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About the Cover Los Angeles-based painter, draftsman, and photographer Edward Ruscha has been a major presence in the art world for more than 40 years. Known for his deadpan vision of American vernacular imagery, Ruscha’s gunpowder drawings, first begun in the late 1960s, exemplify the artist’s interest in exploring the formal aspects of language through inventive script and experimental materials. This is the third year that the Foundation has asked an American artist to provide artwork for the National Book Awards invitation and program. Previous contributors were Matt Bollinger (2012) and Jeff Koons (2011).

Ed Ruscha Book, 1971 gunpowder and pastel on paper 11½ x 29" ©Ed Ruscha, courtesy of the artist photo by Paul Ruscha

pr esented by the

National Book Foundation Wednesday, November 20, 2013 | Cipriani | Wall Street, New York City

The National Book Foundation

believes that literature is a vital part of American culture. Our mission is to celebrate the best of American literature, to expand its audience, and to enhance the cultural value of great writing in America.

2013 National Book Awards Benefit Committee Co-Chairs: Morgan Entrekin | Deborah Needleman | Lynn Nesbit | Shelley Wanger Kurt Andersen and Anne Kreamer Mahnaz Ispahani Bartos Deeda Blair Mr. and Mrs. Donald Brant Mr. and Mrs. Clifford Brokaw Paula Cooper and Jack Macrae Christine and Cromwell Coulson Michael Cunningham Cecile David-Weill James Fenton and Darryl Pinckney Amanda Foreman and Jonathan Barton Mr. and Mrs. David Ganek Mr. and Mrs. Stephen Graham Judith Gurewich Fred Iseman Mahmood Mamdani Charlotte Moss Nicolas Niarchos Mr. and Mrs. William Rayner Shirley Lord Rosenthal Calvin Trillin James Truman and Leanne Shapton Alberto Vitale 4

Sponsors of the 2013 National Book Awards Pr emiere Sponsors Barnes & Noble The Ford Foundation Penguin Random House

Leadership Sponsors Coral Graphics Lindenmeyr Book Publishing Papers, A division of Central National-Gottesman, Inc.

Sponsors Google Hachette Book Group HarperCollinsPublishers Levenger Macmillan Perseus Books Group Robert Bowne Foundation The Theodore H. Barth Foundation Deborah E. Wiley 5

The National Book Foundation


The Foundation’s Board of Directors Quang Bao Executive Director The Hort Foundation

Susan Petersen Kennedy President Penguin Group USA

Jaime Carey Chief Merchandising Officer Barnes and Noble, Inc.

Steve Leveen CEO and Co-Founder Levenger

Markus Dohle CEO Penguin Random House

Les B. Levi Managing Director North Sea Partners, LLC

David Drummond Senior Vice President, Corp. Development and Chief Legal Officer Google

Anthony W. Marx President The New York Public Library

Morgan Entrekin Board Vice Chairman Chairman and CEO Grove/Atlantic Annette Gordon-Reed Charles Warren Professor of American Legal History Harvard Law School/Harvard University

W. Drake McFeely Chairman and President W.W. Norton & Company

Calvin Sims Board Secretary President International House David Steinberger Board Chairman President & CEO Perseus Books Group Elpidio Villarreal Senior Vice President – Global Litigation GlaxoSmithKline Kenneth L. Wallach Chairman, President & CEO Central National-Gottesman, Inc.

Deborah Needleman Editor-in-Chief T: The New York Times Style Magazine

Deborah E. Wiley Board Treasurer Chairman The Wiley Foundation

Lynn Nesbit Principal Janklow & Nesbit

Strauss Zelnick Partner ZelnickMedia

Carolyn K. Reidy President Simon & Schuster


A Letter from the Chairman of the Board of the National Book Foundation O

n behalf of the Board of Directors of the National Book Foundation, it gives me great pleasure to welcome you to the 64th National Book Awards. In the past year the Foundation’s board of directors has spent a great deal of time and energy in increasing the Robin Platzer/Twin Images National Book Awards’ effectiveness. Building on a commissioned, professional study, which showed that the Awards have a great deal of support in the literary community but that the time had come to make changes that would expand their influence, the board voted to both widen and lengthen the Awards process itself. By creating Longlists of ten in each category, and announcing them five weeks before the Finalists were announced, we were able to enlarge the conversation to twenty additional writers and books, and extend the conversation about those books by over a month. This has resulted in what one journalist has called, “the most deliberative literary awards program in America.” Partnerships with The Daily Beast, which over a fourday period in September announced one Longlist category each day; msnbc’s “Morning Joe,” which for the second year

Sincer ely, David Steinberger


in a row invited me to come to the program and announce the Finalists on the air; and Penguin Books, which produced four e-books of excerpts from the Finalist books, further broadened the Awards’ reach. We look forward to new partnerships in the coming year. I would like to congratulate our two Lifetime Achievement Award Winners for this year, E.L. Doctorow and Maya Angelou. One of the great pleasures we have tonight is to be able to honor you for the pleasure you have given us over the years. And I would like to congratulate all of this year’s Finalists. Without your hard work and dedication, we would not be here. I would like to thank our dinner co-chairs, Morgan Entrekin, Deborah Needleman, Lynn Nesbit, and Shelley Wanger, for their creativity and energy in making this dinner a success, as well as our corporate, foundation, and individual sponsors. Without all of you, the National Book Awards would not be possible. Finally, I would like to thank artist Ed Ruscha for providing the National Book Awards invitation and program artwork. Following Jeff Koons and Matt Bollinger, he has entered a growing tradition of American artists and writers at the National Book Awards.

