundation will broadcast the National Book Awards Ceremony on YouTube, Facebook, and the Foundation’s website at nationalbook.org/awards. Winners of the National Book Awards receive $10,000 and a bronze medal and statue; Finalists receive $1,000 and a bronze medal; Winners and Finalists in the Translated Literature category will split the prize evenly between author and translator.

The Awards Ceremony is the culminating event in a series of National Book Awards events. The annual National Book Awards Teen Press Conference, hosted by Rita Williams-Garcia, will take place on the morning of Tuesday, November 15 at 92NY. The National Book Awards Finalists Reading, in which all the Finalists will read from their work, will be hosted at New York University on the evening of November 15; this event will be both in-person and online.

2022 National Book Awards Longlist for Fiction

The ten contenders for the National Book Award for Fiction

Find The New Yorker’s announcement here.

The National Book Foundation announced the Longlist for the 2022 National Book Award for Fiction. The Finalists in all five categories will be revealed on Tuesday, October 4.

Of the ten titles on the 2022 Fiction Longlist, eight are debut works of fiction. Only one writer on this year’s list has been previously honored by the National Book Awards: Gayl Jones was a Finalist for the National Book Award for Fiction in 1998 for her novel, The Healing. The Longlisted authors have been recognized by numerous other awards, including the American Society of Magazine Editors (ASME) Award for Fiction, DSC Prize for South Asian Literature, Emmy Awards, PEN/Hemingway Award for Debut Novel, Plimpton Prize for Fiction, Terry Southern Prize for Humor, and the Pushcart Prize. Among these ten writers are Hodder, Iowa Writers’ Workshop, National Endowment for the Arts, Stegner, and Asian American Writers’ Workshop fellows. In addition, the Longlisted authors’ writing has been featured in Best American Short Stories, Electric Literature, the Los Angeles Times, O, The Oprah Magazine, the New York Times, The New Yorker, The Paris Review, Vogue, ZYZZYVA, and elsewhere.

The Birdcatcher by Gayl Jones follows a writer Amanda as she joins her friend Catherine—a sculptor who is repeatedly institutionalized for attempting to murder her husband Ernest—in Ibiza. Jones’s novel, both wry and prescient, is a rumination on artmaking, relationships, and living in exile as a Black American. Another, far different trio is at the center of Fatimah Asghars debut novel, When We Were Sisters, which explores the interior lives of three orphaned Muslim American girls who are left to raise one another after their parents’ deaths, and to build homes both within and outside of each other. Home appears, again, in The Town of Babylon, when Andrés, a gay Latinx professor, returns to his suburban hometown to care for his parents. Alejandro Varela examines a community’s limited economic opportunities and a country’s deficient healthcare system in this debut novel about what it means to return to the place and people you once called home.

Two more Longlisted titles, both debuts, are also told from the perspective of immigrants and children of immigrants building a life for themselves and their families in the United States. Jonathan Escoffery’s collection of interlinked short stories, If I Survive You, traces the lives of a family from Jamaica living in Miami. The stories center on Trelawny, the younger of two brothers, and his family as they fight to survive against racism, Hurricane Andrew, and a recession in a collection that interrogates the realities of assimilation and the hollow promise of the American Dream. Set in Milwaukee at the height of the Great Recession, Sarah Thankam Mathews’s All This Could be Different is the story of Sneha, a young queer immigrant who creates a community for herself while grappling with the pressures of financially supporting her family in India, the threat of lay-offs and homelessness, and the oppressive demands of capitalism.

Jamil Jan Kochai explores characters of the Afghan diaspora living in the United States and in modern-day Afghanistan in his short story collection, The Haunting of Hajji Hotak and Other Stories. From children and college students to doctors and government surveillance workers, these characters wrestle with the effects of war and forced displacement.

Set in Alaska, Leigh Newman’s debut short story collection, Nobody Gets Out Alive, centers girls and women navigating domestic troubles, broken family dynamics, and the exploitation of self and homeland in a male-dominated society. In the continental US, The Rabbit Hutch focuses on the residents of a fictionalized affordable housing complex in Vacca Vale, Indiana. Taking place over the course of one week and returning, most closely, to Blandine, an 18-year-old who recently aged out of the foster care system, Tess Gunty’s debut novel is a study on contemporary American life—of a failing city and country.

This year’s Longlist also includes two titles deeply rooted in the supernatural world. In Marytza K. Rubio’s genre-defying debut collection of short stories, the characters—which span from women to animals to the moon—negotiate with nature, invoking Mexican American myths, mystics, and magic. Maria, Maria & Other Stories stretches across the Americas, reimagines the boundaries of reality and fiction, and expands upon the spaces between life and death. Shutter by Ramona Emerson brings crime fiction to the Longlist with the story of Rita Todacheene, a forensic photographer in New Mexico whose crime scene photos have solved countless cases. Driven away from the Navajo reservation where she grew up because of her ability to communicate with ghosts, Rita finds herself the target of a dangerous drug cartel in this debut that is part paranormal horror and part coming-of-age story.

Publishers submitted a total of 463 books for the 2022 National Book Award for Fiction. The judges for Fiction are Ben Fountain (Chair), Brandon Hobson, Pam Houston, Dana Johnson, and Michelle Malonzo. Judges’ 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 National Book Awards Ceremony on Wednesday, November 16.

2022 Longlist for the National Book Award for Fiction:

Fatimah Asghar, When We Were Sisters
One World / Penguin Random House

Ramona Emerson, Shutter
Soho Crime / Soho Press

Jonathan Escoffery, If I Survive You
MCD / Farrar, Straus and Giroux / Macmillan Publishers

Tess Gunty, The Rabbit Hutch
Alfred A. Knopf / Penguin Random House

Gayl Jones, The Birdcatcher
Beacon Press 

Jamil Jan Kochai, The Haunting of Hajji Hotak and Other Stories
Viking Books / Penguin Random House 

Sarah Thankam Mathews, All This Could Be Different
Viking Books / Penguin Random House

Leigh Newman, Nobody Gets Out Alive
Scribner / Simon & Schuster

Marytza K. Rubio, Maria, Maria & Other Stories
Liveright / W. W. Norton & Company

Alejandro Varela, The Town of Babylon
Astra House / Astra Publishing House

2022 National Book Awards Longlist for Nonfiction

The ten contenders for the National Book Award for Nonfiction

Find The New Yorker’s announcement here.

