Submissions Open for the 2020 National Book Awards

We are now accepting entries for the 2018 National Book Awards. Deadline for submission is May 16 (midnight, PT). No late submissions will be accepted.

Twenty-five judges in five categories will review submitted titles and choose the five Winners of the 71st National Book Awards

On April 1, the National Book Foundation announced the opening of submissions for the 71st National Book Awards. The Foundation also announced its 25 judges for this year’s Awards, in the categories of Fiction, Nonfiction, Poetry, Translated Literature, and Young People’s Literature.

“We are honored to present this year’s judging panels,” said Lisa Lucas, Executive Director of the National Book Foundation. “The panelists who have opted into reading during a time when normal processes are upended, and so much is in flux, are providing a service to the arts and publishing community and readers everywhere. We thank these well-read, creative, and incredibly dedicated literary citizens.”

This year’s judges include writers, booksellers, academics, critics, editors, and translators from across the country. Panelists include a National Book Award Winner; National Book Award Finalists and Longlisted authors; a National Book Foundation 5 Under 35 author; three Pulitzer Prize finalists; an Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence winner and finalist; a Whiting Award winner, a PEN/Jean Stein Award winner; an Anisfield-Wolf Award winner; recipients of Guggenheim Fellowships, professors, critics, arts nonprofits directors, and bookstore owners.

The judges for the 2020 National Book Awards will select 50 Longlist titles, 10 per category, which will be announced mid-September. There will be 25 Finalists, to be announced on October 6. Winners in all five categories will be announced at the 71st National Book Awards in November.

You can find the judges’ full bios here.

Fiction panel: Roxane Gay (Chair), Cristina Henríquez, Laird Hunt, Rebecca Makkai, Keaton Patterson
Nonfiction panel: James Goodman, Yunte Huang, Hannah Oliver Depp, David Treuer, Terry Tempest Williams (Chair)
Poetry panel: Rigoberto González, John Hennessy, Layli Long Soldier (Chair), Diana Khoi Nguyen, Elizabeth Willis
Translated Literature panel: Heather Cleary, John Darnielle, Anne Ishii, Brad Johnson, Dinaw Mengestu (Chair)
Young People’s Literature panel: Randy Ribay, Neal Shusterman, Ebony Elizabeth Thomas, Joan Trygg (Chair), Colleen AF Venable

The Foundation Announces 2020 Spring Season of NBF Presents

National Book Awards authors to appear at 19 events in 13 states in the new year.

The National Book Foundation announced its spring NBF Presents lineup of events taking place between January and May of 2020, continuing the second year of expanded programming made possible by a three-year $900,000 grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. This season of NBF Presents, a moniker under which all of the Foundation’s public programs fall, represents a continued commitment to providing and supplementing national access to literary programming at libraries, colleges, book festivals, and performance venues for readers everywhere.

National Book Award–honored authors confirmed to appear at NBF Presents events in the spring season include Hanif Abdurraqib, Sarah M. Broom, Jericho Brown, Susan Choi, Christopher Paul Curtis, Akwaeke Emezi, Kali Fajardo-Anstine, Camonghne Felix, Garth Greenwell, Ilya Kaminsky, Laila Lalami, Diana Khoi Nguyen, Kimberly King Parsons, Julia Phillips, Helen Phillips, Iliana Regan, Erika L. Sánchez, Sarah Smarsh, Carmen Giménez Smith, Natasha Trethewey, and David Treuer, with more to come.

This spring the Foundation joins hands with nine new partners across the United States, including the Charleston County Public Library in South Carolina; the Oxford Conference of the Book and Coahoma Community College in Mississippi; and a mini-tour of Kansas and Missouri with the Kansas City Public Library, Topeka & Shawnee County Public Library, and the University of Central Missouri in Warrensburg.

“NBF Presents provides the opportunity to dig into conversations that matter with audiences and readers around the country and shows how literature inspires questions, transforms ideas, and creates dialogue for a community,” said Lisa Lucas, Executive Director of the National Book Foundation.

The full list of confirmed spring NBF Presents events can be found below, with additional details forthcoming. An updated NBF Presents calendar is available here.

NBF Presents events allow National Book Award-honored authors to interact with audiences and communities beyond the scope of a traditional book tour, given that events are programmed flexibly to serve rural, suburban, and urban spaces. 2019 National Book Award Finalist Kali Fajardo-Anstine (Sabrina & Corina: Stories), who visited Clark College—a community college located in Vancouver, WA in 2019—will join the Foundation again this year at the Los Angeles Central Library, alongside Erika L. Sánchez (2017 National Book Award Finalist, I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter) to discuss why the preservation, perpetuation, and presentation of the experience of Mexican-American women in literature matters.

“I’m a high school drop-out from Colorado, I went to a state college on a commuter campus, and I deeply value accessibility in literature,” said Fajardo-Anstine. “NBF Presents events provide communities and students with access to some of today’s greatest living writers, and that access nurtures us all.”

In addition to fostering new relationships, the Foundation will also return to historic partners including the Library Foundation of Los Angeles; Concordia College in Moorhead, Minnesota; and the Virginia Festival of the Book. Notably, this is the 15th anniversary of the National Book Foundation’s programming partnership with Concordia College and the fourth time the Foundation has participated in programming as part of the Virginia Festival of the Book.

“We are thrilled to partner with the National Book Foundation again for the 2020 Virginia Festival of the Book,” said Jane Kulow, Director of the Virginia Center for the Book. “NBF Presents allows us to amplify and expand the reach of the work of critically acclaimed writers as well as the vital work the Foundation offers in support of books and reading.”

