74th National Book Awards

November 15, 2023 In-person and online



Ceremony Details

Ceremony Details


Opening remarks from Host LeVar Burton
Presentation of Lifetime Achievement awards


Remarks from Special Guest Oprah Winfrey


Presentation of the National Book Awards


Photo of 2023 National Book Awards Ceremony Host LeVar Burton (Photo Credit: Sarah Coulter for Paramount+)

LeVar Burton

LeVar Burton is an actor, director, producer, and podcaster whose decades-long body of work includes RootsStar Trek: The Next Generation, and Reading Rainbow. He is the honored recipient of seven NAACP Awards, a Peabody Award, a Grammy Award, and 15 Emmy Awards. As a lifelong literacy advocate, Burton has dedicated decades to encouraging children to read. The LeVar Burton Reads podcast has over 150 episodes in its catalogue, and in 2023, Burton premiered his first documentary, The Right to Read.

(Photo credit: Sarah Coulter for Paramount+)

Special guest

Oprah Winfrey

Over the course of her esteemed career, Oprah Winfrey has created an unparalleled connection with people around the world. As host of the top-rated, award-winning The Oprah Winfrey Show, she entertained, enlightened, and uplifted millions of viewers for twenty-five years. Winfrey’s accomplishments as a global media leader and philanthropist have established her as one of the most influential and admired public figures in the world today.

(Photo credit: Oprah Daily / Ruven Afanador)

lifetime achievement

2023 Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters (DCAL) honoree, Rita Dove. (Photo credit: Fred Viebahn)

Rita Dove

Rita Dove received the 1987 Pulitzer Prize for her third collection of poetry, Thomas and Beulah. From 1993­–1995 she served as U.S. Poet Laureate at the Library of Congress. Her most recent poetry books are Sonata Mulattica, Collected Poems 1974-2004, and Playlist for the Apocalypse. She has also published short stories, essays, and the novel Through the Ivory Gate. Her play The Darker Face of the Earth had its world premiere at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in 1996 and its European premiere at the Royal National Theatre in London in 1999. Her song cycle Seven for Luck, with music by John Williams, was first presented at Tanglewood in 1998, and her song cycle A Standing Witness, with music by Richard Danielpour, at the Kennedy Center in 2021.

Dove’s most recent literary honors include the 2019 Wallace Stevens Award; the American Academy of Arts and Letters’ 2021 Gold Medal for Poetry (as the third woman and first Black poet to receive the Academy’s highest honor in its 110-year history); a 2022 Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize from the Poetry Foundation; and a 2022 Bobbitt Prize from the Library of Congress. President Bill Clinton presented Ms. Dove the 1996 National Humanities Medal / Charles Frankel Prize, and President Barack Obama presented her with the 2011 National Medal of Arts, making her the only poet who has received both national medals. To date, she has received 29 honorary doctorates. She teaches at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, where she is the Henry Hoyns Professor of Creative Writing.

(Photo credit: Fred Viebahn)

Paul Yamazaki

Paul Yamazaki has been a bookseller at City Lights Booksellers & Publishers since 1970. He has been the principal buyer at City Lights Booksellers for more than 50 years. Yamazaki has served on the board of directors of several literary and community arts organizations, among them are the Community of Literary Magazines & Presses (CLMP), Small Press Distribution (SPD), and the Kearney Street Workshop (KSW).

(Photo credit: Marissa Leshnov for The Los Angeles Times)


Winners & Finalists

Winners & Finalists


Blackouts Justin Torres Farrar, Straus and Giroux / Macmillan Publishers
Chain-Gang All-Stars Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah Pantheon Books / Penguin Random House
Temple Folk Aaliyah Bilal Simon & Schuster
This Other Eden Paul Harding W. W. Norton & Company
The End of Drum-Time Hanna Pylväinen Henry Holt and Company / Macmillan Publishers
  • Ponyboy Eliot Duncan W. W. Norton & Company
  • Loot Tania James Knopf / Penguin Random House
  • Night Watch Jayne Anne Phillips Knopf / Penguin Random House
  • A Council of Dolls Mona Susan Power Mariner Books / HarperCollins Publishers
  • Holler, Child LaToya Watkins Tiny Reparations Books / Penguin Random House
Judges for Fiction
  • Steph Cha is the author of Your House Will Pay, winner of the Los Angeles Times Book Prize and a California Book Award, and the Juniper Song crime trilogy. She is a critic whose work has appeared in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, USA Today, and the Los Angeles Review of Books, where she served as noir editor, and is the current series editor of the Best American Mystery & Suspense anthology.