The National Book Foundation announced the Longlist for the 2022 National Book Award for Nonfiction. The Finalists in all five categories will be revealed on Tuesday, October 4.

The 2022 Nonfiction Longlist is comprised of a mix of debut and established writers, and includes works of memoir, science writing, biographies of American political figures, explorations of US and global history, and more. A majority of the Longlisted authors are newcomers to the National Book Awards and the National Book Foundation, with exceptions being David Quammen, who was Longlisted for the National Book Award for Nonfiction in 2018, and Kelly Lytle Hernández, who was a 2019-2020 Literature for Justice Committee Member and a 2020-2021 Literature for Justice selected title. This year’s Nonfiction Longlist includes two Guggenheim Fellows and a MacArthur Fellow. In addition, the Longlisted authors have previously been honored by the California Book Awards, the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, the PEN/Jacqueline Bograd Weld Award, and the Pulitzer Prize. Their writing has previously appeared in The Atlantic, The Believer, Best American Essays, Harper’s Magazine, National Geographic, The New Yorker, the New York Times, The Washington Post, ZYZZYVA, and more.

Three genre-bending memoirs on the Longlist weave together the personal, political, and everything in between. After an accident leaves her with amnesia, Ingrid Rojas Contreras travels to her native Colombia with her mother to disinter the remains of her late grandfather—a curandero, or community healer with magical powers. The Man Who Could Move Clouds: A Memoir untangles the legacies of colonialism, trauma, and mysticism in Colombia’s history, her ancestral lineage, and within Rojas Contreras herself. In Uncommon Measure: A Journey Through Music, Performance, and the Science of Time, author Natalie Hodges delves into the psychology of musicality inspired by her own crippling performance anxiety. Hodges combines music theory, neuroscience, and quantum physics alongside personal stories of her abusive father, her mother’s immigration to the US from Korea, and the high expectations that fueled her dream of becoming a concert solo violinist. In Lost & Found: A Memoir, Kathryn Schulz writes about losing her beloved father while simultaneously meeting her future wife, in a meditation on the interconnectedness of joy and grief. Schulz explores her own deeply-felt experiences with essayistic prose on universal everyday losses—a childhood toy, a letter, a wallet—revealing the oddities in the category of loss contrasted with the delight in the objects, new ideas, and connections that can be found throughout one’s life.

Reflecting the incalculably far-reaching effects of the global pandemic, COVID-19 is addressed in three of this year’s Longlisted titles. Most closely tied to the ongoing pandemic, David Quammen interviewed close to 100 scientists and health officials in order to record the scientific response to COVID-19—from the frantic efforts to trace its origins to the development of an effective vaccine, and the ongoing quest to understand the disease’s long-lasting impacts in Breathless: The Scientific Race to Defeat a Deadly Virus. Drawing from her own experiences of living with an invisible, chronic illness and accompanied by interviews with scientists, doctors, and patients alike, Meghan O’Rourke sheds light on the development—and, often—flaws of modern Western medicine. The Invisible Kingdom: Reimagining Chronic Illness makes the case for a shift in our approach to diagnosing and treating diseases, especially as healthcare infrastructures prepare to treat patients living with long COVID and other poorly understood medical conditions. Set in four continents across the globe, Bright Unbearable Reality: Essays tackles human migration, displacement, and the global pandemic. A former war correspondent, Anna Badkhen examines grief through essays that contemplate memory, belonging, the meaning of home, and, ultimately, the hope catalyzed by human connection.

Authors and historians Kelly Lytle Hernández and Imani Perry reframe what we think we know of US and global identity and history. Lytle Hernández depicts the cross-border history of the migrant rebels, known as magonistas, who paved the way for the 1910 Mexican Revolution led by brothers Jesús and Ricardo Flores Magón. Bad Mexicans: Race, Empire, and Revolution in the Borderlands recounts President Porfirio Díaz’s rise to power, the United States’ role in undermining the revolt, and how those events continue to influence US–Mexico relations today. Perry journeys through the American South in a blend of personal history, travel narrative, and an examination of race, politics, culture, and identity. South to America: A Journey Below the Mason-Dixon to Understand the Soul of a Nation tells the stories of immigrants, enslaved people, and Perry’s own ancestors to demonstrate that we must first understand the South before we can fully understand the United States.

In the intensively researched His Name Is George Floyd: One Man’s Life and the Struggle for Racial Justice, Washington Post reporters Robert Samuels and Toluse Olorunnipa illuminate the life of a man whose untimely death reverberated around the world. This biography is both an exploration of George Floyd’s family roots, and an examination of how housing inequality, educational system disparities, the war on drugs, and the crisis of mass incarceration all led to a fateful moment in history that ignited protests against police brutality and racial injustice across the United States.

Only decades earlier in American history, John A. Farrell chronicles the life of Edward M. Kennedy, heralded as one of America’s most important political figures, and provides new insight into his private life and public career, through access to his personal diary and interviews with family members, former staffers, and archivists. In Ted Kennedy: A Life, readers inhabit the mind of the youngest of the Kennedy brothers through his inherited status, scandals, tragedies, and political triumphs.

Publishers submitted a total of 607 books for the 2022 National Book Award for Nonfiction. The judges for Nonfiction are Carol Anderson, Melissa Febos, Thor Hanson, Janet Webster Jones, and Oscar Villalon (Chair). Judges’ 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 National Book Awards Ceremony on Wednesday, November 16.

2022 Longlist for the National Book Award for Nonfiction:

Anna Badkhen, Bright Unbearable Reality: Essays
New York Review Books

John A. Farrell, Ted Kennedy: A Life
Penguin Press / Penguin Random House

Natalie Hodges, Uncommon Measure: A Journey Through Music, Performance, and the Science of Time
Bellevue Literary Press

Kelly Lytle Hernández, Bad Mexicans: Race, Empire, and Revolution in the Borderlands
W. W. Norton & Company

Meghan O’Rourke, The Invisible Kingdom: Reimagining Chronic Illness
Riverhead Books / Penguin Random House

Imani Perry, South to America: A Journey Below the Mason-Dixon to Understand the Soul of a Nation
Ecco / HarperCollins Publishers

David Quammen, Breathless: The Scientific Race to Defeat a Deadly Virus
Simon & Schuster

Ingrid Rojas Contreras, The Man Who Could Move Clouds: A Memoir
Doubleday / Penguin Random House 

Robert Samuels and Toluse Olorunnipa, His Name Is George Floyd: One Man’s Life and the Struggle for Racial Justice
Viking Books / Penguin Random House

Kathryn Schulz, Lost & Found: A Memoir
Random House / Penguin Random House

2022 National Book Awards Longlist for Poetry

The ten contenders for the National Book Award for Poetry

Find The New Yorker’s announcement here.

