2014 National Book Awards

2014 National Book Award Judges


Geraldine Brooks won the 2006 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction for her novel, March. A former foreign correspondent, she has reported from more than fifteen countries and wrote two works of nonfiction before turning to novels, which include Year of Wonders, People of the Book, and Caleb’s Crossing. Born and raised in Sydney, she now lives on Martha’s Vineyard.

Sheryl Cotleur holds a B.A. from Case Western Reserve University and an M.F.A. from Kent State University. She has been a bookseller for the past 28 years and is currently the frontlist and backlist buyer for Copperfield’s, a chain of seven stores in northern California.

Michael Gorra’s Portrait of a Novel: Henry James and the Making of an American Masterpiece was a finalist for both the 2013 Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award in Biography.  A long-time faculty member at Smith College, he reviews new fiction regularly in both the US and the UK; earlier books include, among others, The Bells in Their Silence: Travels Through Germany.

Adam Johnson is the author of Emporium, a story collection, and the novels Parasites Like Us and The Orphan Master's Son, winner of the 2013 Pulitzer Prize. He teaches creative writing at Stanford University and lives in San Francisco with his wife and their three children.

Lily Tuck is the author of five novels, Interviewing Matisse or The Woman Who Died Standing Up, The Woman Who Walked on Water, Siam: Or The Woman Who Shot A Man, a PEN/Faulkner Award finalist, The News from Paraguay, winner of the 2004 National Book Award, and I Married You For Happiness; two collections of stories, Limbo, and Other Places I Have Lived and The House at Belle Fontaine; a biography, Woman of Rome, A Life of Elsa Morante.


Robert Atwan is the series editor of The Best American Essays, the annual he launched in 1986. The editor of numerous anthologies, he has published on a wide variety of subjects, such as dreams in ancient literature, early photography, Shakespeare, poetry, literary nonfiction, and the cultural history of American advertising. His essays, criticism, humor, reviews, and poetry have appeared in many periodicals, including The New York Times, The Atlantic Monthly, The Denver Quarterly, Image, The Iowa Review, Kenyon Review, Creative Nonfiction, and The Los Angeles Times.

Gretel Ehrlich is the author of 15 books, including The Solace of Open Spaces, Islands, The Universe, Home, A Match to the Heart, A Blizzard Year, and The Future of Ice. Her most recent book is Facing the Wave: A Journey in the Wake of the Tsunami, which was Longlisted for the National Book Award in 2013. She has won many awards, including the 2010 PEN Henry David Thoreau Award, a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Whiting Award, and the Harold B. Vurcell Award for distinguished prose from the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

Tom Reiss’s most recent book, The Black Count: Glory, Revolution, Betrayal, and the Real Count of Monte Cristo, won the 2013 Pulitzer Prize and the 2013 PEN Award. His previous book, The Orientalist: Solving the Mystery of a Strange and Dangerous Life, was a finalist for the 2006 Samuel Johnson Prize. His articles have appeared in The New Yorker and The New York Times. His books have been translated into over 25 languages. tomreiss.com

Ruth J. Simmons was President of Brown University from 2001-2012, after having served as President of Smith College. She is the recipient of many honors, including a Fulbright Fellowship to France, the 2001 President’s Award from the United Negro College Fund, the 2002 Fulbright Lifetime Achievement Medal, the 2004 Eleanor Roosevelt Val-Kill Medal, the Foreign Policy Association Medal, the Ellis Island Medal of Honor, and the Centennial Medal from Harvard University. Simmons is a member of the National Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Philosophical Society, and the Council on Foreign Relations, and serves on the boards of Texas Instruments, Chrysler, and Mondelez as well as a number of non-profit boards.

Alan Taylor has published seven books, including William Cooper's Town: Power and Persuasion on the Frontier of the Early Republic, which won the Pulitzer Prize for American history and the Bancroft and Beveridge prizes; The Divided Ground: Indians, Settlers, and the Northern Borderland of the American Revolution; The Civil War of 1812: American Citizens, British Subjects, Irish Rebels, & Indian Allies; and The Internal Enemy: Slavery and War in Virginia, which was a finalist for the National Book Award in 2013.