In addition to events featuring National Book Foundation–honored authors, the spring season will include two events celebrating the 2019-2020 Literature for Justice Reading List, including books by asha bandele, Susan Burton, Angela Y. Davis, Rachel Kushner, and Danielle Sered. The NBF Presents lineup also showcases a new season of the Eat, Drink & Be Literary series, presented since 2006 with the Brooklyn Academy of Music and comprising unique evenings of dinner and conversation with acclaimed contemporary writers. This year’s featured authors will be announced later this month.

NBF Presents Spring Schedule

January 30, 6 pm EST
Charleston, SC
Charleston County Public Library
NBF Presents: The Art of Invention

Kicking off the spring season of NBF Presents, 2019 National Book Award Finalists Jericho Brown (The Tradition) and Akwaeke Emezi (Pet) discuss breaking convention to create brand-new forms, worlds, and hybrid genres, and what disruption and invention means for the future of literature. Moderated by Lovia Gyarkye, associate editor of the New York Times Magazine Labs, and presented in partnership with the Charleston County Public Library.

 

February 11, 6 pm PST
Claremont, CA
Scripps College
NBF Presents: Family Affairs

2019 National Book Award Winner Sarah M. Broom (The Yellow House) and former United States and Mississippi Poet Laureate and National Book Award Longlister Natasha Trethewey (Monument) discuss documenting the stories, joys, pains, and resiliency of families of the American South. Moderated by Lisa Lucas, Executive Director of the National Book Foundation, and presented in partnership with the Library Foundation of Los Angeles and Scripps Presents.

 

February 12, 7:30 pm PST
Los Angeles, CA
Library Foundation of Los Angeles
NBF Presents: Untold Stories

2019 National Book Award Finalist Kali Fajardo-Anstine (Sabrina & Corina: Stories) joins poet, essayist, novelist, and 2017 National Book Award Finalist Erika L. Sánchez (I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter) to discuss their work and why the preservation, perpetuation, and presentation of the experience of Mexican-American women in literature matters. Moderated by Lisa Lucas, Executive Director of the National Book Foundation, and presented in partnership with the Library Foundation of Los Angeles and Scripps Presents.

 

February 19, 1 pm EST
Philadelphia, PA
Community College of Philadelphia
NBF Presents: A New Queer Canon

Poet and political strategist Camonghne Felix (Build Yourself a Boat, 2019 Poetry Longlister) and novelist Garth Greenwell (Cleanness; What Belongs to You, 2016 Fiction Longlister) discuss making space for queer stories full of sex, violence, and love, and the power of LGBTQ+ must-read lists. Moderated by William Johnson, Deputy Director of Lambda Literary, and presented in partnership with the Community College of Philadelphia.

 

February 27, 7:30 pm EST
Winter Park, FL
Rollins College
NBF Presents: Winter with the Writers

The National Book Foundation returns to Rollins College for their annual Winter with the Writers literary festival, featuring a joint reading with 2019 Fiction Finalist Kali Fajardo-Anstine’s debut short story collection Sabrina & Corina and Poetry Finalist Ilya Kaminsky’s Deaf Republic, followed by a question-and-answer session with the audience. Moderated by Carol Frost, festival director and professor of English at Rollins College. This program is supported by the Rollins Department of English.

 

February 28, 7:30 pm EST
Amherst, MA
Amherst College
NBF Presents: LitFest 2020

The National Book Foundation joins Amherst College’s fifth annual literary festival to celebrate the work of National Book Award–honored authors. 2019 Fiction Winner Susan Choi (Trust Exercise) and Finalist Laila Lalami (The Other Americans) speak to the power of fiction and point of view. Moderated by Judith Frank, author of All I Love and Know. This program is supported by Amherst College and the Croxton Lecture Fund.

 

March 12, 7:30 pm CST
Moorhead, MN
Concordia College
NBF Presents: The National Book Awards at Concordia

The National Book Foundation returns to Concordia College for the fifteenth year of programming featuring National Book Award–honored authors. 2019 National Book Award Winner for Nonfiction Sarah M. Broom (The Yellow House) and 2019 Nonfiction Finalist David Treuer (The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee) both read before a conversation and book signings. Moderated by John Ydstie, NPR correspondent. This program is supported by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation in honor of Earl Lewis ‘78.

 

March 15, 10:00 am MST
Tucson, AZ
Tucson Festival of Books
NBF Presents: A Morning with the National Book Awards

The Foundation joins the Tucson Festival of Books for a cross-genre conversation on contemporary female stories and recognition with three 2019 National Book Award Finalists, fiction authors Kali Fajardo-Anstine (Sabrina & Corina) and Julia Phillips (Disappearing Earth) and poet Carmen Giménez Smith (Be Recorder). Moderated by Natalie Green, Public Programs Manager at the National Book Foundation.

 

March 22, 3:00 pm EST
Charlottesville, VA
Virginia Festival of the Book
NBF Presents: An Afternoon with the National Book Awards

To close the 2020 Virginia Festival of the Book, the Foundation recognizes its 2019 National Book Award honorees, including Poetry Finalist Ilya Kaminsky (Deaf Republic), to highlight some of the best literature in America and discuss why books matter. More details to come.

 

April 2, 6 pm CST
Cedar Rapids, IA
Kirkwood Community College

2019 National Book Award Fiction Longlister Helen Phillips (The Need) comes to Kirkwood Community College. More details to come.

 

April 2
Clarksdale, MS
Coahoma Community College
NBF Presents: What’s in a Memoir

2019 National Book Award Nonfiction Longlisters Hanif Abdurraqib (Go Ahead in the Rain: Notes to A Tribe Called Quest) and Iliana Regan (Burn the Place) discuss the intersection of food, music, and identity, and how memoir helps shape our understanding of the arts, ourselves, and one another. Presented in partnership with Coahoma Community College, the Coahoma County Higher Education Center, and Carnegie Public Library’s Community Book Talks Lecture Series.