The National Book Foundation announced the Longlist for the 2022 National Book Award for Poetry. The Finalists in all five categories will be revealed on Tuesday, October 4.

Three of this year’s Longlisted poets are past National Book Award-honored authors: Jay Hopler was a Finalist for Poetry in 2016, Sharon Olds was a Finalist for Poetry in 2002, and Jenny Xie was a Finalist for Poetry in 2018. The Longlist includes a MacArthur Fellow, a Pulitzer Prize winner, and three Whiting Award winners. This year’s poets have received fellowships from the American Academy in Rome, Cave Canem, MacDowell, Kundiman, the Jerome Foundation, Poetry Foundation, Lannan Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts, and the Library of Congress. Other prizes that have recognized the Longlisted poets are: the American Book Awards, the Amy Awards, the Pushcart Prizes, the T. S. Eliot Prizes, and the Yale Series of Younger Poets Prizes. One of the books comes from a university press and seven come from independent publishers, including two publishers that are appearing on the National Book Award Longlists for the first time: The Song Cave and YesYes Books. The Longlist includes poets in all stages of their careers, including two debut poetry collections.

Two titles on the Longlist offer meditations on personal and communal grief, and reflections on the joys of living. Facing a terminal cancer diagnosis, Jay Hopler reflects on the meaning of life through the compassionate, funny, and introspective poems in his collection, Still Life. Hopler passed away days after the collection’s publication. Sharon Olds considers early loves and her relationship with her late mother, grapples with her white privilege, and expresses a deep appreciation for the many stages of life in her latest collection. Among the poems in Balladz are ones written during quarantine, as well as a series of self-titled “Amherst Balladz” that honor the legacy of Emily Dickinson.

What is living if not the desire to see and be seen, as Shelley Wong expresses so tenderly in her debut collection that centers queer women of color—at Pride dances, late-night meals in Chinatown, and a summer on Fire Island. As She Appears explores femininity, sexuality, and identity, and remains open to joy, lust, and self-love despite, or in contradiction to, the brokenness of the world.

Rio Cortez, Sherry Shenoda, and Jenny Xie call on their ancestors—real and imagined—in their Longlisted poetry collections. Rio Cortez recounts and reimagines her family’s history as “Afropioneers” in the American West, and by turn, acknowledges the role that Black people played in exploring the United States after the Reconstruction Era. Golden Ax is an examination of how the past, present, and future are intertwined, and a rumination on Black womanhood and the yearning for freedom. Mummy Eaters juxtaposes the concept of corpse preservation and eternal life with the practice of mummy eating in 16th and 17th century Europe. Sherry Shenoda draws from Ancient Egyptian history and mythology to visualize the journey from mummification and to the afterlife—in this collection that is written as a call and response between an imagined ancestor and the author as descendant. In another historical reckoning, Jenny Xie’s collection begins with poems inspired by photojournalist Li Zhensheng, whose images offer a rare visual documentation of the Chinese Cultural Revolution. The Rupture Tense recovers ancestral history through an investigation of state-sanctioned memory loss and intergenerational trauma.

Over seven sections, Punks: New & Selected Poems covers several decades of John Keene’s career and features unpublished and new work that contemplate love, lust, family, Blackness, and queerness. Told through a chorus of voices, styles, and modes, these poems are a celebration of personal and collective memory, art, and survival. Spanning over 50 years of Quincy Troupe’s life and career, Duende honors the memory of those lost to the transatlantic slave trade, pays tribute to the Black Lives Matter movement, and remembers musical, literary, and pop culture icons in a celebration of art, poetry, and music.

In Best Barbarian, Roger Reeves interrogates beloved writers and pop culture figures alike, explores racism in the United States and around the world, and contemplates the horrors faced by immigrants crossing the US-Mexico border and Black victims of police brutality. Allison Adelle Hedge Coke, too, grapples with America’s long history of violence against people, animals, and the Earth in Look at this Blue. Her book-length poem courageously warns of a dire future terrorized by mass extinction and the impacts of climate change and offers a timely—and time-sensitive—wake-up call.

Publishers submitted a total of 260 books for the 2022 National Book Award for Poetry. The judges for Poetry are Kwame Dawes (Chair), Juan Felipe Herrera, Keetje Kuipers, January Gill O’Neil, and Mai Der Vang. Judges’ 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 National Book Awards Ceremony on Wednesday, November 16.

2022 Longlist for the National Book Award for Poetry:

Rio Cortez, Golden Ax
Penguin Books / Penguin Random House

Allison Adelle Hedge Coke, Look at This Blue
Coffee House Press

Jay Hopler, Still Life
McSweeney’s

John Keene, Punks: New & Selected Poems
The Song Cave

Sharon Olds, Balladz
Alfred A. Knopf / Penguin Random House

Roger Reeves, Best Barbarian
W. W. Norton & Company

Sherry Shenoda, Mummy Eaters
University of Nebraska Press

Quincy Troupe, Duende
Seven Stories Press

Shelley Wong, As She Appears
YesYes Books

Jenny Xie, The Rupture Tense
Graywolf Press

2022 National Book Awards Longlist for Translated Literature

The ten contenders for the National Book Award for Translated Literature

Find The New Yorker’s announcement here.

The National Book Foundation today announced the Longlist for the 2022 National Book Award for Translated Literature. The Finalists in all five categories will be revealed on Tuesday, October 4.

The ten titles on this year’s Translated Literature Longlist were originally written in nine different languages: Arabic, Danish, French, German, Japanese, Norwegian, Persian, Polish, and Spanish. Six honorees have previously been recognized by the National Book Awards. Martin Aitken was a Finalist for Translated Literature in 2018, Jennifer Croft was a Finalist for Translated Literature in 2018, Scholastique Mukasonga was a Finalist for Translated Literature in 2019, Yoko Tawada and Margaret Mitsutani were the Winners of the National Book Award for Translated Literature in 2018, and Olga Tokarczuk was a Finalist for Translated Literature in 2018 and Longlisted in 2019. The authors and translators on the list have been recognized by numerous international prizes, including the Akutagawa Prize, the Prix de la Littérature Arabe, the International Booker Prize, and the PEN Translation Prize. Their work has appeared in a variety of publications, including Granta, Latin American Literature Today, Los Angeles Review of Books, The New Yorker, the New York Times, The Paris Review, and Translation Review, among others.