Eileen Myles is the author of many books of poetry and prose, including Snowflake/different streets, The Importance of Being Iceland, and Inferno (a poet’s novel) now available on iTunes in her own voice. She lives in New York and is the recipient of a 2014 Foundation for Contemporary Art Award in Poetry. eileenmyles.com

Katie Peterson is the author of three books of poetry, This One Tree, Permission, and The Accounts. She has been awarded the 2014 Rilke Prize from the University of North Texas (for The Accounts), and she has received fellowships from the Foundation for Contemporary Arts, and the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study. KatiePeterson.org

Rowan Ricardo Phillips is the author of The Ground: Poems as well as the critical volume When Blackness Rhymes with Blackness. He translated Salvador Espriu’s story collection Ariadne in the Grotesque Labyrinth. Phillips is the winner of several awards including a Whiting Writers’ Award, the PEN/Joyce Osterweil Award, and the Great Lakes Colleges Association New Writers Award for Poetry. A contributing writer at Artforum, he has taught at Columbia University and at SUNY-Stony Brook, where he’s served as director of the Poetry Center.

Robert Polito's books include the poetry collections Hollywood & God and Doubles, as well as A Reader's Guide to James Merrill's The Changing Light at Sandover and the Library of America editions of Kenneth Fearing, Manny Farber, and David Goodis. He received the National Book Critics Circle Award for Savage Art: A Biography of Jim Thompson. He founded the graduate program in creative writing at the New School, and is President of the Poetry Foundation. 

Paisley Rekdal is the author of a book of essays, The Night My Mother Met Bruce Lee; a hybrid-genre photo-text memoir that combines poetry, fiction, nonfiction and photography entitled Intimate; and four books of poetry: A Crash of Rhinos, Six Girls Without Pants, The Invention of the Kaleidoscope, and Animal Eye, which was a finalist for the 2013 Kingsley Tufts Prize and the Balcones Prize, and winner of the UNT Rilke Prize. PaisleyRekdal.com

Young People’s Literature

Sharon M. Draper is a professional educator, as well as an accomplished writer of over thirty award-winning books for adolescents and teachers, including Copper Sun, Winner the 2007 Coretta Scott King Award and the highly acclaimed Jericho and Hazelwood trilogies.  She served as the National Teacher of the Year, has been honored at the White House six times, and is a New York Times bestselling author.  She was selected by the US State Department to be a literary ambassador to the children of Africa as well as China. sharondraper.com

Starr LaTronica is the Youth Services/Outreach Manager for the Four County Library System and the immediate past president of the Association for Library Service to Children. She has served as chair of the John Newbery Award committee and as a panelist for The New York Times Best Illustrated Books for Children. She is the namesake for Daniel Pinkwater’s librarian character Starr Lakawanna in Looking for Bobowitz, (HarperCollins: 2003), who utters the immortal line, “I live to amaze, astonish and astound. Those are things librarians do well.”

Dave Shallenberger is co-owner of Little Shop of Stories in Decatur, Georgia, “the best independent bookstore for kids & the grownups they become in the observable universe.” Prior to the founding of Little Shop in 2005 he worked as an attorney who practiced in the area of labor and employment law, and had served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Malaysia.

Sherri L. Smith has worked in movies, animation, comic books, and construction.  She is the author of the award-winning novels Lucy the GiantSparrowHot, Sour, Salty, Sweet and the 2009 California Book Awards Gold Medalist Flygirl, which the Washington Post named a best book of the year. Her latest novel is the “cli-fi” adventure, Orleans, which was published in 2013. sherrilsmith.com

Rebecca Stead has written three novels for children: Liar & Spy, winner of the 2013 Guardian Children’s Fiction Award and a New York Times Book Review Notable Book for Children; When You Reach Me, which was awarded the 2010 Newbery Medal and the Boston Globe/Horn Book Award for Fiction; and First Light, a Junior Library Guild Selection and New York Public Library Best Book for Teens. RebeccaSteadBooks.com