January 15, 2013
For release on: Contact: Harold Augenbraum
National Book Foundation
National Book Foundation Announces
Changes in the National Book Awards Review and Selection Process
Changes to Broaden the Reach and Impact of the Awards Program
After a year of discussion and a study by an independent consulting firm, which included soliciting input from hundreds of members of the book community, the Board of Directors of the National Book Foundation announced today that the Foundation will change the National Book Awards process to broaden the reach and impact of the awards.
The National Book Awards are given out each year to the best American books published in each of four genres – Fiction, Nonfiction, Poetry and Young People’s Literature.
“Our mission is to increase the impact of great writing on American culture and these changes are concrete steps to further that mission,” said David Steinberger, Chairman of The National Book Foundation Board of Directors and Chief Executive Officer of The Perseus Books Group.
One change in the process will increase the number of honored books by selecting a “Long-List” of ten titles in each of the four genres, to be announced five weeks before the Finalists Announcement. In 2013, the Long-Lists will be announced on September 12th (forty titles), the Finalists on October 15th (twenty titles) and the National Book Award Winners on November 20th (four titles.)
“Every year many worthy titles don’t make it all the way to becoming Finalists. The Long-List will allow us to recognize more good books and broaden the conversation,” said Morgan Entrekin, Vice Chairman of the Foundation’s Board of Directors and Publisher and Chief Executive Officer of Grove Atlantic.
In addition, judges comprising the four panels—Fiction, Nonfiction, Poetry, and Young People’s Literature—will no longer be limited to writers, but now may also include other experts in the field including literary critics, librarians, and booksellers. The number of judges in each panel will remain at five.
“In the 1950s, ‘60s, and ‘70s,” said Harold Augenbraum, Executive Director of the National Book Foundation, “such prominent critics as Malcolm Cowley, Irving Howe, Alfred Kazin, and Helen Vendler served as National Book Award judges, bringing a breadth of knowledge and expertise to the panel discussions. By enlarging the judging pool new and exciting voices will again deepen and enrich the process.”
The Mission of the National Book Foundation is to celebrate the best of American literature, to expand its audience, and to enhance the cultural value of good writing in America.
About the National Book Awards
The nation’s most prestigious literary prize, the National Book Award has a stellar record of identifying and rewarding quality writing. In 1950, William Carlos Williams was the first winner in Poetry, the following year William Faulkner was honored in Fiction, and so on through the years. Many previous Winners of a National Book Award are now firmly established in the canon of American literature. On November 20th, the National Book Awards will be presented in the categories of Fiction, Nonfiction, Poetry, and Young People’s Literature.
Contact: Harold Augenbraum, National Book Foundation