Three works explore mysticism, mythology, and religion across centuries. Ibn Arabi’s Small Death by Mohammed Hasan Alwan is a first-person fictionalized account of the life of Sufi master, poet, and philosopher Ibn Arabi. Translated from the Arabic by William M. Hutchins, readers follow Ibn Arabi as he travels through 11th and 12th-century Europe, Northern Africa, and the Middle East on a journey of self-discovery that profoundly influenced his future works. Written by Olga Tokarczuk and translated from the Polish by Jennifer Croft, The Books of Jacob is an epic tale based on a real historical figure, Jacob Frank, set in the mid-18th century. The arrival of a charming young Jewish man in a Polish village, and his ensuing reinventions of self, attracts enemies and a growing audience that believes him to be the Messiah. Translated from the French by Mark Polizzotti, Scholastique Mukasonga’s Kibogo, named for the legendary son of a king, weaves stories of Rwanda’s core mythologies—those of a country faced with drought, famine, and war—in defiance of the colonialists and Christian missionaries determined to suppress and erase them.

Two Longlisted titles contemplate the impacts of war on individuals, families, and communities. Shahriar Mandanipour’s story collection Seasons of Purgatory, translated from the Persian by Sara Khalili, addresses the cruelties of war through the perspectives of those most affected by the never-ending violence—a soldier reevaluating his role as a nuclear power plant guard, a friendship that is inextricably linked to the horrors of war, and the slow disintegration of an Iraqi corpse wounded in battle. Where You Come From follows a family displaced by the war in Yugoslavia—their lineage, their lives before the conflict, and their attempts to build a future for themselves in Germany. Written by Saša Stanišić and translated from the German by Damion Searls, the novel is a blend of autofiction and fable, set in a village where only thirteen people remain, that blurs the line between truth and memory.

Doppelgängers are a shared thread in the works of Jon Fosse and Mónica Ojeda. Two Catholic high school classmates bond over their mutual love of horror stories and become inseparable, near mirror images of each other in Mónica Ojeda’s Jawbone. Translated from the Spanish by Sarah Booker, the novel draws from the internet horror phenomenon, “creepypastas,” and creates a world where villains and victims become impossible to distinguish. A New Name: Septology VI-VII by John Fosse is the story of two doppelgängers, both painters named Asle living nearly indistinguishable lives. Translated from the Norwegian by Damion Searls, A New Name explores artmaking, friendship, and faith and the final installment of Fosse’s Septology series.

Two inventive novels are set in dystopian futures. In Scattered All Over the Earth, Hiruko is a climate refugee from Japan—a country that, along with her mother tongue, no longer exists—who teaches her invented language to young immigrants in Denmark. This dystopian novel, the first in a planned trilogy by National Book Award Winner Yoko Tawada and translated from the Japanese by Margaret Mitsutani, interrogates the porosity of borders, climate change, language, and forced migration. The Employees by Olga Ravn traces the daily lives of the human and humanoid crew members aboard the Six-Thousand Ship. This 22nd-century workplace novel, translated from the Danish by Martin Aitken, follows the space crew as they become attached to a collection of strange objects from a foreign planet, satirizing late-capitalist productivity and questioning what it means to be human.

Finally, the seven stories in Samanta Schweblin’s collection present seven different empty houses where families are missing people, memories, love, furniture, or intimacy. Seven Empty Houses, translated from the Spanish by Megan McDowell, is an exploration of the universal desire for human connection.

Publishers submitted a total of 146 books for the 2022 National Book Award for Translated Literature. The judges for Translated Literature are Nick Buzanski, Veronica Esposito, Ann Goldstein (Chair), Rohan Kamicheril, and Russell Scott Valentino. Judges’ 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 National Book Awards Ceremony on Wednesday, November 16.

2022 Longlist for the National Book Award for Translated Literature:

Mohammed Hasan Alwan, Ibn Arabi’s Small Death
Translated from the Arabic by William M. Hutchins
Center for Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Texas at Austin

Jon Fosse, A New Name: Septology VI-VII
Translated from the Norwegian by Damion Searls
Transit Books

Shahriar Mandanipour, Seasons of Purgatory
Translated from the Persian by Sara Khalili
Bellevue Literary Press

Scholastique Mukasonga, Kibogo
Translated from the French by Mark Polizzotti
Archipelago Books

Mónica Ojeda, Jawbone
Translated from the Spanish by Sarah Booker
Coffee House Press

Olga Ravn, The Employees
Translated from the Danish by Martin Aitken
New Directions Publishing

Samanta Schweblin, Seven Empty Houses
Translated from the Spanish by Megan McDowell
Riverhead Books / Penguin Random House

Saša Stanišić, Where You Come From
Translated from the German by Damion Searls
Tin House Books

Yoko Tawada, Scattered All Over the Earth
Translated from the Japanese by Margaret Mitsutani
New Directions Publishing

Olga Tokarczuk, The Books of Jacob
Translated from the Polish by Jennifer Croft
Riverhead Books / Penguin Random House

2022 National Book Awards Longlist for Young People’s Literature

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

Find The New Yorker’s announcement here.

The National Book Foundation today announced the Longlist for the 2022 National Book Award for Young People’s Literature (YPL). The Finalists in all five categories will be revealed on Tuesday, October 4.

This year’s Longlist includes two authors who have been previously honored by the National Book Awards: Traci Chee was a Finalist for Young People’s Literature in 2020, and Anna-Marie McLemore was Longlisted for Young People’s Literature in 2016 and 2021. The authors and illustrators on this list have been honored by the Newbery Honor and Medal, the Walter Honor, the Printz Honor, the Coretta Scott King Book Award, the Ezra Jack Keats Award, the Kirkus Prize for Young Readers’ Literature, the Glyph Comics Awards, the Stonewall Book Award, and the Emmy Awards, among others.

Through prose and illustration, the titles on the 2022 YPL Longlist address gender and sexuality, racism and xenophobia, and self-esteem and self-acceptance. The stories are set everywhere from Lahore, Pakistan to small towns and big cities across the United States; and in two fantastical villages, one filled with tricksters and demon hunters and another with dragons and ogres.

