National Book Awards to add more nominees, maybe go 'a little more mainstream'

In order to infuse some excitement into the proceedings, the National Book Awards are going the way of the Oscars and Britain’s splashier Man Booker Prize by announcing a “long list” of ten nominees in the four competitive categories before whittling them down to the usual five finalists in each, according to the AP. More nominees will mean more books getting a boost from the attention, lesser potential for snubs, and perhaps more genre nominees in the fiction category. Another change: The judging panel will include critics, booksellers, and librarians in addition to writers.

National Book Foundation vice president and Grove/Atlantic CEO Morgan Entrekin told the AP that expanding the judging pool beyond writers will perhaps make the picks “a little more mainstream” and less likely to include “a collection of stories by a university press.”

Do you think “more mainstream” finalists make book awards more exciting, or will that defeat the purpose? A similar debate swirled around the Man Booker Prize when Julian Barnes won for A Sense of An Ending in 2011.

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