 

April 3
Oxford, MS
Oxford Conference of the Book
NBF Presents: The Power of the Personal 

2019 National Book Award Nonfiction Longlisters Hanif Abdurraqib (Go Ahead in the Rain: Notes to A Tribe Called Quest) and Iliana Regan (Burn the Place) continue their conversation mainstage at the twenty-seventh Oxford Conference of the Book. Abdurraqib and Regan discuss the heart of food, music, and place–from the makings of an iconic rap group to a Michelin-starred restaurant–and the power of personal storytelling.

 

April 4, 6 pm CST
Iowa City, IA
Mission Creek Festival
NBF Presents: Helen Phillips

2019 National Book Award Longlister Helen Phillips (The Need) reads at Mission Creek Festival’s public keynote in the Old Capital Museum.

 

April 6, 6 pm CST
Huntsville, TX
Sam Houston State University
NBF Presents: Sam Houston State’s National Book Awards Festival

The National Book Foundation and Sam Houston State University present the 2020 National Book Awards Festival featuring a cross-genre conversation on storytelling, recognition, and resonating with audiences from Texas to Tennessee with poet Diana Khoi Nguyen (Ghost Of), fiction author Kimberly King Parsons (Black Light: Stories), and Young People’s Literature author Christopher Paul Curtis (The Journey of Little Charlie). Moderated by Bryan Washington, 5 Under 35 Honoree and author of Lot: Stories. This program is supported by SHSU’s College of Humanities and Social Sciences and the MFA Program in Creative Writing.

 

April 7, 6 pm CST
Kansas City, MO
Kansas City Public Library

The National Book Foundation visits Kansas City Public Library with National Book Award–honored authors. More details to come.

 

April 8, 7 pm CST
Topeka, KS
Topeka & Shawnee County Public Library

The National Book Foundation visits the Topeka & Shawnee County Public Library with National Book Award–honored authors. More details to come.

 

April 9, 5 pm CST
Warrensburg, MO
University of Central Missouri

The Foundation visits the University of Central Missouri with Great Plains-native and 2018 National Book Award Nonfiction Finalist Sarah Smarsh (Heartland: A Memoir of Working Hard and Being Broke in the Richest Country on Earth). More details to come.

 

May 2
Berkeley, CA
Bay Area Book Festival
NBF Presents: An Afternoon with the National Book Awards

The National Book Foundation visits the Bay Area Book Festival to celebrate 2019 National Book Award–honored authors. More details to come.

 

May 9
Minneapolis, MN
Wordplay Festival
NBF Presents: An Afternoon with the National Book Awards

The National Book Foundation and Wordplay Festival highlight Winners, Finalists, and Longlisters from the 2019 National Book Awards. More details to come.

Unless otherwise noted, all programs made possible by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

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

The National Book Foundation Elects Three New Board Members

James Daunt, Chief Executive Officer, Barnes & Noble, Inc., Kimball Hastings, Vice President of Global Communications, Ralph Lauren, and Amandeep Kochar, Executive Vice President and General Manager, Baker & Taylor, will begin their first terms on the Foundation’s Board of Directors

 

The National Book Foundation is pleased to announce the appointment of three incoming members of the Board of Directors today: James Daunt, Chief Executive Officer, Barnes & Noble, Inc., Kimball Hastings, Vice President of Global Communications, Ralph Lauren, and Amandeep Kochar, Executive Vice President and General Manager, Baker & Taylor. With the addition of these new members the Foundation’s Board now stands at 22 governing members.

“We are gratified to welcome three new members to the Board of Directors, who bring with them significant corporate leadership experience as well as a deep commitment to the written word.  We look forward to working with them in support of the Foundation’s mission,” said David Steinberger, Board Chairman.

“All of NBF’s work is done with the aim to reach as many communities of readers as possible,” said Lisa Lucas, Executive Director of the National Book Foundation. “We are lucky to welcome these talented new board members who will have valuable input on broadening the work of the Foundation, will work to secure additional resources for the organization, and can help spread the word about the Foundation’s work to communities far and wide.”

More information on each of the new National Book Foundation board members can be found below.


 

Photo credit: Jon Enoch

James Daunt was named Barnes & Noble’s Chief Executive Officer in August 2019. In addition to being CEO of Barnes & Noble, Mr. Daunt also serves as Managing Director of Waterstones, the largest retail bookseller in the United Kingdom. Mr. Daunt currently oversees 627 Barnes & Noble stores in the United States, and 293 Waterstones locations across the U.K., Ireland, The Netherlands and Belgium. Mr. Daunt has nearly 30 years of experience in bookselling. In 1990, after an early career as an investment banker, Mr. Daunt opened his own bookstore in London, called Daunt Books. Daunt Books now has nine locations, mainly in London, and remains independently owned by Mr. Daunt. In 2011, Mr. Daunt was appointed Managing Director of Waterstones when the struggling bookseller was bought by Russian businessman, Alexander Mamut. Waterstones was subsequently restored to profitability, a success that led to the acquisition of a majority stake in the business by Elliott Advisors in July 2018. Elliott acquired Barnes & Noble in August 2019. Besides his successes in bookselling, Mr. Daunt was elected an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature in 2017. Mr. Daunt is a graduate of Pembroke College at the University of Cambridge, where he studied history. He is married to Katy Steward and has two daughters, Molly and Eliza.

