National Book Awards finalists announced -- Tea Obreht reacts to her nomination

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Image Credit: Sang Tan/AP Images

The finalists for the National Book Awards were named today in Portland, Oregon. The list includes 20 authors in four categories: fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and young people’s literature. In the fiction category, books about war and ones with an international bent reigned supreme. Not surprisingly, 26-year-old wunderkind Téa Obreht received a nod for her highly praised debut The Tiger’s Wife. EW was the first to reach her for comment soon after the announcement: “I am so thrilled and thankful for this honor. I was driving when I heard the news, and it was very difficult to stay in a straight line. I can’t wait for November and the chance to meet the other finalists.”

A bit more surprisingly, the most hyped literary novel of the year, Chad Harbach’s The Art of Fielding, was not listed, and neither was Pulitzer winner Jeffrey Eugenides’ first novel in nearly a decade, The Marriage Plot. Instead, rounding out the fiction category are great but somewhat lesser known books by Andrew Krivak, Julie Otsuka, Edith Pearlman, and Jesmyn Ward.

Unlike fiction, the poetry category is populated mostly by established names like Adrienne Rich. Manning Marable, who died just before the release of Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention, received a nonfiction nomination. For young adult titles, Lauren Myracle was recognized for the rather controversial Shine.

The winners of the National Book Awards will be announced in Manhattan on Nov. 16 in a ceremony hosted by actor John Lithgow, who is also an author.

See the full list of the nominated authors and their works below:Fiction
++ Andrew Krivak, The Sojourn
++ Téa Obreht, The Tiger’s Wife
++ Julie Otsuka, The Buddha in the Attic
++ Edith Pearlman, Binocular Vision
++ Jesmyn Ward, Salvage the Bones

Nonfiction
++ Deborah Baker, The Convert: A Tale of Exile and Extremism
++ Mary Gabriel, Love and Capital: Karl and Jenny Marx and the Birth of a Revolution
++ Stephen Greenblatt, The Swerve: How the World Became Modern
++ Manning Marable, Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention
++ Lauren Redniss, Radioactive: Marie & Pierre Curie, A Tale of Love and Fallout

Young People’s Literature
++ Debby Dahl Edwardson, My Name Is Not Easy
++ Thanhha Lai, Inside Out and Back Again
++ Albert Marrin, Flesh and Blood So Cheap: The Triangle Fire and Its Legacy
++ Lauren Myracle, Shine
++ Gary D. Schmidt, Okay for Now

Poetry
++ Nikky Finney, Head Off & Split
++ Yusef Komunyakaa, The Chameleon Couch
++ Carl Phillips, Double Shadow
++ Adrienne Rich, Tonight No Poetry Will Serve: Poems 2007-2010
++ Bruce Smith, Devotions

Comments (7 total) Add your comment
  • darkprince

    I hope Manning gets it for his complex, layered, searing biography about Malcolm X. I just finished it, I appreciate how Manning constructs Malcolm as not just an icon, but a flawed human.

    • GHB

      Too bad he didn’t live long enough to experience this success

  • ks

    Yea Debby!!!!

  • Laura

    Um, you should update your list to include Chime, by Franny Billingsley. They read the wrong name at the time (Shine) so they added Chime and kept Shine. Does that make sense?

    PS: read Chime was a big ole DNF for me.

  • Dan

    No surprise at all about The Art of Fielding. It’s the most ridiculously overhyped and inept novel I’ve read in ages.

    • Mario

      It must be hard reading only one book in ages, Dan.

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