The ten titles on the Translated Literature Longlist were originally written in ten different languages: Arabic, Danish, Finnish, French, Hungarian, Japanese, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, and Spanish. The list features seven novels, two memoirs, and a collection of essays, together representing the stories and literary traditions of many nations, including Brazil, Chile, Denmark, Finland, Hungary, Japan, Norway, Poland, Rwanda, and Syria. One of the authors, Olga Tokarczuk, was a Finalist for the National Book Award for Translated Literature last year. The authors and translators on the list have been recognized by numerous international prizes, such as the Akutagawa Prize, the French Voices Award, the Jabuti Prize, the King of Spain Prize, the Man Asian Literary Prize, the Man Booker International Prize, the Prix Renaudot, the Naguib Mahfouz Medal for Literature, the Nordic Council Literature Prize, the Shirley Jackson Award, the Toisinkoinen Literature Prize, the Transatlantyk Prize, and the United Nations Special Press Trophy.
There are three nonfiction titles on the list, including two memoirs, each providing insight into lived experiences on different continents. Naja Marie Aidt’s When Death Takes Something from You Give It Back, translated from the Danish by Denise Newman, chronicles the first years of grief after Aidt’s 25-year-old son dies in a tragic accident. Translated from the French by Jordan Stump, The Barefoot Woman is ScholastiqueMukasonga’s second memoir about the Rwandan genocide and focuses on the loss of her mother. The Collector of Leftover Souls by journalist Eliane Brum and translated from the Portuguese by Diane Grosklaus Whitty is a collection of essays profiling the lives and conflicts in a variety of communities, from the favelas of São Paulo to the wilderness of the Amazon.
Three novels force distanced families and old friends to reckon with darker times. In Will and Testament by Vigdis Hjorth and translated from the Norwegian by Charlotte Barslund, an estranged daughter is drawn back to her family after her parents’ will dredges up bitter memories and childhood traumas. Space Invaders by Nona Fernández, and translated from the Spanish by Natasha Wimmer, features four friends who realize their old, missing classmate came from a family connected to the Pinochet regime. And 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.
With a turn toward both the speculative and the political are The Memory Police by Yoko Ogawa and Baron Wenckheim’s Homecoming by László Krasznahorkai. The former, which was 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. And in Baron Wenckheim’s Homecoming, Ottilie Mulzet translates 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 the two remaining novels on the list invoke traditions of myths and fairy tales to share their stories. A recluse with artistic passions believes she’s the only one who can reveal the truth behind a spate of murders in a remote village in Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead by Olga Tokarczuk and translated from the Polish by Antonia Lloyd-Jones. 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.
Publishers submitted a total of 145 books for the 2019 National Book Award for Translated Literature. The judging panel in the category’s second year is made up of Keith Gessen, Elisabeth Jaquette, Katie Kitamura, Idra Novey (Chair), and Shuchi Saraswat. These distinguished judges were given the charge of selecting what they deem to be the best books of the year. Their decisions are made independently of the National Book Foundation staff and Board of Directors; deliberations are strictly confidential.
The National Book Award Finalists will be announced on October 8, and the Winners announced at the invitation-only National Book Awards Ceremony and Benefit Dinner on November 20 in New York City.
2019 LONGLIST FOR THE NATIONAL BOOK AWARD FOR TRANSLATED LITERATURE:
Six of the authors on the YPL Longlist have been recognized by the National Book Foundation in the past, including Cynthia Kadohata, Winner of the 2013 National Book Award for Young People’s Literature. In the same category, Jason Reynolds was Longlisted in 2017 and a Finalist in 2016. Kwame Alexander was Longlisted in 2016. Laura Ruby was a Finalist in 2015. Laurie Halse Anderson has previously been recognized by the National Book Award for YPL three times; she appeared on the Longlist in 2014 and was a Finalist in both 2008 and 1999. Additionally, last year, author Akwaeke Emezi was selected as a 5 Under 35 Honoree, the National Book Foundation’s prize for young debut fiction writers. Between them, these authors and illustrators have also been recognized by a variety of other prizes and honors, including the Coretta Scott King Book Award, the Newbery Medal, the Caldecott Honor, the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award, the Walter Dean Myers Award, the NAACP Image Award, the Michael L. Printz Award, the Pulitzer Prize, the Eisner Award, and the Emmy Awards.
The 2019 YPL Longlist is a mosaic of ideas, styles, and backgrounds. The authors come from locations across the globe, from California to Pennsylvania, Nigeria to Washington, DC. Through verse, illustration, and prose, these books address gender and sexual identity, race and politics, personal history and global events, and the different worlds we can encounter even on a short walk home from school.