  • Calvin Crosby is a lifelong reader and co-owner of The King’s English Bookshop, the safe space that inspired his bookselling career. Crosby spent decades as a leader in the Northern California Independent Bookselling community, serving as Executive Director of their trade organization for six years. He also runs Brain Food Books, a nonprofit that puts new books into the hands of those without regular access.

  • Silas House is the New York Times bestselling author of seven novels including Lark Ascending, recipient of the 2023 Southern Book Prize for Fiction. In 2022, House was a recipient of the Duggins Prize. House’s work has been published in TIME Magazine, The AtlanticThe Washington Post, and others. House serves as the National Endowment for the Humanities Chair at Berea College and on the fiction faculty at the Naslund-Mann Graduate School of Writing.

  • Mat Johnson</strong (Chair) is a Philip H. Knight Chair of Humanities at the University of Oregon. His publications included the novels Invisible Things and Pym, the nonfiction novella The Great Negro Plot, and the graphic novel Incognegro. Johnson is the recipient of the 2007 United States Artists James Baldwin Fellowship, the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award, the John Dos Passos Prize for Literature, and the American Book Award.

  • Helena María Viramontes is the author of The Moths and Other Stories, and novels Under the Feet of Jesus and Their Dogs Came with Them. She is currently working on a novel in triptych form entitled The Cemetery Boys. Viramontes is Distinguished Professor of Arts & Sciences in English at Cornell University and former director of Cornell’s Creative Writing Program.


The Rediscovery of America: Native Peoples and the Unmaking of U.S. History Ned Blackhawk Yale University Press
Liliana’s Invincible Summer: A Sister’s Search for Justice Cristina Rivera Garza Hogarth / Penguin Random House
Ordinary Notes Christina Sharpe Farrar, Straus and Giroux / Macmillan Publishers
We Could Have Been Friends, My Father and I: A Palestinian Memoir Raja Shehadeh Other Press
Fire Weather: A True Story from a Hotter World John Vaillant Knopf / Penguin Random House
Judges for Nonfiction
  • Hanif Abdurraqib is a poet, essayist, and cultural critic from the east side of Columbus, Ohio. A New York Times bestseller, Go Ahead in the Rain: Notes to A Tribe Called Quest was Longlisted for the National Book Award and a finalist for the Kirkus Prize. His second poetry collection, A Fortune For Your Disaster, won the 2020 Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize, and his most recent work, A Little Devil In America, was a 2021 National Book Award Finalist and winner of the Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Nonfiction.

  • Ada Ferrer (Chair) is the author most recently of Cuba: An American History, which won the 2022 Pulitzer Prize in History and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize in History. She has held fellowships from the Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers at the New York Public Library, the Guggenheim Foundation, the American Council of Learned Societies, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, among others. Ferrer is Julius Silver Professor of History and Latin American and Caribbean Studies at New York University.

  • James Fugate is a retired book seller of nearly 42 years. Born and raised in Detroit, Fugate started at a small general bookstore, later moving into managing college bookstores. He helped start EsoWon Books, a well-known African American bookstore in Los Angeles. EsoWon was known for its great service, great selection, and great book events, having hosted Walter Mosley, Terry McMillan, President Bill Clinton, future President Barack Obama, Nikki Giovanni, and many others.

  • Sarah Schulman is a novelist, playwright, screenwriter, nonfiction writer, and AIDS historian. Her 20 books include the novel The Cosmopolitans and Let the Record Show: A Political History of ACT UP New York 1987-1993, a finalist for the PEN/John Kenneth Galbraith Award for Nonfiction and winner of the 2022 Lambda Literary LGBTQ Nonfiction Award, the Publishing Triangle Special Award for Nonfiction, and the 2022 NLGJA Excellence in Book Writing Award. Schulman is the Endowed Chair in Nonfiction at Northwestern University and serves on the advisory board of Jewish Voice for Peace.

