The 2011 National Book Award Finalists Announced


This year, a whopping 1,223 books were submitted for the 62nd National Book Awards. Just this morning, the twenty finalists were announced in front of a live audience on Oregon Public Broadcasting’s morning radio program, Think Out Loud . At the start of the program, when asked what separated the National Book Award from other literary prizes, National Book Foundation executive director Harold Augenbraum noted that the finalists and winners are chosen only by “practitioners in the genre,” something relatively unusual among American book awards. 2001 Young People’s Literature winner Virginia Euwer Wolff commented, “It’s comforting to know we are being judged by people who do what we do.”

Each NBA Finalist will receive a medal and a prize of $1,000. The four winners, one each in the categories of Young People’s Literature, Poetry, Nonfiction and Fiction, who will be announced next month, will receive a $10,000 prize. Click through to see the 2011 National Book Award nominations and let us know your predictions for the winners in the comments!

Young People’s Literature Finalists

My Name is Not Easy , Debby Dahl Edwardson

Inside Out and Back Again , Thanhha Lai

Flesh & Blood So Cheap , Albert Marrin

Shine , Lauren Myracle

Ok For Now , Gary D. Schmidt

Poetry Finalists

Head Off & Split , Nikky Finnery

The Chameleon Couch , Yusef Komunyakaa

Double Shadow , Carl Phillips

Tonight No Poetry Will Serve , Adrienne Rich

Devotions , Bruce Smith

Nonfiction Finalists

The Convert , Deborah Baker

Love and Capital: Karl and Jenny Marx and the Birth of a Revolution , Mary Gabriel

The Swerve: How the World Became Modern , Stephen Greenblatt

Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention , Manning Marable

Radioactive: Marie & Pierre Curie: A Tale of Love and Fallout , Lauren Redniss

Fiction Finalists

The Sojourn , Andrew Krivak

The Tiger’s Wife , Téa Obrecht

The Buddha in the Attic , Julie Otsuka

Binocular Vision: New & Selected Stories , Edith Pearlman

Salvage the Bones , Jesmyn Ward