Look Both Ways, a novel 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. Randy Ribay takes a more global perspective with his novel Patron Saints of Nothing, in which 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.
Among this year’s illustrated works is Kiss Number 8, a graphic novel written by Colleen AF Venable and illustrated by Ellen T. Crenshaw that explores how a friendship and a family can be disrupted when new sexual and gender identities are unexpectedly revealed. National Book Award Winner Cynthia Kadohata’s A Place to Belong follows a family that is sent back to Japan after the Pearl Harbor bombing only to encounter even more destruction when they arrive, and is interspersed with several illustrations by Julia Kuo.
Also set during World War II is Laura Ruby’s Thirteen Doors, Wolves Behind Them All, a novel that chronicles the struggles of siblings abandoned at an orphanage during one of America’s most difficult times. Martin W. Sandlerlooks farther 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.
Hal Schrieve veers into a more fantastical realm with Out of Salem, hir novel about a genderqueer zombie teenager who bonds with an “unregistered” werewolf in order to endure life in a town that won’t accept them.
Both Kwame Alexander and Laurie Halse Anderson bring verse into this year’s Longlist. Alexander’s poem The Undefeated is a tribute to black heroes in civil rights, sports, and arts, and is accompanied by vibrant illustrations by Kadir Nelson. In a reprise of her empowering novel Speak, Anderson’s SHOUT bears untold personal stories and is as much a memoir in verse as it is a call-to-action against sexual violence.
Publishers submitted a total of 325 books for the 2019 National Book Award for Young People’s Literature. The judges for YPL are An Na (Chair), Elana K. Arnold, Kristen Gilligan, Varian Johnson, and Deborah Taylor. These distinguished judges were given the charge of selecting what they deem to be the best books of the year. Their decisions are made independently of the National Book Foundation staff and Board of Directors; deliberations are strictly confidential.
The National Book Award Finalists will be announced on October 8, and the Winners announced at the invitation-only National Book Awards Ceremony and Benefit Dinner on November 20 in New York City.
2019 Longlist for the National Book Award for Young People’s Literature:
Kwame Alexander; illustrations by Kadir Nelson, The Undefeated
Versify / Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Laurie Halse Anderson, SHOUT
Viking Books for Young Readers / Penguin Random House
Akwaeke Emezi, Pet Make Me a World / Penguin Random House
Cynthia Kadohata, A Place to Belong
With illustrations by Julia Kuo
Atheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy Books / Simon & Schuster
Writer and filmmaker John Waters to present Medal to White
The National Book Foundation, presenter of the National Book Awards, announced that it will award Edmund White with the 2019 Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters (DCAL). Best known for his portrayals of gay American life in both fiction and nonfiction, White’s body of work spans subject and genre, including a biography of French writer Jean Genet, for which he won the National Book Critics Circle Award; a trilogy of autobiographical novels, A Boy’s Own Story, The Beautiful Room Is Empty, and The Farewell Symphony; pioneering works of nonfiction like The Joy of Gay Sex, the travel memoir States of Desire, and the National Book Critics Circle Award–nominated City Boy; and many other titles. White’s work also includes crucial cultural criticism and activism, particularly around the American AIDS crisis. In 1982, White co-founded (along with Nathan Fain, Larry Kramer, Larry Mass, Paul Popham, and Paul Rapoport) the Gay Men’s Health Crisis, the world’s first provider of HIV/AIDS care and advocacy. The DCAL will be presented to White by the prominent writer and filmmaker John Waters.
“A master of narrative and craft across fiction, journalism, memoir, and more, White has built a career defined by its indelible impact on many literary forms,” said David Steinberger, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the National Book Foundation. “Whether it’s evocative depiction of gay life during the tumultuous 1980s, painstakingly researched biography, or elegant memoir, White’s work stands out across decades as singular in its resonance and significance for a multitude of devoted readers.”
Born in Cincinnati in 1940, White has penned nearly thirty books, beginning with the 1973 novel Forgetting Elena and continuing with the publication of the 2018 memoir The Unpunished Vice and the forthcoming 2020 novel, A Saint From Texas. In addition to his published books, White’s journalism, cultural criticism, and political activism have made him a widely acclaimed chronicler of gay American life and culture through the ages, earning him various awards and accolades, including the 2018 PEN/Saul Bellow Award for Career Achievement in American Fiction, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and the Award for Literature from the National Academy of Arts and Letters.
