The finalists for the 58th annual National Book Awards were announced today by Camile Paglia at the Library Company in Philadelphia, the oldest circulating public library in the United States.The winners in each category—poetry, fiction, nonfiction, and young people’s literature—will each receive $10,000. Each finalist will receive $1,000. Fran Lebowitz will host the awards ceremony in New York City on November 14.
The finalists in poetry are Linda Gregerson, for Magnetic North (Houghton Mifflin), Robert Hass for Time and Materials (Ecco), David Kirby for The House on Boulevard St. (Louisiana State University Press), Stanley Plumly for Old Heart (Norton), and Ellen Bryant Voigt for Messenger: New and Selected Poems 1976-2006 (Norton). The judges are Linda Bierds, David St. John, Vijay Seshadri, Charles Simic, and Natasha Trethewey.
The finalists in fiction are Mischa Berlinski for Fieldwork (Farrar, Straus and Giroux), Lydia Davis for Varieties of Disturbance (Farrar, Straus and Giroux), Joshua Ferris for Then We Came to the End (Little, Brown), Denis Johnson for Tree of Smoke (Farrar, Straus and Giroux), and Jim Shepard for Like You'd Understand, Anyway ( Knopf). The judges are Andrew Sean Greer, Walter Kirn, David Means, Francine Prose, and Joy Williams.
The finalists in nonfiction are Edwidge Danticat for Brother, I'm Dying (Knopf), Christopher Hitchens for God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything (Twelve), Woody Holton for Unruly Americans and the Origins of the Constitution (Hill and Wang), Arnold Rampersad for Ralph Ellison: A Biography (Knopf), and Tim Weiner for Legacy of Ashes: The History of the CIA (Doubleday). The judges are Deborah Blum, Caroline Elkins, Annette Gordon-Reed, James Shapiro, and David Shields.