Three novels depict coming-of-age stories that tackle complex family structures and the power of community and forgiveness. In The Life and Crimes of Hoodie RosenIsaac Blum’s protagonist Yehuda “Hoodie” Rosen finds himself caught between two very different worlds—his Orthodox Jewish community and the predominately non-Jewish town his family recently moved to and is ostracized in. Blum’s debut novel tackles antisemitism and community conflict, alongside a story of forbidden first love, and, ultimately, acceptance. Spanning decades and crossing oceans, Sabaa Tahir’s All My Rage follows the story of a working-class Pakistani American family from their origins in Lahore to their present-day life in Juniper, California. Alternating between the son’s perspective and that of his best friend, the novel compassionately follows the two teenagers as they grapple with questions of identity, home, family, and forgiveness. The Lesbiana’s Guide to Catholic School introduces readers to 16-year-old Yamilet, a queer Mexican American girl, during her first year as a transfer student at a predominantly white and wealthy Catholic school. Sonora Reyes’s debut novel celebrates the joys of falling in love and learning to embrace your authentic self.

In Maizy Chen’s Last Chance, Lisa Yee’s titular character spends the summer in Last Chance, Minnesota as she and her mother care for her ailing grandfather. As eleven-year-old Maizy spends more time at her family’s restaurant, the Golden Palace, she comes face-to-face with anti-Asian hate crimes and discovers family secrets that strengthen her own relationship with her culture. In Sherri Winston’s Lotus Bloom and the Afro Revolution, a seventh-grade violinist named Lotus enrolls in a new school of the arts and soon finds herself in trouble after the boys in her class bully her for wearing her hair in an afro. In a narrative inspired by the real experiences of Black girls raising their voices against discriminatory dress codes, Lotus risks her reputation when she decides whether or not to speak up.

Two titles on this year’s Longlist are graphic novels, Swim Team and Victory. Stand!: Raising My Fist For Justice . In Johnnie Christmas’s self-illustrated Swim Team, Bree is ready to dive right into her new middle school until she realizes the only elective that fits her schedule forces her to confront one of her greatest fears: swimming. Bree overcomes her anxiety thanks to her elderly neighbor, Ms. Etta, a former swim team captain who shares her experiences as a Black girl breaking into a traditionally white sport with a long history of exclusion. Tommie Smith’s graphic memoir details both his childhood and athletic career, culminating in the Mexico City Olympics of 1968 where Smith, winner of the gold medal in the 200-meter sprint, and John Carlos, winner of the bronze medal, raised their fists in protest of racial injustice. Co-written with Derrick Barnes and illustrated by Emmy Award-winning artist Dawud Anyabwile, Victory. Stand! pays homage to a symbolic moment in Olympic and Black history, and serves as a reminder that every action—vocal or silent—has the potential to spark change.

A Thousand Steps into Night by Traci Chee is a fantasy inspired by Japanese folk tales that follows Miuko, an innkeeper’s daughter from the realm of Awara, as she embarks on a journey to break free from a curse. Miuko’s quest compels her to interrogate the expectations for women in a patriarchal society and the horrors carried out by gods, monsters, and humans alike. Three teenagers from marginalized backgrounds pursue their versions of the American Dream in Anna-Marie McLemore’s Self-Made Boys: A Great Gatsby Remix, when Nicolás Caraveo, a 17-year-old transgender boy moves to New York City and finds himself immersed in a simultaneously dazzling and unexpected world. This queer retelling of The Great Gatsby explores masculinity, racism, colorism, and classism through the lens of a classic tale of deception and heartbreak. In Kelly Barnhill’s The Ogress and the Orphans, the residents of a once close-knit community, led by their beloved mayor, become suspicious of a gentle Ogress that lives at the edge of town when a child goes missing. The children of the Orphan House become determined to tell the town of the Ogress’s kind actions, and along the way uncover the true villain of Stone-in-the-Glen in this fantastical tale about the power of community care.

Publishers submitted a total of 296 books for the 2022 National Book Award for Young People’s Literature. The judges for Young People’s Literature are Becky Albertalli, Joseph Bruchac, Meghan Dietsche Goel, Jewell Parker Rhodes (Chair), and Lilliam Rivera. Judges’ 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 National Book Awards Ceremony on Wednesday, November 16.

2022 Longlist for the National Book Award for Young People’s Literature:

Kelly Barnhill, The Ogress and the Orphans
Algonquin Young Readers / Workman Publishing

Isaac Blum, The Life and Crimes of Hoodie Rosen
Philomel Books / Penguin Random House

Traci Chee, A Thousand Steps into Night
Clarion Books / HarperCollins Publishers

Johnnie Christmas, Swim Team
HarperAlley / HarperCollins Publishers

Anna-Marie McLemore, Self-Made Boys: A Great Gatsby Remix
Feiwel & Friends / Macmillan Publishers

Sonora Reyes, The Lesbiana’s Guide to Catholic School
Balzer + Bray / HarperCollins Publishers

Tommie Smith, Derrick Barnes, and Dawud Anyabwile, Victory. Stand!: Raising My Fist For Justice
Norton Young Readers / W. W. Norton & Company

Sabaa Tahir, All My Rage
Razorbill / Penguin Random House

Sherri Winston, Lotus Bloom and the Afro Revolution
Bloomsbury Children’s Books / Bloomsbury Publishing

Lisa Yee, Maizy Chen’s Last Chance
Random House Books for Young Readers / Penguin Random House

 

National Book Foundation to Present Lifetime Achievement Award to Art Spiegelman

You can find the full Associated Press announcement here.

The National Book Foundation, presenter of the National Book Awards,  announced that it will award Art Spiegelman with the 2022 Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters (DCAL). Best known for his Pulitzer Prize-winning graphic novel, Maus, a two-volume genre-bending retelling of his parents’ survival as Polish Jews during the Holocaust, Spiegelman’s deeply personal body of work includes Breakdowns, The Wild Party, In the Shadow of No Towers, a collection of three of his sketchbooks entitled Be a Nose!, and MetaMaus, a companion to The Complete Maus. Spiegelman is the first comic artist to receive the DCAL medal, which will be presented to him by author Neil Gaiman at the National Book Awards Ceremony on November 16, 2022.

Spiegelman was elected a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, made an Officier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, awarded the Grand Prix at the Angoulême International Comics Festival, and was the first comic artist to receive the Edward MacDowell Medal. He was inducted into the Will Eisner Comic Industry Hall of Fame, the Art Directors Club Hall of Fame, and was named one of TIME Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People in 2005. Spiegelman’s comic art has been exhibited at museums around the world, including the Centre Pompidou in Paris, Museum Ludwig in Cologne, the Vancouver Art Gallery, the Jewish Museum in New York City, and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles.