“Most writers don’t set out to break barriers or trailblaze, but rather to share their unique perspectives and stories on the page,” said Lisa Lucas, Executive Director of the National Book Foundation. “It’s only when you’re able to look back at a body of work that one is able to see a career like Edmund White’s for what it is: revolutionary and vital, making legible for scores of readers the people, moments, and history that would come to define not only queer lives, but also the broader trajectory of American culture.”
In addition to more than a dozen works of fiction, White is the author of fifteen other titles, including works of nonfiction and memoir that laid the groundwork for generations of LGBTQ artists and writers. White’s candid approach to writing about the lives of gay men—including his own experiences—today serve as valuable and moving documentation of the joy, devastation, and victories that defined queer life through the decades. Beyond his remarkable body of written work, White has worked as a staff writer at Time-Life Books, senior editor of The Saturday Review, and associate editor of Horizon.
White is the thirty-second 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 Isabel Allende, Annie Proulx, Robert A. Caro, John Ashbery, Judy Blume, Don DeLillo, Joan Didion, E.L. Doctorow, Maxine Hong Kingston, Stephen King, Ursula K. Le Guin, Elmore Leonard, Norman Mailer, Toni Morrison, and Adrienne Rich. Nominations for the DCAL medal are made by former National Book Award Winners, Finalists, judges, and other writers and literary professionals from around the country. The final selection is made by the National Book Foundation’s Board of Directors. Recipients of the Foundation’s Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters receive $10,000 and a solid brass medal.
You can find the full Associated Press announcement here.
ABOUT EDMUND WHITE
Edmund White was born on January 13, 1940, in Cincinnati, Ohio. When White was seven his parents divorced, and he went with his mother and sister to live on the outskirts of Chicago. Summers were spent with his father in Cincinnati or Michigan. Both his parents and all his relatives were Texans, and as a child he often visited Texas aunts, cousins, and grandparents and lived one year in Dallas.
White attended Cranbrook Academy, majored in Chinese at the University of Michigan, and then moved to New York City where he worked for Time-Life Books from 1962 until 1970. After a year’s sojourn in Rome, White returned to the US, where he served as an editor at The Saturday Review and Horizon. Beginning in the late 1970s, he and six other gay New York writers—Christopher Cox, Robert Ferro, Michael Grumley, Andrew Holleran, Felice Picano, and George Whitmore—formed a casual club known as the Violet Quill. Meeting in one another’s apartments, they would read and critique one another’s work, then move on to high tea. Together they represented a flowering of the kind of gay writing White as a teenager in the Midwest had longed to discover.
In 1982, White co-founded (along with Nathan Fain, Larry Kramer, Larry Mass, Paul Popham, and Paul Rapoport), the Gay Men’s Health Crisis, the world’s first provider of HIV/AIDS care and advocacy. White was the first president. In 1983, White moved to France; when he returned to teach at Princeton in 1998 it was to a literary landscape devastated by AIDS. Four members of the Violet Quill—Cox, Ferro, Grumley, and Whitmore—had died, as well as numerous other promising young writers such as Tim Dlugos and John Fox, White’s student. White’s two closest friends, the critic David Kalstone and his editor Bill Whitehead, were also dead from the disease. White wrote, “For me, these losses were definitive. The witnesses to my life, the people who had shared the same references and sense of humor, were gone. The loss of all the books they might have written remains incalculable.”
White has written thirteen works of fiction, including his amalgamation of Heian Japan in The Tale of Genji and contemporary life on Fire Island, Forgetting Elena (1973), Nocturnes for the King of Naples (1978), and an autobiographical trilogy, A Boy’s Own Story (1982), The Beautiful Room Is Empty (1988), and The Farewell Symphony (1997). In 2000, he published The Married Man, about life in France and the US with a lover dying of AIDS. In Jack Holmes and his Friend (2012), he took up the subject of a lifelong friendship between a straight man and a gay man. In Hotel de Dream (2007), which White considers his best book, he looks at gay life in New York in the late 19th century.
White is not only known as a novelist whose work has been widely praised by such writers as Vladimir Nabokov and Susan Sontag, he is also an influential cultural critic. Urbane, knowing, and sophisticated, he has chronicled gay life in the seventies through the nineties with wit, insight, and compassion. His travelogue States of Desire: Travels in Gay America (1980) remains a classic if insouciant (and now poignant) look at gay life at a particular cultural moment just before the onslaught of AIDS (it was recently re-issued with a new forward and postface). His pioneering book, The Joy of Gay Sex: An Intimate Guide for Gay Men to the Pleasures of a Gay Life (1977), written with Dr. Charles Silverstein, introduced millions, gay and straight and curious alike, to a brave new world of sexual practices and lifestyle.