  • Sonia Shah is a journalist and author of five books, including The Next Great Migration: The Beauty and Terror of Life on the Move, a finalist for the PEN/E.O. Wilson Literary Science Writing Award, and Pandemic: Tracking Contagions from Cholera to Coronaviruses and Beyond, a finalist for the New York Public Library’s Helen Bernstein Book Award for Excellence in Journalism. Her writing has appeared in The New Yorker, the New York Times Magazine, The Nation, and elsewhere.


from unincorporated territory [åmot] Craig Santos Perez Omnidawn Publishing
How to Communicate John Lee Clark W. W. Norton & Company
suddenly we Evie Shockley Wesleyan University Press
Tripas Brandon Som Georgia Review Books / University of Georgia Press
From From Monica Youn Graywolf Press
Judges for Poetry
  • Rick Barot was born in the Philippines and grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area. Barot’s fourth book of poems, The Galleons, was Longlisted for the National Book Award, his collection Chord received the PEN Open Book Award, and his 2008 work Want was a finalist for the Lambda Literary Award for Gay Poetry. A former Guggenheim and Stegner Fellow, Barot currently lives in Tacoma, WA where he directs The Rainier Writing Workshop at Pacific Lutheran University.

  • Heid E. Erdrich (Chair) is the author of seven poetry collections, including Little Big Bully, a National Poetry Series winner. Erdrich edited the anthology New Poets of Native Nations and has received many honors, including the Rebekah Johnson Bobbitt National Prize for Poetry from the Library of Congress, the Balcones Poetry Prize, and a National Artists Fellowship from the Native Arts and Cultures Foundation. Erdrich is a 2020-2024 guest curator for the Mead Art Museum of Amherst College. She lives in Minnesota and is Ojibwe enrolled at Turtle Mountain.

  • Jonathan Farmer is the author of That Peculiar Affirmative: On the Social Life of Poems and the founder of At Length. He teaches middle and high school English, and he lives in Durham, NC.

  • Raina J. León, PhD is Black, Afro-Boricua, and from Philadelphia (Lenni Lenape ancestral lands). She is a mother, daughter, sister, madrina, comadre, partner, poet, writer, artist, digital archivist, podcaster, and teacher educator. She is the author of black god mother this body, Canticle of Idols, Boogeyman Dawn, sombra : (dis)locate, and the chapbooks, profeta without refuge and Areyto to Atabey: Essays on the Mother(ing) Self. She is a founding editor of The Acentos Review, an online international journal devoted to the promotion of Latinx arts, which has published nearly 1,000 Latinx/Latine voices. She teaches at the University of Southern Maine and co-hosts the podcast, Generational Archives.

  • Solmaz Sharif is the author of Customs and Look, a Finalist for the National Book Award. Her work has appeared in Harper’s Magazine, The Paris Review, Poetry, The Kenyon Review, the New York Times, and others. She has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, Lannan Foundation, and Stanford University. She is currently the Shirley Shenker Assistant Professor of English at University of California, Berkeley.

Translated Literature

The Words That Remain Stênio Gardel, Translated from the Portuguese by Bruna Dantas Lobato New Vessel Press
Cursed Bunny Bora Chung, Translated from the Korean by Anton Hur Algonquin Books / Hachette Book Group
Beyond the Door of No Return David Diop, Translated from the French by Sam Taylor Farrar, Straus and Giroux / Macmillan Publishers
Abyss Pilar Quintana, Translated from the Spanish by Lisa Dillman World Editions
On a Woman’s Madness Astrid Roemer, Translated from the Dutch by Lucy Scott Two Lines Press
  • The Devil of the Provinces Juan Cárdenas, Translated from the Spanish by Lizzie Davis Coffee House Press
  • Kairos Jenny Erpenbeck, Translated from the German by Michael Hofmann New Directions Publishing
  • No One Prayed Over Their Graves Khaled Khalifa, Translated from the Arabic by Leri Price Farrar, Straus and Giroux / Macmillan Publishers
  • This Is Not Miami Fernanda Melchor, Translated from the Spanish by Sophie Hughes New Directions Publishing
  • The Most Secret Memory of Men Mohamed Mbougar Sarr, Translated from the French by Lara Vergnaud Other Press
Judges for Translated Literature
  • Geoffrey Brock is author of three collections of poetry, editor of The FSG Book of Twentieth-Century Italian Poetry, and translator of numerous books of poetry, prose, and comics, most recently Giuseppe Ungaretti’s Allegria, which received the National Translation Award in Poetry. His awards include fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Guggenheim Foundation, and the Cullman Center. He teaches at the University of Arkansas, where he is the founding editor of The Arkansas International.

  • Arthur Malcolm Dixon is co-founder, Lead Translator, and Managing Editor of Latin American Literature Today. His translation practice focuses on poetry, nonfiction, and texts written in Indigenous languages. His work has been featured or is forthcoming in AsymptoteBoston ReviewInternational Poetry ReviewKenyon ReviewLiterary HubPilgrimage MagazinePoesíaTrafika EuropeWords Without Borders, and World Literature Today. He also works as a community interpreter in Tulsa, OK and is a Tulsa Artist Fellow.