 

Kimball Hastings is a Vice President of Global Communications at Ralph Lauren, where he currently oversees both Luxury Marketing and Talent Relations Strategy. Prior to joining Ralph Lauren, he spent 5 years at Teen Vogue, first as the Online Editor before rising to the rank of Senior Editor in the Features department. He began his career at Harper’s Bazaar where he collaborated on the launch of the magazine’s first-ever website, ultimately becoming the Online Editor. While interning at Harper’s Bazaar following his graduation from Tulane University—where he was pre-med with a major in English Literature—he also worked at New York City institution Argosy Books, a third-generation family antiquarian bookseller which remains near and dear to his heart. He has also served as the co-chair of the National Book Foundation’s Book Council for the past three years, which is a group of young professionals who support the Foundation by raising money, spreading the word, and helping to support its programming.

 

Amandeep Kochar is the Executive Vice President and General Manager of Baker & Taylor, a unit of Follett Corporation and a trusted global source of books, digital content and technologies that help inspire learning and shape education. Aman is responsible for Baker & Taylor’s Public Library Sales, Product & Technology Operations, Customer Service, Content and Strategic Partnerships as well as Baker & Taylor’s international subsidiaries in the United Kingdom, Mexico and Australia, and Baker & Taylor Publisher Services. His responsibilities also include leading joint International Sales and Global Technology operations for both Baker &Taylor and Follett School Solutions, the organization’s preK-12 business. Aman joined Baker & Taylor in 2014 as EVP, Products & Services. Aman’s background is in Education, Media, Entertainment and Technology industries, and prior to joining B&T, he was Chief Product Officer/SVP Product Development with McGraw-Hill. Prior to McGraw-Hill, Aman served in various digital content and sales leadership roles with HCL Technologies, one of the fastest growing technology companies in the world. Additionally, Aman has co-founded and exited a startup focused on career readiness education and training. Aman has an undergraduate engineering degree in computer science and a master’s degree in business administration.

Watch the 2019 National Book Awards Ceremony

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Watch the 70th National Book Awards, hosted by LeVar Burton were streamed live from New York City on November 20, 2019. It’s the biggest night in books, featuring the presentation of lifetime achievement awards to Edmund White and Oren Teicher, followed by the announcement of the Winners of National Book Awards in the categories of Fiction, Nonfiction, Poetry, Translated Literature, and Young People’s Literature. You can watch the full ceremony below and on our Facebook page.

2019 Winners

Fiction
Trust Exercise
by Susan Choi
Henry Holt and Company /
Macmillan Publishers

Nonfiction
The Yellow House
by Sarah M. Broom
Grove Press / Grove Atlantic

Poetry
Sight Lines
by Arthur Sze
Copper Canyon Press

Translated Literature
Baron Wenckheim’s Homecoming
by László Krasznahorkai, translated by Ottilie Mulzet
New Directions

Young People’s Literature
1919 The Year That Changed America
by Martin W. Sandler
Bloomsbury Children’s Books / Bloomsbury Publishing

Watch the 2019 National Book Awards Finalists Reading

Every year on the night before the National Book Awards, all of the Finalists gather at the New School to read from their honored titles at an event that is open to the public. It’s a special opportunity to hear these celebrated authors together in one place, and you can join us via our livestream. The 2019 reading features the Finalists in Fiction, Nonfiction, Poetry, Translated Literature and Young People’s Literature.

HOSTED BY: Josh Gondelman and Maris Kreizman

ABOUT THE HOSTS:

Photo credit: Mindy Tucker

Josh Gondelman is a comedian and a writer/producer for Desus & Mero on Showtime. Previously, he earned two Peabody Awards and three Emmy® awards for his work on Last Week Tonight with John Oliver. Gondelman’s writing has appeared in the New York TimesNew York Magazine, and the New Yorker, as well as some places without “New York” in the name. He has performed standup on CONAN, Late Night with Seth Meyers, and The Late Late Show with James Corden. Josh lives in New York City with his wife Maris and their pug. His debut essay collection Nice Try is available now from Harper Perennial.

Photo credit: Mindy Tucker

Maris Kreizman is the host of The Maris Review, a literary podcast from LitHub. She’s hosted readings and moderated literary panels at various bookstores, conferences, and festivals across the country. She’s an essayist and critic whose work has appeared in the New York Times, the New York Times Review of Books, New York Magazine, Los Angeles Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Atlantic, The New Republic, Vanity Fair, BuzzFeed, The Ringer, Esquire, GQ, and more. She was previously the editorial director of digital content at B&N.com, and a publishing outreach lead at Kickstarter. As a former book editor (Free Press/Simon and Schuster) and former editorial director of Book of the Month, she enjoys critiquing her own writing.

Watch the 2019 National Book Awards Teen Press Conference

The National Book Awards Teen Press Conference brings the excitement of the most prestigious literary award in the country to New York City’s middle and high school students. Held during National Book Awards week, Teen Press Conference invites school groups to attend a free literary event that is curated just for them.

Angie Thomas. Photo credit: Imani Khayyam

HOSTED BY:  Angie Thomas

Angie Thomas was born, raised, and still lives in Jackson, Mississippi. A former teen rapper, she holds a BFA in creative writing from Belhaven University. Her award-winning, acclaimed debut novel, The Hate U Give, is a #1 New York Times bestseller and major motion picture from Fox 2000, starring Amandla Stenberg and directed by George Tillman, Jr. Her second novel, On the Come Up, is on sale now.

FEATURING:

FINALISTS FOR YOUNG PEOPLE’S LITERATURE:

Jeremy O. Harris to Host 2019 5 Under 35 Celebration

The National Book Foundation announced Jeremy O. Harris, writer, and performer, and acclaimed playwright of Slave Play, now at Broadway’s Golden Theatre, will host the 5 Under 35 celebration on Monday, November 18 in New York City, at an invitation-only ceremony. The Foundation’s 5 Under 35 program recognizes young, debut fiction writers whose work promises to leave a lasting impression on the literary landscape. 5 Under 35 is sponsored by the Amazon Literary Partnership and more information about the program can be found here.

