Author Pat Conroy announced 20 finalists for the 2010 National Book Award at the Flannery O'Connor Childhood Home in Savannah, Georgia, today. The list includes a previous National Book Award Winner, two previous Finalists, thirteen women--the largest number of women Finalists in a single year in the Awards' history--and six books from small, independent presses.
The Fiction list includes Australian-born Peter Carey (now a U.S. citizen living in New York City); Brooklynite Nicole Krauss; North Carolina native Lionel Shriver, who now divides her time between Brooklyn and London; Baltimore native, now Michigan-based Jaimy Gordon (this is the second year in a row that a Kalamazoo author has been a Fiction Finalist); and Californian Karen Tei Yamashita.
Last year's winners included Colum McCann's "Let the Great World Spin" for Fiction, T. J. Stiles's "The First Tycoon: The Epic Life of Cornelius Vanderbilt" for Nonfiction, Keith Waldrop "Transcendental Studies: A Trilogy" for Poetry, and Phillip Hoose's "Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice" for Young People's Literature.
According to the website:
"On March 16, 1950, publishers, editors, writers, and critics gathered at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York City to celebrate the first annual National Book Awards, an award given to writers by writers. The American Book Publisher's Council, The Book Manufacturers' Institute, and The American Booksellers' Association jointly sponsored the Awards, bringing together the American literary community for the first time to honor the year's best work in fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. As the Boston Herald reported the following day, 'literary history was indeed in the making.'
Since then, the website explains:
"Over a half-century since its inception, the National Book Awards continues to recognize the best of American literature, raising the cultural appreciation of great writing in the country while advancing the careers of both established and emerging writers."
The Winner in each category -- Fiction, Nonfiction, Poetry, and Young People's Literature -- will be announced at the 61st National Book Awards Benefit Dinner and Ceremony at Cipriani Wall Street in New York City on Wednesday, November 17.
Of this year's finalists, which one do you think should win?