As a biographer, Edmund White has written a monumental biography of the French novelist and playwright Jean Genet (Genet, 1993) and short biographies of Marcel Proust (Marcel Proust: A Life, 1998) and the poet Arthur Rimbaud (Rimbaud: The Double Life of a Rebel, 2008). White’s other nonfiction includes City Boy (2009); The Flâneur (2000); Inside a Pearl (2014), about his years in Paris;and The Unpunished Vice (2018), about his life as a reader; among other memoirs. He is also a playwright. His first play, The Blue Boy in Black, was staged in 1963 and starred Cicely Tyson. His most recent play, Terre Haute (2006), was about Timothy McVeigh and Gore Vidal, and waspresented at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, in Ireland, and in the UK and US. He is currently writing a new play, Both Ways. Cumulatively, White’s simultaneous presence within so many different genres began to define—in the late 1970s and early 1980s—the parameters of “gay culture.”
Edmund White and his work remain central to any consideration of gay male life in late 20th-century America. He was named the 2018 winner of the PEN/Saul Bellow Award for Achievement in American Fiction, and his forthcoming novel, A Saint From Texas,will be published in August 2020. White lives in New York with his husband, the writer Michael Carroll.
ABOUT JOHN WATERS
John Waters is the author of nine books, including Shock Value; Crackpot; Pink Flamingos and Other Trash; Hairspray, Female Trouble and Multiple Maniacs; Art: A Sex Book (co-written with Bruce Hainley); Role Models; and Carsick. The gift book, Make Trouble, published by Algonquin Books in 2017, features the text, with illustrations, of Waters’ commencement speech delivered at the 2015 Rhode Island School of Design graduation ceremony and was subsequently released as an audio album in 7” single format by Third Man Records. Mr. Know-It-All: The Tarnished Wisdom of a Filth Elder, was published in May 2019.
Waters is a photographer whose work has been shown in galleries all over the world and the director of sixteen movies, including Pink Flamingos, Polyester, Hairspray, Cry Baby, Serial Mom, and A Dirty Shame. John Waters is a member of The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences. Additionally, he is a past member of the boards of The Andy Warhol Foundation and Printed Matter, a former member of the Wexner Center International Arts Advisory Council, and was selected as a juror for the 2011 Venice Biennale. In 2017, Waters was honored when his “Study Art” series was selected to be featured at the Biennale in Venice. Mr. Waters also serves on the Board of Directors for the Maryland Film Festival and has been a key participant in the Provincetown International Film Festival since it began in 1999, the same year Waters was honored as the first recipient of PIFF’s “Filmmaker on the Edge” award. In September 2014, Film Society of Lincoln Center honored John Waters’ fifty years in filmmaking with a 10-day celebration entitled “Fifty Years of John Waters: How Much Can You Take?” featuring a complete retrospective of his film work.
In the fall of 2015, the British Film Institute honored Waters’ fifty-year contribution to cinema with their own program called “The Complete Films of John Waters… Every Goddam One of Them.” The French Minister of Culture bestowed the rank of Officer in the Order of Arts and Letters to Mr. Waters in 2015. In May 2016, Waters was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts from the Maryland Institute College of Arts. In February 2017, John Waters was honored with the Writers Guild of America, East’s Ian McLellan Hunter Award honoring his body of work as a writer in motion pictures. “Indecent Exposure”, a retrospective of Waters’ art was exhibited at the Baltimore Museum of Art from October 2018, to January 2019, and on view at the Wexner Center for the Arts in Columbus, OH from February 2 to April 28, 2019.
The CEO of the American Booksellers Association to be honored at the 2019 National Book Awards for his career championing independent bookstores
The National Book Foundation, presenter of the National Book Awards, announced Oren J. Teicher, CEO of the American Booksellers Association (ABA) since 2009, as the recipient of its 2019 Literarian Award for Outstanding Service to the American Literary Community. Recognizing the key cultural and economic role that independent bookstores play in their communities, the ABA provides information, education, business tools, programs, and advocacy for local businesses across the country, working to strengthen and expand independent bookstores nationwide, efforts which Teicher has effectively spearheaded.
Appointed to the position of Associate Executive Director of the ABA in 1990, Teicher, who will retire at the end of 2019, has also served as Director of Government Affairs, founding President of the American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression, and as ABA’s Chief Operating Officer. The Literarian Award will be presented to Teicher by Ann Patchett, bestselling author of books like Bel Canto, State of Wonder, and Commonwealth, and owner of independent bookstore Parnassus Books in Nashville, Tennessee.
