Back to Blog

National Book Award Finalists Announced

The Finalists for the 2013 National Book Awards have been announced. Established in 1950, the National Book Award is an American literary prize administered by the National Book Foundation, a nonprofit organization.

Louise Erdrich (right) won the 2012 NBA for her novel The Round House. Other 2013 winners included Katherine Boo for Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity (Nonfiction); David Ferry for Bewilderment: New Poems and Translations (Poetry); and William Alexander for Goblin Secrets (Young People’s Literature).

In order to be eligible for the Award, a book must be written by an American citizen and published by an American publisher between December 1 of the previous year and November 30 of the current year. Self-published books are only eligible if the author/publisher publishes the work of other authors in addition to his or her own.

The 2013 Finalists are:

• Rachel Kushner, The Flamethrowers, Scribner/Simon & Schuster
• Jhumpa Lahiri, The Lowland, Alfred A. Knopf/Random House
• James McBride, The Good Lord Bird, Riverhead Books/Penguin Group (USA)
• Thomas Pynchon, Bleeding Edge, The Penguin Press/Penguin Group (USA)
• George Saunders, Tenth of December, Random House

• Jill Lepore, The Book of Ages: The Life and Opinions of Jane Franklin, Alfred A. Knopf/Random House
• Wendy Lower, Hitler’s Furies: German Women in the Nazi Killing Fields, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
• George Packer, The Unwinding: An Inner History of the New America, Farrar, Straus and Giroux
• Alan Taylor, The Internal Enemy: Slavery and War in Virginia, 1772-1832, W.W. Norton & Company
• Lawrence Wright, Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, & the Prison of Belief, Alfred A. Knopf/Random House

• Frank Bidart, Metaphysical Dog, Farrar, Straus and Giroux
• Lucie Brock-Broido, Stay, Illusion, Alfred A. Knopf
• Adrian Matejka, The Big Smoke, Penguin Poets/Penguin Group USA
• Matt Rasmussen, Black Aperture, Louisiana State University Press
• Mary Szybist, Incarnadine: Poems, Graywolf Press

Young People’s Literature
• Kathi Appelt, The True Blue Scouts of Sugar Man Swamp, Atheneum Books for Young Readers/Simon & Schuster
• Cynthia Kadohata, The Thing About Luck, Atheneum Books for Young Readers/ Simon & Schuster
• Tom McNeal, Far Far Away, Alfred A. Knopf/Random House
• Meg Rosoff, Picture Me Gone, G.P. Putnam’s Sons/Penguin Group (USA)
• Gene Luen Yang, Boxers & Saints, First Second/Macmillan

No one, not even the Foundation staff, learns who the Winners are until the day of the National Book Awards Ceremony and Benefit Dinner, which takes place in mid-November in New York City.

In Fiction, Jhumpa Lahiri was many prognosticators’ favorite to win the 2013 Man Booker Prize, but that was honor was bestowed this week upon twenty-eight-year-old Eleanor Catton and her novel The Luminaries. Catton is the youngest author to ever win the award.

The night before the Awards, each Finalist receives a prize of $1,000, a medal, and a citation from the panel at a private Medal Ceremony. Immediately following the Medal Ceremony, all twenty Finalists read from their nominated books at the Finalists Reading. The four Winners in Fiction, Nonfiction, Poetry, and Young People’s Literature are announced the following evening at the National Book Awards Ceremony and Benefit Dinner, where each Winner receives $10,000 and a bronze sculpture.