National Book Award finalists announced: Where's Franzen?

The day after the Man Booker Prize was handed out, the nominations for the National Book Award have been announced. The fiction shortlist comprises Peter Carey’s Parrot and Olivier in America, Nicole Krauss’ Great House, Lionel Shriver’s So Much for That, Jaimy Gordon’s Lord of Misrule, and Karen Tei Yamashita’s I Hotel. The Australian-born Carey has previously won the Man Booker and his latest novel was also a finalist for that prize, but it also qualifies for the National Book Award because the author also has U.S. citizenship. However, the most notable aspect of this list is an absence: Jonathan Franzen’s best-selling, critically acclaimed Freedom is nowhere to be seen. This is especially notable since his previous novel, The Corrections, won the award nine years ago.

Patti Smith’s searing memoir Just Kids made it among the finalists for nonfiction, keeping company with previous National Book Award winner John W. Dower’s Cultures of War, among others. Here is the full list of finalists:

Peter Carey, Parrot and Olivier in America
Nicole Krauss, Great House
Lionel Shriver, So Much for That
Jaimy Gordon, Lord of Misrule
Karen Tei Yamashita, I Hotel

Barbara Demick, Nothing to Envy
Megan K. Stack, Every Man in This Village Is a Liar
Patti Smith, Just Kids
John W. Dower, Culures of War
Justin Spring, Secret Historian

Kathleen Graber, The Eternal City
Terrance Hayes, Lighthead
James Richardson, By the Numbers
C.D. Wright, One with Others
Monica Youn, Ignatz

Young People’s Literature
Paolo Bacigalupi, Ship Breaker
Kathryn Erskine, Mockingbird
Laura McNeal, Dark Water
Walter Dean Myers, Lockdown
Rita Williams-Garcia, One Crazy Summer

Comments (12 total) Add your comment
  • Kaelyn

    notice how many female authors got nominated. I wonder if they were affected by the backlash to the overwhelming praise Franzen received and the claims of sexism in the literary world.

  • TorontoTom

    I’m sure he’ll blame it on Oprah…

    • Jon

      Actually Oprah was the sensitive one in that whole debacle.

  • joan

    I did find myself cheering slightly by the snub of Freedom. It was *wildly, wildly* overpraised. I read when it first came out. My response: “Meh.”

    • meme

      Same here. If I’d know Oprah was going to choose it, I wouldn’t have bothered at all.

      • Ikawati

        Hi !Beautiful color work as usual, and I’m really sdeecud by all you show in Hildafolk world, this simply/beautiful/magical/where-everything-seems-logical nature, just great !

  • G

    Karl Marlantes’ “Matterhorn,” should have been on the list.

  • martinrwj2

    There is always a possibility he well win The Pulitzer for, “Freedom,” not winning The National Book Award isn’t the end of The World, lol.

    • meme

      That’s a joke right?

  • spe

    The National Book Award Nominees and winners for fiction are generally pretty precious and politically neutered.

    I’m rooting for Lionel!!

  • spe

    also, SO GLAD that the Invisible Bridge didn’t get nominated. The most bewilderingly overpraised novel of the year and it seems like it was right up NBA’s alley (acclaimed short story writer pens drippy historical melodrama).

    • Dewie

      are they going to do the car show in gerald this year,that they did in ausgut last year?i think it was called classics at the depot ? will you be judging it? thanks for your time.

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