Tonight, at 8:00 p.m. ET, the winners of the 2011 National Book Award will be announced. For the first time ever it will be webcast live from New York City.
The awards began in 1950 when a consortium of book publishing groups sponsored the first ceremony and dinner at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York City. The founding mission was to enhance the public's awareness of exceptional books written by fellow Americans and to increase the popularity of reading in general. The Awards are given to recognize achievements in four genres: fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and young people's literature. The winners which are selected by five-member, independent judging panels for each genre, receive a $10,000 cash award and a crystal sculpture.
On the evening before the Awards Ceremony, the finalists are celebrated in an evening of readings from all the nominated books. You can hear the fiction finalists read from their works on NPR.
This year there were 1,223 books submitted for the National Book Awards. There were 315 in fiction, 441 in nonfiction, 189 in poetry, and 278 in young people's literature. The 2011 finalists are:
The Sojourn by Andrew Krivak
The Tiger's Wife by Tea Obreht
The Buddha in the Attic by Julie Otsuka
Binocular Vision by Edith Pearlman
Salvage the Bones by Jesmyn Ward
The Convert: a tale of exile and extremism by Deborah Baker
Love and Capital: Karl and Jenny Marx and the birth of a revolution by Mary Gabriel
The Swerve: how the world became modern by Stephen Greenblatt
Malcolm X: a life of reinvention by Manning Marable
Radioactive: Marie & Pierre Curie, a tale of love and fallout by Lauren Redniss
Head Off & Split by Nikky Finney
The Chameleon Couch by Yusef Komunyadaa
Double Shadow by Carl Phillips
Tonight No Poetry Will Serve: poems 2007-2010 by Adrienne Rich
Devotions by Bruce Smith
YOUNG PEOPLE'S LITERATURE
Chime by Franny Billingsley
My Name is Not Easy by Debby Dahl Edwardson
Inside Out & Back Again by Thanhha Lai
Flesh & Blood So Cheap: the triangle fire and its legacy by Albert Marrin
Okay for Now by Gary D. Schmidt
Congratulations to all of the finalists!