The National Book Awards are administered every year the week before Thanksgiving.  This literary prize, which began in 1950, is awarded by the nonprofit organization National Book Foundation.  This week-long event focuses on up-and-coming authors, forums, festivities, and literature in America.  This year, the celebration began on November 7th and continues until November 13th.  The actual award will be streamed live at, Facebook, and YouTube on November 15, 2023, hosted by LeVar Burton.  A special guest during the 74th year of this award is Oprah Winfrey and the Lifetime Achievement awards will be presented to Rita Dove and Paul Yamazaki.  Rita Dove received a Pulitizer Prize in 1987 for her collection of poetry and is a past U.S. Poet Laureate at the Library of Congress during 1993-1995.  Paul Yamazaki has been a bookseller since 1970 and has served on several organizational boards.

Over the years, nearly 2,600 titles have been honored.  Honorees include authors William Faulkner, Philip Roth, Toni Morrison, Alice Walker, and Normal Mailer.  To be eligible, books must be published by US publishers located in the United States, books by authors who are alive during the eligibility year (December 1 – November 30 of each year), and books or collections are by a single author.  All books whether winners, finalists, or those that were considered, are recognizable to readers by the sticker medallions on the book jackets or covers.

Finalists for this year’s “Fiction” category are:

  • Chain-Gang All-Stars, by Nana Kwame Adejei-Brenyah
  • Temple Folk, by Aaliyah Bilal
  • This Other Eden, by Paul Harding
  • The End of Drum-Time, by Hanna Pylväinen
  • Blackouts, by Justin Torres

Finalists for this year’s “Non-Fiction” category are:

  • The Rediscovery of America: Native Peoples and the Unmaking of U.S. History, by Ned Blackhawk
  • Liliana’s Invincible Summer:  A Sister’s Search for Justice, by Cristina Rivera Garza
  • Ordinary Notes, by Christina Sharpe
  • We Could Have Been Friends, My Father and I:  A Palestinian Memoir, by Raja Shehadeh
  • Fire Weather:  A True Story From a Hotter World, by John Vaillant

Finalists for this year’s “Poetry” category are:

  • How To Communicate, by John Lee Clark
  • From Unincorporated Territory [Åmot], by Craig Santos Perez
  • Suddenly, We, by Evie Shockley
  • Tripas, by Brandon Som
  • From From, by Monica Youn

Finalists from this year’s “Translated Literature” category are:

  • Cursed Bunny, by Bora Chung (translated from the Korean by Anton Hur)
  • Beyond the Door of No Return, by David Diop(translated from the French by Sam Taylor)
  • The Words That Remain, by Stênio Gardel (translated from the Portuguese by Bruna Dantas Lobato)
  • Abyss, by Pilar Qunitana (translated from the Spanish by Lisa Dillman)
  • On a Woman’s Madness, by Astrid Roemer (translated from the Dutch by Lucy Scott)

Check out these resources, discover a new author, explore past winners, and Read!

74th National Book Awards

National Book Foundation

National Book Foundation Facebook Page

National Book Awards Facebook Page

National Book Awards Pinterest Page

*Photo attributed to Mark Morgan

Image Description: Gold coin with a book on it and the words: National Book Award Winner

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