Awards, Awards, Everywhere There are Awards

Award season has begun in the literary world. Last week, the Nobel Prize for Literature was announced: Jean-Marie Gustave Le Clezio. Right. Most Americans immediately hit google when they found out.

Then we had the Man Booker Prize on Tuesday: Aravind Ariga for The White Tiger. I was rooting for Amitav Ghosh’s amazing The Sea of Poppies (can’t wait for the second in the trilogy), but am okay with Ariga nabbing the win.

Yesterday the National Book Award Finalists were announced in Chicago:


Aleksandar Hemon, The Lazarus Project (Riverhead)
Rachel Kushner, Telex from Cuba (Scribner)
Peter Matthiessen, Shadow Country (Modern Library)
Marilynne Robinson, Home (Farrar, Straus & Giroux)
Salvatore Scibona, The End (Graywolf Press)


Drew Gilpin Faust, This Republic of Suffering: Death and the American Civil War (Alfred A. Knopf)
Annette Gordon-Reed, The Hemingses of Monticello: An American Family
(W.W. Norton & Company)
Jane Mayer, The Dark Side: The Inside Story of How the War on Terror Turned into a War on American Ideals (Doubleday)
Jim Sheeler, Final Salute: A Story of Unfinished Lives (Penguin)
Joan Wickersham, The Suicide Index: Putting My Father’s Death in Order (Harcourt)


Frank Bidart, Watching the Spring Festival (Farrar, Straus & Giroux)
Mark Doty, Fire to Fire: New and Collected Poems (HarperCollins)
Reginald Gibbons, Creatures of a Day (Louisiana State University Press)
Richard Howard, Without Saying (Turtle Point Press)
Patricia Smith, Blood Dazzler (Coffee House Press)

Young People’s Literature

Laurie Halse Anderson, Chains (Simon & Schuster)
Kathi Appelt, The Underneath (Atheneum)
Judy Blundell, What I Saw and How I Lied (Scholastic)
E. Lockhart, The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks (Hyperion)
Tim Tharp, The Spectacular Now (Alfred A. Knopf)

I find the nonfiction a good, steady list. The fiction however is quite interesting. You’ve got two older, seasoned writers, one who is in the middle of a burgeoning career, and two debut novelists. Incidentally, they’re the only two books on the list that I’ve read. I liked The End and Telex from Cuba and see good careers ahead. Also, here’s a great interview with Salvatore Scibona. I believe I got to be the first person to ask him to sign his book ever. That’s pretty cool.We’ll see what happens on November 19th, when they announce the winners.

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