“We are lucky enough to be at a moment where, across the nation, books are rising,” said Lisa Lucas, Executive Director of the National Book Foundation. “But this moment of essential recognition for books and booksellers would have looked very different were it not for enormous resilience shown by indies and the teams that support them, navigated steadfastly by Oren Teicher. We are honored to recognize his immense contributions, and we are grateful for where those efforts have taken us—a position from which we can joyfully look toward a continued, rich literary future.”
In support of the bookselling community, Teicher has emphasized the importance of the shop local movement, advocated for fair and sustainable tax laws, and worked to put the struggles and successes of independent bookstores into the public consciousness through increased media coverage and broader cultural awareness.
Working closely with store owners, booksellers, and the publishing industry, Teicher has encouraged the growth of Winter Institute and Children’s Institute, further cultivating a strong and united bookselling community, and has invigorated collaborations between indies and publishers through improved sales terms and innovative marketing incentives. From 2009 to 2019, during the years of Teicher’s tenure as CEO of the ABA, the number of independent bookstores jumped from 1,651 to 2,534, with ABA membership as well as store sales increasing in lock step.
“Booksellers and the publishing world at large could not have hoped for a more passionate and effective advocate than they found in Oren Teicher,” said David Steinberger, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the National Book Foundation. “For three decades at the ABA, Teicher has been an absolute champion for booksellers, readers, writers, publishers, and independent bookstores across the nation, and the thriving state of bookselling reflects that work.”
As CEO, Teicher was a critical force behind ABA’s IndieBound program, which helps create community among independent booksellers, connecting stores with authors, readers, and one another, and positioning indies so that they are able to better amplify the message of small businesses’ positive cultural impact.
In recognition of this work, Teicher will receive the Literarian Award at the 70th National Book Awards Ceremony and Benefit Dinner on November 20, 2019 in New York City. This is the fifteenth year that the Foundation has presented the Literarian Award, which is given to an individual or organization for a lifetime of achievement in expanding the audience for books and reading. Past recipients include Dr. Maya Angelou, Joan Ganz Cooney, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Terry Gross, Kyle Zimmer, the literary organization Cave Canem, Richard Robinson, and, most recently, the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation’s Doron Weber.
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.
You can find the full Publishers Weekly announcement here, and learn more about the work of the American Booksellers Association at the ABA website.
ABOUT OREN J. TEICHER
Oren J. Teicher is the Chief Executive Officer of the American Booksellers Association, the national trade association for independent booksellers, and he has been working on behalf of independent bookstores for more than thirty years, beginning in 1990 as the ABA Associate Executive Director, then as Director of Government Affairs, as the founding President of the American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression, and, through 2009, as ABA’s Chief Operating Officer. He was appointed as ABA’s CEO in 2009. Teicher has played an integral part in ABA’s IndieBound program, Local First initiatives, and he works closely with independent business alliance boards and other independent retail trade associations. He has forged relationships with bookseller associations around the world; and has served as an officer of the European and International Booksellers Federation (EIBF).
Teicher has received numerous awards and recognition for his work; including being named Publishers Weekly’s Person of the Year in 2013.
He announced this past March that he will be retiring from ABA at the end of 2019.
Before joining ABA, Teicher was the Director of Corporate Communications for the March of Dimes Birth Defects Foundation, and he served for many years as a senior staffer in the U.S. Congress.
ABOUT ANN PATCHETT
Ann Patchett is the author of seven novels, The Patron Saint of Liars, Taft, The Magician’s Assistant, Bel Canto, Run, State of Wonder, and Commonwealth. She was the editor of Best American Short Stories, 2006, and has written three books of nonfiction, Truth & Beauty, What now?, and, most recently, This is the Story of a Happy Marriage. She has won numerous prizes, including the PEN/Faulkner Award and the Orange Prize for Fiction, and her work has been translated into more than thirty languages. She was named one of the 100 most influential people in the world by Time magazine. Patchett is the co-owner of Parnassus Books in Nashville, Tennessee, where she lives with her husband, Karl VanDevender, and their dog, Sparky.
National Book Awards authors to appear at Book Rich Environments’ library partners for a summer reading series
The National Book Foundation (NBF) has announced its summer season of NBF Presents, a program that brings National Book Award-honored authors to libraries, colleges, book festivals, and presenting houses around the nation. This July and August, NBF Presents will host a series of readings and panel discussions at library branches in Akron, OH; Allen County, IN; New Bedford, MA; Roanoke, VA; and Sarasota, FL, featuring celebrated authors Chen Chen, Charmaine Craig, Diana Khoi Nguyen, Ibram X. Kendi, Rebecca Makkai, Shane McCrae, Justin Phillip Reed, Margaret Wilkerson Sexton, Nafissa Thompson-Spires, and Monica Youn. This season of NBF Presents will focus exclusively on partnerships with libraries around the country that have also served as local partners for NBF’s Book Rich Environments (BRE) program, which distributes books to children and families living in public housing.