ABOUT JEREMY O. HARRIS:

Jeremy O. Harris is a writer and performer living in New York City. His plays include Slave Play“Daddy,” Xander Xyst, Dragon: 1 and WATER SPORTS; or insignificant white boys. His work has been presented or developed by Pieterspace, JACK< Are Love, The New Group, NYTW, Performance Space New York, and Playwrights Horizons. In 2018, Jeremy co-wrote A24’s upcoming film Zola with director Janicza Bravo. In television, he is developing a pilot with HBO and consulted on their new series “Euphoria.” He is the 11th recipient of the Vineyard Theatre’s Paula Playwrighting Award, a 2016 MacDowell Colony Fellow, an Orchard Project Greenhouse artist, and under commission from Lincoln Center Theatre and Playwrights Horizons. Jeremy is a graduate of the Yale MFA Playwrighting Program. Upcoming: A Boy’s Company Presents: “Tell Me If I’m Hurting You,” and “Daddy.”

This year the ceremony will celebrate:

Anelise Chen, So Many Olympic Exertions
Kaya Press
Selected by Dana Spiotta, 2006 National Book Award Finalist for Fiction

Isabella Hammad, The Parisian
Grove Press / Grove Atlantic
Selected by Viet Thanh Nguyen, 2016 National Book Award Finalist for Nonfiction

Johannes Lichtman, Such Good Work
Simon & Schuster
Selected by Garth Greenwell, 2016 National Book Award Longlist for Fiction

Bryan Washington, Lot: Stories
Riverhead Books / Penguin Random House
Selected by Nafissa Thompson-Spires, 2018 National Book Award Longlist for Fiction

Ashley Wurzbacher, Happy Like This
University of Iowa Press
Selected by Brandon Hobson, 2018 National Book Award Finalist for Fiction

National Book Foundation Announces Fall Season of NBF Presents

National Book Awards authors to appear at twelve events in nine states as NBF Presents enters second year

The National Book Foundation announced its fall NBF Presents lineup of events taking place between September and December of 2019, in the second year of expanded programming made possible by a three-year $900,000 grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. In its first year, NBF Presents produced 39 events in 36 cities around the country, donating nearly 2,000 free books and subsidizing over 500 ticketed seats to bring NBA-honored authors to thousands in-person and even more digitally through live streams. Between public and education programming, the Foundation has now reached audiences, youth and adult, in 36 states nationwide.

This season of NBF Presents continues to bring National Book Award-honored authors to libraries, colleges, book festivals, and performance venues across the county. As part of the programming around the nation, NBF Presents provides free books to select audiences, as well as subsidized tickets, and aspires to address issues that are most relevant to the communities in which our events take place. In addition to events funded by Mellon with support from the Foundation’s national partners, the 2019 fall season of NBF Presents will include an anchor event in Dallas, Texas tied to the Art for Justice-funded Literature for Justice program, which mobilizes readers around a list of five titles annually on mass incarceration.

In 2019-2020, NBF Presents will offer readings, panels, and conversations to a wide range of communities in regions across the country. NBF authors will explore timely subject matter as part of many of this year’s events: At the New Haven Free Public Library 2019 National Book Awards Longlister Greg Grandin (The End of the Myth, Nonfiction) and 2019 Finalist Carmen Giménez Smith (Be Recorder, Poetry) will have a conversation on borders, both physical and figurative, in shaping identity, history, and literature; at Clark College 2019 National Book Awards Finalist Kali Fajardo-Anstine (Sabrina & Corina, Fiction) and 2019 Longlister Kimberly King Parsons (Black Light, Fiction) will discuss their work and contemporary female identity in literature; and novelist Brandon Hobson (Where the Dead Sit Talking, 2018 Finalist) and poet Danez Smith (Don’t Call Us Dead, 2017 Finalist) will discuss literature that resists stereotypes and centers contemporary Americans struggling for more than survival both on and off the page at the Southern Festival of Books.

“NBF Presents is a core part of the Foundation’s ongoing commitment to building readers,” said Lisa Lucas, Executive Director of the National Book Foundation. “There is an appetite for literature in every nook and cranny of this country and the Foundation aims to support readers and communities with as much access to incredible literary work and authors as possible. Whether through an NBF-produced public event, the provision of free tickets to an existing local literary event, or providing free books—everything that NBF Presents does is with an eye towards the making literature accessible and present in all communities.”

Past and present National Book Award-honored authors, including current 2019 Longlisters and Finalists, confirmed to appear at NBF Presents events in the fall season include Hanif Abdurraqib, Laurie Halse Anderson, Sarah M. Broom, Jericho Brown, Susan Choi, Jennifer Croft, Kali Fajardo-Anstine, Greg Grandin, Brandon Hobson, Victoria Johnson, Ilya Kaminsky, Sigrid Nunez, Kimberly King Parsons, Julia Phillips, Jason Reynolds, Randy Ribay, Raquel Salas Rivera, Carmen Giménez Smith, Danez Smith, Nafissa Thompson-Spires, and David Treuer, with more to come. Additionally, the events will feature renowned moderators and Literature for Justice-highlighted authors asha bandele, Susan Burton, Rachel Kushner, and Danielle Sered and committee members Michelle Alexander, Reginald Dwayne Betts, Zachary Lazar, and Kelly Lytle Hernandez.

While the season will see the return of programming with partners in New York, Miami, Portland, Texas, and more, the Foundation is also newly partnering with the New Haven Free Public Library, three colleges and universities, including Fisk University and Clark Community College, as well as two festivals, the Southern Festival of Books in Nashville and the Baltimore Book Festival.

