2010 National Book Award Finalists Announced

Indie Publishers Make Strong Showing
The National Book Award finalists for 2010 have been announced, with a surprisingly high number of independently published titles among them. Three of the five fiction finalists are from indie houses as are four of the five poetry finalists. Not so surprisingly, four of the five National Book Foundation's “5 Under 35” selections, recognizing five young fiction writers chosen by National Book Award Winners and Finalists, are also indies – and one is a 2010 Independent Publisher Book Award winner (see list below).

Pat Conroy announced all twenty finalists for the 2010 National Book Awards at the Flannery O'Connor Childhood Home in Savannah, Georgia. The Fiction list of authors includes Australian-born Peter Carey (now a U.S. citizen living in New York City); Brooklynite Nicole Krauss; North Carolina native Lionel Shriver, who now divides her time between Brooklyn and London; Michigan-based Baltimore native Jaimy Gordon; and Californian Karen Tei Yamashita.

Young People's Literature Finalists Walter Dean Myers and Rita Williams-Garcia have both been Finalists in the category in previous years. The other three Finalists are Paolo Bacigalupi, a Nebula and Hugo Award nominee for his adult science-fiction writing; former attorney Kathryn Erskine, nominated for her second book for young adults; and Laura McNeal, a former teacher who co-authored her three previous books with her husband.

The nonfiction list includes a memoir, a biography, and three accounts of war. Patti Smith's Just Kids chronicles both her relationship with photographer Robert Mapplethorpe and the artistic and political scenes of 1970s New York City, and Justin Spring's biography of Samuel Steward archives the social history of gay life before Stonewall. Barbara Demick's Nothing to Envy and Megan K. Stack's Every Man in This Village Is a Liar tell of the ongoing turmoil in North Korea and the Middle East, respectively, while 1999 NBA Winner John W. Dower's Cultures of War examines Pearl Harbor, Hiroshima, 9-11, and the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

All of this year's Poetry Finalists are first-time nominees for the Award, though C.D. Wright was an NBA Judge in 2006. By the Numbers is James Richardson's seventh book of poetry, in addition to his two critical works. The Eternal City by Kathleen Graber and Ignatz by attorney Monica Youn are second collections, while Lighthead is Terrance Hayes' fourth.

National Book Award winners will be announced during an awards ceremony and dinner on November 17th.

To get more information about the Finalists, their books, and the upcoming National Book Awards Ceremony, visit www.nationalbook.org/nba2010.html.

2010 marks the fifth year of the National Book Foundation's 5 Under 35 selections, recognizing five young fiction writers chosen by National Book Award Winners and Finalists. Last year's reading and party at powerHouse Arena in DUMBO, Brooklyn prompted The Huffington Post to publish a piece called "How to Throw a Party for Books: The NBA's 5 Under 35 Event." This year's celebration will again be held at powerHouse Arena at the start of National Book Awards Week on Monday, November 15, and will be hosted by musician and author Rosanne Cash, with music journalist Rob Sheffield as DJ.

The 2010 5 Under 35 honorees are:

  • Sarah Braunstein, The Sweet Relief of Missing Children
    (W.W. Norton & Co., 2011)

  • Grace Krilanovich, The Orange Eats Creeps (Two Dollar Radio, 2010)

  • Téa Obreht, The Tiger's Wife (Random House, 2011)

  • Tiphanie Yanique, How to Escape from a Leper Colony (Graywolf, 2010)

  • Paul Yoon, Once the Shore (Sarabande, 2009)


  • For more information on this year's honorees and past 5 Under 35 celebrations, visit www.nationalbook.org/5under35.html.


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