This summer iteration of NBF Presents will work to deepen the relationships with these partners, reaching an even wider swath of readers in their communities by sending National Book Awards–honored authors to their library branches, engaging audiences around themes of identity, representation, and more.
The full list of NBF Presents summer events can be found below, and additional details are available on the Foundation’s events calendar.
NBF Presents: Summer with the National Book Awards
July 25, 7:00PM EST Akron, OH Akron-Summit County Public Library Writing Womanhood: Nafissa Thompson-Spires and Monica Youn
Join us and the Akron-Summit County Public Library for a conversation with fiction writer Nafissa Thompson-Spires (Heads of the Colored People, National Book Award Longlister) and poet Monica Youn (Ignatz, Blackacre, National Book Award Longlister & Finalist) on writing diverse female stories, from girlhood to motherhood, that women can actually see themselves in. Moderated by Teri Ellen Cross Davis.
August 8, 6:30PM EST New Bedford, MA New Bedford Free Public Library The 1980s to Now: Chen Chen and Rebecca Makkai
Join us and the New Bedford Free Public Library for AHA! New Bedford’s arts & culture celebration featuring a conversation with poet Chen Chen (When I Grow Up I Want to be a List of Further Possibilities, National Book Award Longlister) and novelist Rebecca Makkai (The Great Believers, National Book Award Finalist) on narratives spanning the height of the AIDS epidemic in Chicago to Chinese-American millennials. Moderated by Joseph O. Legaspi.
August 17, 2:00PM EST Sarasota, FL Sarasota County Libraries and Historical Resources Ghosts of Our Past: Diana Khoi Nguyen and Margaret Wilkerson Sexton
Join us and the Sarasota County Libraries for a conversation with poet Diana Khoi Nguyen (Ghost Of, National Book Award Finalist) and novelist Margaret Wilkerson Sexton (A Kind of Freedom, National Book Award Longlister) on survivor stories—writing on family exile and segregation from Saigon to New Orleans. Moderated by Chimene Suleyman.
August 25, 2:00PM EST Fort Wayne, IN Allen County Public Library Family Histories: Charmaine Craig and Shane McCrae
Join us and the Allen County Public Library for a conversation with novelist Charmaine Craig (Miss Burma, National Book Award Longlister) and poet Shane McCrae (In the Language of My Captor, National Book Award Finalist) on the stories of ancestors on both sides of history—the powerful and the powerless.
August 29, 6:30PM EST Roanoke, VA Roanoke Public Libraries Indecent Histories: Ibram X. Kendi and Justin Phillip Reed
Join us and the Roanoke Public Libraries for a conversation with two National Book Awards Winners, author and historian Ibram X. Kendi (Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America) and poet Justin Phillip Reed (Indecency). These acclaimed writers will discuss histories of inequity and discrimination, contemporary identity, and what community looks like for writers and people of color. Moderated by Douglas Jackson.
NBF Presents is made possible by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
In 39 sites across 22 states, the National Book Foundation’s Book Rich Environments program will surpass one million books donated by publishers and distributed in public housing communities
Launched in January of 2017, the Book Rich Environments (BRE) initiative aims to foster life-long, joyful relationships between readers and books in communities nationwide by providing resources that reinforce local efforts to combat lack of literary access, often termed “book deserts.” The national program is a collaboration between the National Book Foundation, which serves as lead partner, the U.S. Departments of Education (ED) and Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the Urban Libraries Council, and the National Center for Families Learning. By the end of 2019, BRE will have provided over one million free books to families living in public housing authorities (PHAs), distributed in partnership with local libraries, community centers, and PHA staff across the U.S.
This unique program works with HUD-assisted communities to strengthen home libraries, facilitate book-distribution events, and provide the information and tools to establish long-term connections between families, literature, and literacy resources.
“We work year-round to make sure that all kinds of readers, all over the country, have the resources and the encouragement to help form meaningful, lasting relationships to literature” said David Steinberger, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the National Book Foundation. “We couldn’t do this work alone, and it’s been amazing to be able to offer our support to the outstanding teams at local libraries and literacy organizations, who work tirelessly to serve their communities.”