Since its launch last year, NBF Presents has put an emphasis on working with partners at a variety of presenting venues, including public libraries able to program around their communities’ audiences and interests. For the last event of the 2018-2019 season, National Book Award Winners Ibram X. Kendi (Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America) and Justin Phillip Reed (Indecency) visited the Roanoke Public Libraries newest branch and spoke to an audience of over 300 community members.

“Our turnout showed that area residents are craving book-based discussions on important issues,” said Marissa Blankinship, community services assistant for the Roanoke Public Libraries. “We were thrilled to see how the event brought people of all walks of life and all parts of town—and even as far away as Richmond, a three-hour drive—to the brand-new Melrose Library. This event has given our community new momentum.”

Partners, audience members, and participating authors alike find NBF Presents programming offers a unique opportunity in creating community dialogue through literature. At the 2019 Brooklyn Book Festival, the Foundation kicked off their fall programming with a panel discussion moderated by Executive Director Lisa Lucas and featuring 2018 Longlisters and Finalists on the importance of award recognition bringing to light stories across genre, topic, and perspective.

“The best part about being honored by the National Book Awards is becoming a part of the ‘after’—the work of the [Foundation’s] public programming to get into classrooms and communities around the country,” said 2018 National Book Award Longlister and NBF Presents program participant Nafissa Thompson-Spires (Heads of the Colored People).

The full list of confirmed fall NBF Presents events can be found below, with additional details forthcoming. An updated NBF Presents calendar is available at the Foundation’s website. 


NBF Presents Fall 2019

September 22, 2:00pm EST
Brooklyn, NY
Brooklyn Book Festival
NBF Presents: An Afternoon with the National Book Awards

Join four acclaimed authors honored by the 2018 National Book Awards for an engaging discussion on craft, recognition, and the vital importance of literature. Featuring writers working widely across subject and genre, the panel includes translator Jennifer Croft (Flights by Olga Tokarczuk, Finalist, Translated Literature), Victoria Johnson (American Eden, Finalist, Nonfiction), Raquel Salas Rivera (lo terciario / the tertiary, Longlist, Poetry), and Nafissa Thompson-Spires (Heads of the Colored People, Longlist, Fiction). Moderated by Lisa Lucas, Executive Director of the National Book Foundation.

 

October 3, 7:30pm CST
Moorhead, MN
Concordia College
NBF Presents: The National Book Awards at Concordia College

Celebrating 14 years of programming at Concordia College, the Foundation returns to Minnesota to present a reading and conversation with 2018 Fiction Winner Sigrid Nunez (The Friend) and 2018 Nonfiction Finalist Victoria Johnson (American Eden). Moderated by Stephanie Curtis, senior producer at MPR News and founder of The Thread, MPR News’ multiform books initiative. This event is made possible by Concordia College in honor of Dr. Earl Lewis.

 

October 13, 3:30pm CST
Nashville, TN
Southern Festival of Books
NBF Presents: Changing the Narrative

At the Southern Festival of Books, join two National Book Award Finalists, novelist Brandon Hobson (Where the Dead Sit Talking, 2018) and poet Danez Smith (Don’t Call Us Dead, 2017), for a conversation on writing that will explore what it means to fight for more than just survival in contemporary America and the realities of queer and Native bodies living in rural Oklahoma to Minnesota. Moderated by Ciona Rouse, poet and co-host of the literary podcast, Re/VERB.

 

October 14, 3:00pm CST
Nashville, TN
Fisk University
NBF Presents: Writing Survival

Novelist Brandon Hobson (Where the Dead Sit Talking, 2018 National Book Award Finalist) and poet Danez Smith (Don’t Call Us Dead, 2017 National Book Award Finalist) follow their appearance at the Southern Festival of Books to discuss literature that resists stereotypes and centers contemporary Americans struggling for more than survival both on and off the page. This event is open to students, faculty, and community members at Fisk University and to the public. Moderated by Ciona Rouse, poet and co-host of the literary podcast, Re/VERB.

 

October 26, 11:00am CST
Austin, TX
Texas Book Festival
NBF Presents: A Morning with the National Book Awards

One month before the 70th Annual National Book Awards, join the National Book Foundation at the Texas Book Festival for the fall season’s first preview featuring 2019 Awards Finalists and Longlisters—and potential Winners—Sarah M. Broom (The Yellow House, Nonfiction), Jericho Brown (The Tradition, Poetry), Julia Phillips (Disappearing Earth, Fiction), and Randy Ribay (Patron Saints of Nothing, Young People’s Literature). Across subject and genre, the conversation will highlight some of the best contemporary literature in America.

 

November 3, 5:00pm EST
Baltimore, MD
Baltimore Book Festival
NBF Presents: Captive No More

Join National Book Awards Finalist Shane McCrae (In the Language of My Captor, Poetry) and former 5 Under 35 honoree Danielle Evans (Before You Suffocate Your Own Fool Self) at the Baltimore Book Festival for a conversation on the stories of mixed-race Americans struggling to break free of black and white stereotypes.

 

November 6, 6:00pm EST
New Haven, CT
New Haven Free Public Library
NBF Presents: Border Stories

Join current 2019 National Book Awards Longlister Greg Grandin (The End of the Myth, Nonfiction) and Finalist Carmen Giménez Smith (Be Recorder, Poetry) for a conversation on borders, both physical and figurative, in shaping identity, history, and literature. This event is presented in partnership with the New Haven Free Public Library and will be followed by a reception and celebration of NHFPL’s National Medal for Museum and Library Service.

 

November 7, 12:00pm PST
Vancouver, WA
Clark College
NBF Presents: The Female Gaze

Current 2019 National Book Awards Fiction Finalist Kali Fajardo-Anstine (Sabrina & Corina) and Longlister Kimberly King Parsons (Black Light) visit Clark College’s Columbia Writers Series for a reading and discussion on building buzz around debut short story collections and highlighting the many faces of contemporary female identity in literature. The conversation will be followed by a book signing and is open to students, faculty, and community members.