“Art Spiegelman has captured the world’s imagination through the comics medium,” said David Steinberger, Chair of the Board of Directors of the National Book Foundation. “His masterful graphic novels tackle and illuminate topics from the Holocaust to the aftermath of 9/11, alongside the personal intimacy of the people, events, and comics that shaped him as an artist. Spiegelman’s groundbreaking work has shown us the limitless possibilities for comics as a literary arts form, and the Foundation is proud to honor his legacy.”

Born in Sweden in 1948, Spiegelman immigrated with his parents to the US in 1951. He began drawing professionally as a teenager, learning cartooning in high school, and studied art and philosophy at Harpur College (now the State University of New York at Binghamton). Spiegelman became a prominent voice of the underground comix movement of the 1960s and 70s, during which time he began to experiment with autobiographical comics. In 1975, he co-founded the comics anthology, Arcade, and in 1980, he co-founded the avant-garde comics magazine RAW with his wife, Françoise Mouly. He taught courses on the history and the aesthetics of comics at the School of Visual Arts in New York from 1979 to 1986, and his work has been published in numerous newspapers and magazines, including The New Yorker, where he was a staff artist and writer between 1993 and 2003.

“Art Spiegelman’s tremendous body of work, as well as his anthologizing, community building, and advocacy for comics literacy for readers of all ages have secured comics as an irreplaceable literary form,” said Ruth Dickey, Executive Director of the National Book Foundation. “His carefully researched Maus blends family memoir with world history and political commentary, and shines a light on the complexity of intergenerational trauma. The graphic novel is a frequent target of censorship, and remains essential reading not just to understand our history but our present as well. We are honored to celebrate Spiegelman’s work as an artist and an advocate with the Foundation’s Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters.”

Spiegelman is the thirty-fifth 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 Walter Mosley, 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, Adrienne Rich, and most recently, Karen Tei Yamashita. 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 ART SPIEGELMAN

Art Spiegelman is best known for his masterful graphic novel, Maus, a two-volume Holocaust narrative that portrays Jews as mice and Nazis as cats, telling the story of his parents’ survival as Polish Jews in the Nazi death camps and of their troubled lives in America after the war. In 1992, Spiegelman won a special Pulitzer Prize for the completion of Maus, which, at the time, didn’t fit into any of the Prize’s standard categories. In 2009, Maus was chosen by the Young Adult Library Association as one of its recommended titles for all students. And in 2020, the New York Public Library voted Maus one of the 125 most important books of the last 125 years.

Having rejected his parents’ aspirations for him to become a dentist, Art Spiegelman studied cartooning at New York’s High School of Art and Design and began drawing professionally at age sixteen. He went on to study art and philosophy at Harpur College (now SUNY Binghamton) before being expelled in 1968. He received an honorary Doctorate of Letters from the university in 1995. His comics are best known for their shifting graphic styles, their formal complexity, and often controversial content.

Spiegelman became part of the underground comix subculture of the 60s and 70s, and was a creative consultant for Topps Gum Co. from 1965-1987, where he created Wacky Packages, Garbage Pail Kids, and other novelty items. In 1975-1976, he co-founded Arcade, a quarterly “Comix Revue” with Bill Griffith, presenting some of the most sophisticated underground work being produced in that decade. And in 1980, Spiegelman co-founded RAW, the acclaimed international avant-garde comics magazine that originally serialized Maus, with his wife, Françoise Mouly. He and Mouly also co-edited Little Lit, a series of comics anthologies for children published by HarperCollins, and the anthology The Toon Treasury of Classic Children’s Comics published by Harry N. Abrams.

Spiegelman taught courses on the history and aesthetics of comics at the School for Visual Arts in New York from 1979-1986, and in 2007 he was a Heyman Fellow of the Humanities at Columbia University, where he taught a Masters of the Comics seminar. In his lectures, Spiegelman takes his audiences on a chronological tour of the evolution of comics, all the while explaining the value of this medium and why it cannot be ignored. He believes that “comics echo the way the brain works. People think in iconographic images, not in holograms, and people think in bursts of language, not in paragraphs.”

Spiegelman’s 1978 anthology, Breakdowns, was published by Pantheon in 2008 with an autobiographical comix-format introduction almost as long as the book itself, entitled “Portrait of the Artist as a Young %@&*!.” McSweeney’s has published a collection of three of his sketchbooks entitled Be a Nose!. His work has been published in many periodicals, including The New Yorker, where he was a staff artist and writer from 1993-2003.

In 2004, he completed a two-year cycle of broadsheet-sized color comics pages titled In the Shadow of No Towers, about the 9/11 attacks, first published in a number of European newspapers and magazines including Die Zeit and The London Review of Books. A book version of these highly political works, published by Pantheon in the US, appeared on many national bestseller lists, and was selected by the New York Times Book Review as one of the 100 Notable Books of 2004. In 2011, Pantheon published MetaMaus, a companion to The Complete Maus. It is the story of why he wrote Maus, why he chose mice, cats, frogs, and pigs, and how he got his father to open up (the book is built around conversations with comics scholar, Hillary Chute, and includes transcripts of Art’s own interviews with his father; it is not a graphic novel, but it is populated with illustrations, photos, and other images). MetaMaus won the 2011 National Jewish Book Award for Biography, Autobiography, and Memoir.

In 2005, Art Spiegelman was named one of TIME Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People. That same year, a major exhibition of his work was arranged by the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, as part of the “15 Masters of 20th Century Comics” exhibition. In 2006, he was inducted into the Art Directors Club Hall of Fame, and in 2007 was made an Officier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres in France. In 2008, he played himself on an episode of “The Simpsons.” In 2011, Art Spiegelman won the Grand Prix at the Angoulême International Comics Festival, marking only the third time an American had received the honor. He was elected a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 2015, and in 2018 he received the Edward MacDowell Medal, the first-ever given in comic art.

Author headshot of Neil Gaiman. (Photo credit: Beowulf Sheehan)
Neil Gaiman. (Photo credit: Beowulf Sheehan)

ABOUT NEIL GAIMAN

Neil Gaiman is the author of numerous New York Times bestsellers including The Sandman series of graphic novels, Neverwhere, American Gods, and The Ocean at the End of the Lane. He is credited with being one of the creators of modern comics, as well as an author whose work crosses genres and reaches audiences of all ages. His fiction has received a Newbery Medal, Carnegie Medal, and Hugo, Nebula, World Fantasy, and Will Eisner Awards. He is a creator of works of prose, poetry, film, journalism, comics, song lyrics, and drama.