With book contribution commitments from seven U.S. book publishers (Candlewick Press, Hachette Book Group, HarperCollins Publishers, Macmillan Publishers, Penguin Random House, Scholastic, and Simon & Schuster), BRE will this year surpass one million free, high-quality, diverse books distributed to children and families in HUD-assisted communities. From Alabama to Colorado to Massachusetts, BRE programming will once again take place in regions across the country. Three new sites, in Louisville, Kentucky, Lincoln, Nebraska, and Portland, Oregon, will be joining for the first time, bringing the number of local partnerships up to 39 sites in 22 states.
“When we launched the Book Rich Environments program, we had this big dream of giving away a million brand-new, great books, which at the time felt like this enormous, daunting goal,” said Lisa Lucas, Executive Director of the National Book Foundation. “With the help of our incredible partners, we have been astonished at what we’ve been able to accomplish over the past three years. One million books is just the beginning for us.”
Each local public housing authority partner pledges to hold at least three book-distribution events at which the publisher-donated titles make their way into the hands of children and families. These events are held at public housing buildings and community centers, with local library branches facilitating giveaways, coordinating library card signups, and sharing information on literacy resources available to families. Past events have included building a pop-up library in administrative offices, hosting holiday events that couple festivities with book distributions, and even PHA staff visiting residents door to door to pass out titles.
Books available at BRE book-distribution events include both English and Spanish language titles for readers ages 0-18. Titles by beloved children’s and YA authors such as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Margaret Wise Brown, Eric Carle, Roald Dahl, Matt de la Peña, and R. J. Palacio will be distributed, as well as titles by National Book Awards–honored authors like Christopher Paul Curtis, Kate Milford, Angie Thomas, Louis Sachar, and Maurice Sendak.
With a focus on providing free books, programming, and vital connections to local resources, BRE seeks to make long-lasting impact within PHAs, helping to create sustainable book rich environments where literature is accessible and celebrated within the community. All participating BRE cities and counties can be found below.
The National Book Foundation recognizes WePAC and two honorable mentions with a total of $13,000 in prize money to support innovative literary work.
Foundation recognizes WePAC and two honorable mentions with a total of $13,000 in prize money to support innovative literary work
The National Book Foundation announced the West Philadelphia Alliance for Children (WePAC) as the winner of the 2019 Innovations in Reading Prize, a $10,000 prize annually awarded to an individual or organization that has developed an innovative project that creates and sustains a lifelong love of reading.
In addition to the winner, the Innovations in Reading Prize also identifies honorable mentions each year. This year, two honorable mention organizations will be awarded with $1,500 each to recognize their work. The 2019 honorable mentions are Oakland International High School and Word Up Community Bookshop.
Launched in 2004 as a response to the closing of school libraries in Philadelphia, WePAC works to mobilize nearly 200 volunteers to reopen and staff libraries in the area, serving more than 5,000 students and promoting positive reading habits with weekly library programming and special events. WePAC was chosen as the 2019 Innovations in Reading Prize winner from a pool of 142 applications. In support of its mission and work, WePAC will receive $10,000 from the National Book Foundation.
“The West Philadelphia Alliance for Children is incredibly humbled and honored to receive the Innovations in Reading Prize from the National Book Foundation. At WePAC, we know that stories can stoke curiosity, inspire reflection, and enhance a child’s understanding of the world around them. With school libraries in our city no longer functioning, WePAC volunteers have worked tirelessly to revive these spaces and bring stories to life for children that are too often left falling behind. This award from the National Book Foundation underscores the importance and value of reading for all children, and we are grateful to be this year’s recipient.”
—Anisha Sinha, Executive Director of WePAC.
With a focus on supporting literacy development, closing the gap between the resources available to Philadelphia public school students and those in neighboring districts, and sharing the joy of reading through the offering of high-quality books and programs, WePAC approaches each school library reopening with the goal of providing regular, sustainable library access for students. Working in under-resourced schools, WePAC coordinates the stocking of library books, the staffing of each location with committed volunteers, and the programming of special events that connect kids with authors, illustrators, local professionals, and others able to speak to the excitement and power of reading, highlighting the importance of literacy skills for future success.
“Access to great books and literacy resources is an imperative, but one that is too often not met. West Philadelphia Alliance for Children saw a need in the community and stepped up, throwing remarkable efforts behind a simple belief: that kids deserve access to school libraries. The passion that staff and volunteers bring to their work is making a difference in the lives of thousands of young people, and we are honored to award WePAC with this year’s Innovations in Reading Prize.”