 

November 9, 10:00am PST
Portland, OR
Portland Book Festival
NBF Presents: A Morning with the National Book Awards

Two weeks before the 70th Annual National Book Awards, join the National Book Foundation at the Portland Book Festival for a showcase event featuring 2019 Awards Finalists and Longlisters Laurie Halse Anderson (SHOUT, Young People’s Literature), Kali Fajardo-Anstine (Sabrina & Corina, Fiction), Kimberly King Parsons (Black Light, Fiction), and David Treuer (The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee, Nonfiction) before the reveal of this year’s Winners. The panel will feature readings and conversation.

 

November 19, 7:00pm EST
New York City, NY
The New School
2019 National Book Awards Finalists Reading

Each fall, on the night before the National Book Awards, all of the Finalists gather at the New School to read from their honored titles at a signature Awards event that is open to the public. The 2019 reading will feature the Finalists in Fiction, Nonfiction, Poetry, Young People’s Literature, and Translated Literature. Tickets are $10 to attend. This event is made possible by the New School.

 

November 22, 6:00pm EST
Miami, FL
Miami Book Fair
An Evening with the National Book Awards Winners, Finalists, and Longlisters

Fresh from the 2019 National Book Awards, join the National Book Foundation at the Miami Book Fair for a special evening that highlights the best of contemporary literature in America. Every 2019 National Book Award Longlister, Finalist, and Winner is invited to Miami for a super-sized Awards reading—the first chance to hear from these honored authors following the whirlwind of the National Book Awards. The reading will feature recognized works from all Awards categories, including Fiction, Nonfiction, Poetry, Young People’s Literature, and Translated Literature. Lisa Lucas, Executive Director of the National Book Foundation, will moderate the evening. This event is made possible by the generosity of the James L. Knight Foundation.

 

December 12, 6:00pm CST
Dallas, TX
African American Museum of Dallas
Literature for Justice: Women Writing Beyond Bars

The National Book Foundation’s Literature for Justice program seeks to contextualize mass incarceration through an annual reading list of five books. In 2019, our highlighted titles, all authored by women, were selected by committee members Michelle Alexander, Reginald Dwayne Betts, Zachary Lazar, Kelly Lytle Hernandez, and Shaka Senghor. Join the National Book Foundation and the African American Museum of Dallas for the second-year launch to honor and delve into these works. The event will feature brief readings from four of the recognized authors—asha bandele (The Prisoner’s Wife), Susan Burton (Becoming Ms. Burton), Rachel Kushner (The Mars Room), and Danielle Sered (Until We Reckon); a conversation with the authors alongside committee members Michelle Alexander (The New Jim Crow), Reginald Dwayne Betts (Shahid Reads His Own Palm), Zachary Lazar (Vengeance), and Kelly Lytle Hernandez (City of Inmates); and a question-and-answer session with the audience. A book signing will follow. This event is made possible by the Art for Justice Fund.

Unless otherwise noted, all programs made possible by our partners and The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.  

For times and locations for events, please visit the Foundation’s events calendar at www.nationalbook.org/events-calendar or the websites of any of our partners.

 

The 2019 National Book Awards Finalists Announced

The twenty-five Finalists for the 2018 National Book Awards for Fiction, Nonfiction, Poetry, Translated Literature, and Young People’s Literature (YPL) were announced with Buzzfeed News’s AM To DM.

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 2019 National Book Awards for Fiction, Nonfiction, Poetry, Translated Literature, and Young People’s Literature (YPL) were announced today with VanityFair.com. The five Finalists in each category were selected by a distinguished panel of literary experts, and were advanced from the Longlists announced in September. Between the five categories, there are four writers who have been previously honored by the National Book Awards: Akwaeke Emezi, a 5 Under 35 Honoree in 2018, Toi Derricotte, a Literarian Award recipient in 2016 for her work with Cave Canem, Jason Reynolds, a 2016 YPL Finalist and 2017 YPL Longlister, and Laura Ruby, a 2015 YPL Finalist. Four of the twenty-five Finalists are debuts.

Publishers submitted a total of 1,712 books for this year’s National Book Awards: 397 in Fiction, 600 in Nonfiction, 245 in Poetry, 145 in Translated Literature, and 325 in Young People’s Literature. Judges’ decisions are made independently of the National Book Foundation staff and Board of Directors; deliberations are strictly confidential.

The Winners will be announced on Wednesday, November 20 at the 70th National Book Awards Ceremony and Benefit Dinner, hosted by LeVar Burton, at Cipriani Wall Street in New York City. Two lifetime achievement awards will also be presented at the Awards dinner: Edmund White will be recognized with the National Book Foundation’s Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters, presented by John Waters, and Oren J. Teicher will receive the Foundation’s Literarian Award for Outstanding Service to the American Literary Community, presented by Ann Patchett.

FINALISTS FOR FICTION:

The Other Americans by Laila Lalami is set into motion when a Moroccan immigrant is killed under suspicious circumstances, with witnesses and survivors desperate for answers. In Julia Phillips’s Disappearing Earth, the search for two sisters who have disappeared from a remote Russian city ignites powerful questions about class, gender, and ethnicity. A debut short story collection set in Denver, Sabrina & Corina: Stories by Kali Fajardo-Anstine focuses on Latinas of indigenous descent and explores themes of ancestry, incarceration, illness, gentrification, and domestic violence with compassion and precision. The first installment of a trilogy from Man Booker Prize winner Marlon James, Black Leopard, Red Wolf incorporates African mythology in an epic story about a lost boy and a cast of fantastical characters searching for the truth. Susan Choi’s novel Trust Exercise is about two students at a performing arts high school who fall in love, but leaves the reader questioning what happened to their relationship as well as the relationship between fact and fiction.