  • Cristina Rodriguez is a former bookseller, a Publishers Weekly Star Watch 2020 Honoree, and a Books Across Borders Fellow. She has been a judge for the Community of Literary Magazines and Presses Firecracker Award and serves on the board for the Mountains & Plains Independent Bookseller Association. Rodriguez currently works at Ingram Publisher Services as a Field Sales Representative.

  • T. Denean Sharpley-Whiting  is the Gertrude Conaway Vanderbilt Distinguished Chair in the Humanities at Vanderbilt University where she is also Vice Provost for Arts and Libraries. A comparative Europeanist and scholar of women, gender, and African Diaspora Studies, she is author and editor of 15 books and three novels, the latest of which includes La Vénus hottentote: écrits, 1810 à 1814, suivi des textes inédits and Bricktop’s Paris: African American Women in Paris Between the Two World Wars.

  • Jeremy Tiang (Chair) is the translator of over 20 books from Chinese, including novels by Zhang Yueran, Shuang Xuetao, Yan Ge, Yeng Pway Ngon, Lo Yi-Chin, and Chan Ho-Kei. He is the author of a short story collection, It Never Rains on National Day, and a novel, State of Emergency, which won the Singapore Literature Prize in 2018. He also writes and translates plays. Originally from Singapore, he now lives in New York City.

Young People's Literature

A First Time for Everything Dan Santat First Second / Macmillan Publishers
Gather Kenneth M. Cadow Candlewick Press
Huda F Cares? Huda Fahmy Dial Books for Young Readers / Penguin Random House
Big Vashti Harrison Little, Brown Books for Young Readers / Hachette Book Group
The Lost Year: A Survival Story of the Ukrainian Famine Katherine Marsh Roaring Brook Press / Macmillan Publishers
Judges for Young People's Literature
  • Sarah Park Dahlen is an Associate Professor at the School of Information Sciences at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. She researches Asian American youth literature and transracial Korean adoption. Dahlen co-edits Research on Diversity in Youth Literature; co-edited Harry Potter and the Other: Race, Justice, and Difference in the Wizarding World; co-created the Diversity in Children’s Books infographics; and co-wrote the APALA Rubric to Evaluate Asian American and Pacific Islander Youth Literature.

  • Kyle Lukoff is a former school librarian and the author of many books for young readers. His novel Too Bright to See received a Newbery honor, a Stonewall Book Award, and was a National Book Award Finalist. His picture book When Aidan Became a Brother also won a Stonewall, and his book Call Me Max has been banned in schools across the country.

  • Claudette S. McLinn (Chair) is the executive director of the Center for the Study of Multicultural Children’s Literature. Dr. McLinn has served on numerous book award committees and juries, and chaired the American Library Association’s 2022 Randolph Caldecott Award Committee and 2009 Pura Belpré Award Committee. She is the recipient of the 2023 Coretta Scott King-Virginia Hamilton Award for Lifetime Achievement and the 2020 Association of Library Services to Children (ALSC) Distinguished Service Award.

  • justin a. reynolds has always wanted to be a writer. Opposite of Always, his debut YA novel, was an Indies Introduce Top Ten Debut, a School Library Journal Best Book, translated in 19 languages, and is being developed for film by Paramount Players. His Marvel graphic novel debut featuring Brooklyn’s Spider-Man, Miles Morales: Shock Waves, was an ABA Indie Bestseller. justin is also the co-founder of the CLE Reads Book Festival, a Cleveland Book Festival for middle-grade and young adult readers and writers.

  • Sabaa Tahir is a former newspaper editor who grew up in California’s Mojave Desert at her family’s 18-room motel. Her #1 New York Times bestselling An Ember in the Ashes series has been translated into more than 35 languages, and the first book in the series was named one of TIME Magazine’s 100 Best Young Adult Books of All Time. Tahir’s most recent novel, All My Rage, won the National Book Award for Young People’s Literature, the Printz Medal, the Boston Globe-Horn Book Award for Fiction and Poetry, and received eight starred reviews. Her nonfiction work has appeared in The Washington Post, the New York Times, and Vox.

Additional Events

Additional Events

Tuesday, November 14, 2023, 10AM EST

National Book Awards Teen Press Conference   In person & livestreamed

Tuesday, November 14, 2023, 7PM EST

National Book Awards Finalist Reading    In person & livestreamed
Watch the livestream

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