—David Steinberger, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the National Book Foundation
Applications for the 2019 Innovations in Reading Prize comprised a wide range of programs working to build and fortify strong literary communities, and this year’s honorable mentions reflect those efforts. Oakland International High School (OIHS), whose student body is made up entirely of newly arrived immigrant and refugee students, partners its junior class with local elementary school students for a specialized reading curriculum that encourages the critical analysis of texts while also providing a comfortable space for high school students to sharpen their English, reading, and comprehension skills. Seven Stories Institute’s Word Up Community Bookshop is a volunteer-run, multilingual community bookshop and arts space in Washington Heights, New York City that works through literature to spark dialogue, cultivate education, and inspire community in neighborhoods without easy access to books.
Second year of “Notes from the Reading Life” series coming to NYC libraries – The 2019 season will bring Brian Lehrer, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Sonia Manzano to NYPL branches in Staten Island, Manhattan, and the Bronx
The 2019 season will bring Brian Lehrer, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Sonia Manzano to NYPL branches in Staten Island, Manhattan, and the Bronx
Launched last year as a collaboration between the National Book Foundation and The New York Public Library, with support from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, Notes from the Reading Life is a discussion series that brings prominent New York City readers to library branches across the boroughs to share some of the books that excite, inspire, and guide them.
Following the 2018 season which included appearances by Tim Gunn and Desus Nice, the 2019 Notes from the Reading Life events will feature WNYC mainstay Brian Lehrer in Staten Island, renowned actor and Editorial Director of SJP for Hogarth Sarah Jessica Parker in Manhattan, and beloved Sesame Street actor Sonia Manzano in the Bronx. The series will pair each featured guest with a writer or literary figure who will help lead a discussion on the formative role of literature in their lives, the joy of great books, and the memorable reads that have stuck with them, continuously sparking inspiration and excitement.
Kicking off the series at Stapleton Library in Staten Island, WYNC’s Brian Lehrer will be in conversation with Karan Mahajan, author of the National Book Award Finalist The Association of Small Bombs. At Tompkins Square Library, Sarah Jessica Parker will sit down with Fatima Farheen Mirza, whose novel A Place for Us was the first book published by Parker’s imprint with Hogarth, and who also serves as a teaching artist with the National Book Foundation’s BookUp program, which pairs middle grade students with authors for after-school reading groups. Rounding out the season, Sonia Manzano, best known for playing Maria on Sesame Street for over 40 years, will appear at the Bronx Library Center with Angela Yee, host of the syndicated radio talk show The Breakfast Club and a current NYPL Ambassador.
Event information is below, and additional details and registration links can be found at the NYPL website.
JUNE 11, 7:00pm Brian Lehrer, Host of WNYC’s The Brian Lehrer Show In conversation with Karan Mahajan, author of The Association of Small Bombs Stapleton Library, 132 Canal Street, Staten Island
JUNE 13, 6:30pm Sarah Jessica Parker, Actor and Editorial Director of SJP for Hogarth
In conversation with Fatima Farheen Mirza, author of A Place for Us Tompkins Square Library, 331 E 10th Street, East Village
JUNE 17, 6:30pm Sonia Manzano, Sesame Street Actor, Writer, and Speaker
In conversation with Angela Yee, NYPL Ambassador and host of The Breakfast Club Bronx Library Center, 310 E Kingsbridge Rd, Bronx
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 70th National Book Awards
On March 13, the National Book Foundation announced its 25 judges for this year’s Awards, in the categories of Fiction, Nonfiction, Poetry, Young People’s Literature, and Translated Literature, a category added in 2018, to be awarded for the second time in 2019.
“Serving on the judging panels for the National Book Awards is no small undertaking, and one that must be approached with the utmost care and enthusiasm,” said David Steinberger, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the National Book Foundation. “We have full confidence that these 25 exceptional readers all bring the necessary expertise and acuity to a tradition of excellence as the National Book Awards enters its 70th year.”
This year’s judges include writers, booksellers, academics, editors, critics, and translators from across the country. Panelists include National Book Awards Finalists and Longlisted authors; a winner of the Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence; recipients of Guggenheim Fellowships, a Windham-Campbell Prize, a Whiting Award, a Michael A. Printz Award, and a National Magazine Award; directors of literary organizations; professors, bookstore owners, and librarians.
“Each year, we strive to assemble judging panels that reflect the expansive lives of readers everywhere,” said Lisa Lucas, Executive Director of the National Book Foundation. “This year is no different, and we could not be prouder to present a carefully selected body of judges that is as passionate, well-read, and inquisitive as this nation of readers.”
The judges for the 2019 National Book Awards will select 50 Longlist titles, 10 per category, which will be announced mid-September. These will be winnowed down to 25 Finalists, announced on October 8. Winners in all five categories will be announced at the 70th National Book Awards Ceremony and Benefit Dinner on November 20.