FINALISTS FOR NONFICTION:

Focused on her family’s property in New Orleans, Sarah M. Broom’s The Yellow House tells the story of how a family, a home, and a city has weathered tragedy, catastrophe, and inequality. In her collection Thick: And Other Essays, Tressie McMillan Cottom offers genre-bending analyses across many topics but remains united in her focus on the experience of black womanhood in America. In What You Have Heard Is True: A Memoir of Witness and Resistance, an unexpected encounter with a stranger brings poet Carolyn Forché to El Salvador where she is exposed to a country on the precipice of war. The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee: Native America from 1890 to the Present, the seventh book by Ojibwe author David Treuer, counters familiar narratives about America’s indigenous peoples, documenting survival and modern life, thereby connecting the past with those who are living out its legacy. Written with Leslie George, Solitary revisits the four decades Albert Woodfox spent in solitary confinement for a crime he didn’t commit, and how he—and the others in the Angola 3—turned injustice into a story of resistance and survival.

FINALISTS FOR POETRY:

Deaf Republic by Ilya Kaminsky imagines a protest where a gunshot literally deafens the populace. In her sixth collection Be Recorder, Carmen Giménez Smith sounds a call for rebellion against American complacency and compromise. Jericho Brown’s The Tradition examines the growing presence of terror and trauma in our lives—and introduces a new poetic form called “the duplex.” With an eye towards the impending climate crisis, Sight Lines, Arthur Sze’s tenth collection, uses a broad spectrum of voices and forms to reflect on the imperiled natural world. “I”: New and Selected Poems includes more than 30 new poems by Toi Derricotte and uses an autobiographical perspective to respond to issues of race, gender, class, and other themes.

FINALISTS FOR TRANSLATED LITERATURE: 

  • Khaled Khalifa, Death Is Hard Work
    Translated from the Arabic by Leri Price
    Farrar, Straus and Giroux / Macmillan Publishers

  • László Krasznahorkai, Baron Wenckheim’s Homecoming
    Translated from the Hungarian by Ottilie Mulzet
    New Directions

  • Scholastique Mukasonga, The Barefoot Woman
    Translated from the French by Jordan Stump
    Archipelago Books

  • Yoko Ogawa, The Memory Police
    Translated from the Japanese by Stephen Snyder
    Pantheon Books / Penguin Random House

  • Pajtim Statovci, Crossing
    Translated from the Finnish by David Hackston
    Pantheon Books / Penguin Random House

Translated from the French by Jordan Stump, The Barefoot Woman is Scholastique Mukasonga’s second memoir about the Rwandan genocide and focuses on the loss of her mother. A family is forced to reunite to bury their father amid the wreckage of Syria’s civil war in Khaled Khalifa’s Odyssean black comedy Death Is Hard Work, which was translated from the Arabic by Leri Price. The Memory Police by Yoko Ogawa, translated from the Japanese by Stephen Snyder, is set on a mysterious island where everyday objects suddenly go missing and the memories of them are suppressed by the new eponymous police force. In Baron Wenckheim’s Homecoming, Ottilie Mulzet translates László Krasznahorkai’s ambitious sentences from the Hungarian that describe a disgraced baron’s return from exile and a professor’s retreat into the woods to regain control of his thoughts, all set against mounting nationalism and a looming apocalypse. And in Pajtim Statovci’s Crossing, which was translated from the Finnish by David Hackston, two friends flee from Albania to Italy hoping to find acceptance and a place that makes them feel whole.

FINALISTS FOR YOUNG PEOPLE’S LITERATURE:

Look Both Ways, a novel told in stories by Jason Reynolds, conjures entire worlds out of ten city blocks by sharing the adventures and mishaps that befall children on their ways home from school and is punctuated by illustrations from Alex Nabaum. In Randy Ribay’s novel Patron Saints of Nothing, a Filipino-American student’s life is upended when his cousin is murdered in connection with President Duterte’s war on drugs—and no one will talk about it. Justice and denial also factor into Akwaeke Emezi’s genre-bending first novel for young readers, Pet, in which a transgender teenager lives in a world where adults refuse to admit that the monsters surrounding them actually exist. Set during World War II, Laura Ruby’s Thirteen Doors, Wolves Behind Them All is a novel that chronicles the struggles of siblings abandoned at an orphanage. Martin W. Sandler looks back in history with 1919 The Year that Changed America, which uses archival images to explore a year that brought about Prohibition, suffrage, and a flood of molasses.

The 70th National Book Awards Ceremony and Benefit Dinner will be streamed via Facebook Live and also available at the Foundation’s website, www.nationalbook.org. Winners of the National Book Awards receive $10,000 and a bronze medal and statue; Winners and Finalists in the Translated Literature category will split the prize evenly between author and translator; Finalists receive $1,000 and a bronze medal. The Benefit is hosted by a dinner committee including Lea Carpenter, Caitlin Hoyt, Deborah Needleman, Nicolas Niarchos, Tracy Sherrod, and Shelley Wanger.

The Awards Ceremony is the culminating event of National Book Awards Week. The celebration begins on November 18 with 5 Under 35, the Foundation’s celebration of emerging fiction writers selected by National Book Award Winners, Finalists, Longlisted authors, and former 5 Under 35 honorees. On the morning of November 19, the National Book Awards Teen Press Conference will take place at the 92nd Street Y in New York City. On the evening of November 19, all Finalists will read from their books at the National Book Awards Finalists Reading at The New School. The Finalists Reading is open to the public; tickets are $10 and are available at The New School website.