In 2017 UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, appointed Gaiman as a global Goodwill Ambassador. Originally from England, he now divides his time between Scotland, where Good Omens and Anansi Boys are filmed, and the United States, where he is a Professor in the Arts at Bard College. He is a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature.


Image: Art Spiegelman. (Photo credit Nadja Spiegelman)

National Book Foundation to Present Lifetime Achievement Award to Tracie D. Hall

The Executive Director of the American Library Association to be honored at the 2022 National Book Awards for her career championing equitable access to information for all

You can find the full Los Angeles Times announcement here.

The National Book Foundation, presenter of the National Book Awards, announced Tracie D. Hall, Executive Director of the American Library Association (ALA), as the recipient of its 2022 Literarian Award for Outstanding Service to the American Literary Community. Over the past two decades, Hall has held positions at the Seattle Public Library, the New Haven Free Public Library, Queens Public Library, and Hartford Public Library. Hall was appointed to her current role as the Executive Director of the American Library Association, the oldest and largest library association in the world, in 2020. She is a librarian, curator, arts and culture administrator, and an advocate for digital literacy skills and ensuring equitable access to information for all.

“Libraries are essential for all readers—they are spaces of learning and community whose importance has only been amplified by the pandemic and the ever-increasing tensions of resource equity,” said David Steinberger, Chair of the Board of Directors of the National Book Foundation. “The Foundation is honored to recognize Hall’s extensive contributions to the diversification of the library and information science fields and her commitment to digital literacy in an age of misinformation, which will have a lasting impact on readers and communities everywhere.”

Prior to joining ALA, Hall served as the Culture Program Director at the Joyce Foundation. She has held multiple roles in academia, including serving as Assistant Dean of Dominican University’s Master of Library and Information Science from 2006-2008, and as visiting professor at Catholic University of America, Southern Connecticut State University, and Wesleyan University. Hall’s contributions to ALA began in 1998 when she was an ALA Spectrum Scholar—an educational program that supports new generations of racially and ethnically diverse librarians—and continued during her tenure as Director of ALA’s Office for Diversity from 2003-2006. A community leader, she was appointed to serve on the City of Chicago’s Cultural Advisory Council in 2020. Hall holds a Master of Library and Information Science from the Information School at the University of Washington, a Master of Arts in International and Area Studies with an emphasis on Sub-Saharan Africa from Yale University, and dual bachelor’s degrees in Law and Society and Black Studies from the University of California, Santa Barbara. Hall is the first Black woman to lead ALA since its founding in 1876.

“Tracie D. Hall is a courageous champion for readers and libraries,” said Ruth Dickey, Executive Director of the National Book Foundation. “Her accessibility and resource-driven advocacy is especially important at this moment when books are increasingly under attack nationwide. We are so proud to recognize Hall’s tremendous work supporting the individuals and communities who depend on libraries’ services—in other words, everyone.”

Hall is also a poet, fiction writer, playwright, and the recipient of Cave Canem and Jack Straw Fellowships, as well as various awards for her writing and creative work. She is the founding curator of Rootwork Gallery, an experimental arts space that showcases creators working in folk, vernacular, Indigenous, and street art traditions. Deeply committed to social justice, equitable library access, and diversity in the library profession, she has written about eradicating information poverty, protecting the right to read for incarcerated individuals, and ending information redlining.

Hall will be honored with the Literarian Award at the 73rd National Book Awards Ceremony on November 16, 2022. This is the eighteenth 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, Terry Gross, Kyle Zimmer, the literary organization Cave Canem, Doron Weber, Oren J. Teicher, Carolyn Reidy, and most recently, Nancy Pearl. 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. Recipients of the Literarian Award for Outstanding Service to the American Literary Community receive $10,000 and a solid brass medal.

ABOUT TRACIE D. HALL

In February 2020, Tracie D. Hall became the tenth Executive Director of the American Library Association (ALA), the oldest and largest library association in the world with over 50,000 members serving library and educational institutions throughout and beyond the US. The first Black woman to helm ALA, Hall has served in numerous library and arts leadership positions nationwide.

Prior to joining ALA, Hall served as the Culture Program Director at the Joyce Foundation where she was recognized for creating numerous programs to advance racial inclusion in arts administration and equitable funding for arts institutions founded by and for Black, Latino, Asian, Arab, Indigenous, and other people of color. As Deputy Commissioner of Chicago’s Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events she oversaw the visual and performing arts, film, and community market programs for the city of Chicago and received citations for her work to expand arts access and neighborhood outreach. Hall was the Vice President of Strategy and Organizational Development at Queens Public Library where during her tenure she founded the NYC Early Learning Network.

Hall’s former roles also include Community Investment Strategist and Chicago Community Investor for the Boeing Company’s Global Corporate Citizenship division and Assistant Dean of Dominican University’s Graduate School of Library and Information Science. As the Community Librarian at Hartford Public Library, Hall conceived and curated the NEH-funded Festival of Caribbean Literature with the Connecticut Center for the Book. Then-mayor, Eddie Perez, designated February 13 as “Tracie Hall Day” to acknowledge her service to the city of Hartford. Hall also served as the Youth Services Coordinator at Seattle Public Library where she developed the long-running SCRIBES youth creative writing program for Hugo House. Holding dual bachelor’s degrees from University of California, Santa Barbara, and master’s degrees from the Yale University School of International and Area Studies and the University of Washington School of Information, Hall’s work in library and arts administration has focused on advancing early and adult reading literacy, expanding digital access and literacy, protecting the right to information access for people who are incarcerated, eliminating barriers to arts production and participation, and increasing socio-economic mobility for those who have had limited educational or employment opportunities.

Apart from her administrative assignments, Hall is a noted artist and curator and a recipient of numerous awards and residencies including an Artist Trust award, Cave Canem Fellowship, and Jack Straw Fellowship. In 2016, she founded the small but influential Rootwork Gallery in Chicago to raise the visibility of artists working in folk, vernacular, traditional, and street art traditions. Hall is a native of South Central Los Angeles and has lived in and between New Haven, New York City, Montgomery, and Chicago for the past two decades.


Image of Tracie Hall, Executive Director of the American Library Association (ALA). (Photo credit: American Library Association)

National Book Foundation Announces 2022 Fall Season of NBF Presents

National Book Award–honored authors to appear in a lineup of in-person and hybrid events leading up to the 73rd National Book Awards

The National Book Foundation today announced the teaser for its fall NBF Presents line-up of events taking place in Austin, Miami, New York City, Portland, and Washington DC, from September through November, culminating in the 73rd National Book Awards Ceremony on November 16, 2022. NBF Presents, the moniker for the Foundation’s public programs, represents the National Book Foundation’s continued dedication to bringing National Book Award-honored authors to readers across the country, offering access to engaging conversations about books and the power of literature. Programming for the fall season will be presented alongside program partners across the United States, and held in-person, with select events streamed online at no cost to attendees.

National Book Award–honored authors confirmed to appear at NBF Presents events in the fall season include 2021 Longlisters, Finalists, and Winners, Martín Espada, Katie Kitamura, Kyle Lukoff, Natasha Wimmer, and more to come, including soon-to-be-announced 2022 National Book Award Longlisters.

“NBF Presents events provide us with the opportunity to connect authors, translators, and their works with readers across the country, and facilitate meaningful conversations about timely topics—from discussing the borders of language and place, to uniting against book-banning efforts,” said Ruth Dickey, Executive Director of the National Book Foundation. “This fall, we are eager to continue this work and welcome a new cohort of National Book Award–honored authors to our programming and family.”

The Foundation will present programs featuring National Book Award–honored authors and nationally recognized moderators, including a Banned Books Week event in partnership with the DC Public Library, Loyalty Bookstores, and PEN America in Washington DC and events with regional book festival partners at the Brooklyn Book Festival, Miami Book Fair, Portland Book Festival, and Texas Book Festival.

“Portland Book Festival is built on partnerships, and one of our favorite collaborations is with the National Book Foundation,” said Amanda Bullock, Director of Public Programs at Literary Arts. “It’s a joy to feature their programming here in Oregon, and Literary Arts is thrilled and humbled to be a small part of the work they do for our shared missions around books, literature, and storytelling.”

Annual National Book Awards events will return online and in-person in New York City. The day before the Awards, the Teen Press Conference will feature a conversation and book signing with the 2022 National Book Award Finalists for Young People’s Literature. The in-person program, presented in partnership with the 92NY, is open to an audience of NYC-area middle and high school students. The event will also be livestreamed and open to all with free registration. That evening, the Finalist Reading will gather all 2022 National Book Award Finalists to read excerpts from their honored works, with more event details to be announced soon. On November 16, the National Book Awards Ceremony will be broadcast live, and the in-person Benefit Dinner and After-Party will return to Cipriani Wall Street.

The National Book Foundation and its partners are planning for virtual, hybrid, and in-person programs this fall. Alongside its partners, the Foundation will continue to closely monitor health and safety protocols.

The full list of confirmed fall NBF Presents events can be found below with additional details and registration information coming soon, and an updated NBF Presents calendar is available at the Foundation’s website. These are free events but please RSVP directly at the Foundation or partner website as directed.

NBF Presents Fall Schedule

Saturday, September 24, 1:00pm EDT
Washington, DC
Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library
Let’s Get Organized: Fighting Book Bans, Together

For Banned Books Week, National Book Award–honored author Kyle Lukoff (Too Bright to See, 2021 Young People’s Literature Finalist), DC Public Library Teen Services Coordinator Joanna Harris, and Managing Director of PEN America Washington and Free Expression Programs Nadine Farid Johnson sit down to discuss the value of writing, publishing, and access to diverse books, and how we can come together and unite against book banning. Moderated by Hannah Oliver Depp, owner of Loyalty Bookstores and President of the New Atlantic Independent Bookseller’s Association. Join us for a conversation with and for artists, booksellers, educators, librarians, parents, students, writers, and readers of all ages. Presented in partnership with the DC Public Library, Loyalty Bookstores, and PEN America.

Sunday, October 2, 2:00pm EDT
Brooklyn, NY
Brooklyn Book Festival
NBF Presents: An Afternoon with the National Book Awards

National Book Award–honored authors Martín Espada (Floaters, 2021 Poetry Winner), Katie Kitamura (Intimacies, 2021 Fiction Longlist), and Natasha Wimmer (Space Invaders, 2021 Translated Literature Finalist) gather for a cross-genre conversation about the borders of time, place, and language. Moderated by Ruth Dickey, Executive Director of the National Book Foundation, and presented in partnership with the Brooklyn Book Festival.

Saturday, November 5
Portland, OR
Portland Book Festival
NBF Presents: A Morning with the National Book Awards

Current National Book Award Longlisters, Finalists, and potential Winners come together for readings and conversation in advance of the 73rd National Book Awards. Presented in partnership with the Portland Book Festival. More information on the line-up coming soon.

Sunday, November 6
Austin, TX
Texas Book Festival
NBF Presents: A Morning with the National Book Awards

2022 National Book Award Longlisters, Finalists, and potential Winners discuss reading, writing, and recognition in advance of the 73rd National Book Awards. Presented in partnership with the Texas Book Festival. More information on the line-up coming soon.

Tuesday, November 15, 10:30am EST
New York, NY
92NY & Virtual
2022 Teen Press Conference

The National Book Award Finalists in Young People’s Literature come together for a question-and-answer with New York City’s middle and high school students. While in-person school groups are limited (more information to come here), all are invited to tune-in to the livestream. Presented in partnership with 92NY.

Tuesday, November 15
New York, NY & Virtual
2022 National Book Awards Finalist Reading

All of the National Book Award Finalists in Fiction, Poetry, Nonfiction, Translated Literature, and Young People’s Literature traditionally gather the evening before the Awards Ceremony to read excerpts from their honored works. More event details to come.

Wednesday, November 16
New York, NY
Cipriani Wall Street & Virtual
The 73rd National Book Awards Ceremony & Benefit Dinner

The National Book Foundation presents its lifetime achievement awards to the 2022 honorees, and announces this year’s winners of the National Book Award in Young People’s Literature, Translated Literature, Poetry, Nonfiction, and Fiction.

Saturday, November 19
Miami, FL
Miami Book Fair
NBF Presents: An Afternoon with National Book Awards

2022 National Book Award Longlisters, Finalists, and Winners from around the country join Executive Director Ruth Dickey for an annual super-sized showcase of readings and conversation. Presented in partnership with the Miami Book Fair. 

For times and locations for events, please visit www.nationalbook.org or the websites of any of our partners.