Message from the Executive Director T

he past year has been, shall I say, eventful at the National Book Foundation. After last year’s National Book Awards program went to press, the building in which the Foundation’s offices are located was flooded by Hurricane Sandy. It took us four months to get back into our office full time, during which we ran all our programs remotely. These included National Book Foundation an eighth year of Eat, Drink & Be Literary at the Brooklyn Academy of Music; the opening of a sixth year of BookUp, our signature afterschool reading program for middle schoolers, and a fifth year of the Innovations in Reading Prize program. It also included incorporating changes to the National Book Awards process itself in response to the extensive study of the value and effectiveness of the Awards. We automated the entry process, which, according to the feedback we received, made entering the Awards competition much easier. Publishers entered more than 1,400 books for the Awards this year, a record number. We also recruited literary experts who were not writers to sit on the panels and created the structures for selecting the new Longlists. The Foundation’s staff presented its fourth online exhibition of National Book Award Finalists and Winners in the past four years, with the goal of creating a web page for each of the more than 2,100 NBA authors who have made up part of our work in the past 64 years. There are currently more than 850 of these pages of original material on our site, which I encourage you to visit. We are now beginning a complex analysis of BookUp, with the idea of expanding it beyond the existing programs in New York and Texas. A special thanks to the staff of the National Book Foundation for its hard work under extraordinary circumstances last year, and for all of 2013. As we extend our work across the country and, digitally, around the world, we especially thank our donors and program partners for all the assistance they provide.

Regards, Harold Augenbraum


Celebrating the Best of American Literature


ounded in 1950, the National Book Awards have long been recognized as one of America’s most significant symbols of literary excellence. A pantheon of writers such as William Faulkner, Marianne Moore, Ralph Ellison, John Cheever, Bernard Malamud, Philip Roth, Robert Lowell, Walker Percy, John Updike, Katherine Anne Porter, Norman Mailer, Lillian Hellman, Elizabeth Bishop, Saul Bellow, Donald Barthelme, Flannery O’Connor, Adrienne Rich, Katherine Paterson, Thomas Pynchon, Isaac Bashevis Singer, Alice Walker, E. Annie Proulx, and Colum McCann have all won the Award, each selected by a panel of peer writers. 1950 This year, the Foundation introduced important changes to the Awards selection process. To expand the diversity of voices, judging panels for the Fiction, Nonfiction, Poetry, and Young People’s Literature Awards now include critics, librarians, booksellers, and other literary experts. To give greater attention to the literary arts and encourage public conversation about more and varied books from across the country, judges in each category choose a Longlist of ten books, which is now announced five weeks prior to the selection of the Finalist books. Every fall, the Foundation’s Board of Directors bestow two Lifetime Achievement Awards on individuals who have enriched our literary heritage over a life of service or through a corpus of work. Diverse members of the literary community, such as Jason Epstein, Gwendolyn Brooks, Arthur Miller, Toni Morrison, John Updike, Maxine Hong Kingston, Tom Wolfe, John Ashbery, and Elmore Leonard 10

The 1950 Poetry Judges panel convenes to discuss the Finalists. Gathered at the table (from left): William Cole, Louis Untermeyer, Louise Bogan, Babette Deutsch, W.H. Auden, and Horace Gregory. NBF Archive

Robin Platzer/Twin Images

The 2012 National Book Award Winners (from left): William Alexander, Katherine Boo, Louise Erdrich, David Ferry.

A table at the 2012 National Book Awards Ceremony

have been past recipients of the Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters, one of American literature’s most prestigious honors. The Literarian Award for Outstanding Service to the American Literary Community has been presented to Lawrence Ferlinghetti, poet, publisher of City Lights Books, and owner of City Lights Bookstore; Robert B. Silvers and Barbara Epstein, editors of The New York Review of Books; Terry Gross, host of the National Public Radio program Fresh Air; Barney Rosset, former publisher of Grove Press; Dave Eggers, author and founder of 826 National; Joan Ganz Cooney, one of the visionaries behind the children’s television show Sesame Street; Mitchell Kaplan, co-founder of the Miami Book Fair International; and Arthur O. Sulzberger, Jr., chairman and publisher of The New York Times.

In November, National Book Awards Week features a wide range of festive literary events. Beginning with the 5 Under 35 party, which celebrates the five emerging fiction writers selected by National Book Award Winners and Finalists, the event calendar continues with the National Book Awards Teen Press Conference, the National Book Awards Medal Ceremony, and the National Book Award Finalists Reading, and culminates in tonight’s Awards Ceremony. Capturing the world’s attention as it honors the best books of the year, the Foundation fulfills its mission to celebrate the cultural value of American literature.


National Book Foundation 2013 NBF and Brooklyn Academy of Music series Eat, Drink & Be Literary returns to the Academy’s BAMcafé for its eighth season. Prominent authors Martin Amis, Colson Whitehead, Nell Freudenberger, Jamaica Kincaid, Junot Díaz, Richard Russo, Keith Gessen and Masha Gessen take part in evenings of dinner, wine, and stimulating discussion moderated by Deborah Treisman, fiction editor of The New Yorker, author Philip Lopate, and NBF executive director Harold Augenbraum. A packed house to hear author Martin Amis. Beowulf Sheehan


BookUp, NBF’s educational program designed to motivate young people to stay involved with books and reading for pleasure throughout their middle school years, with the goal that they will develop into lifelong readers, begins its sixth year in seven locations in New York and Texas.



BookUpNYC visits La Casa Azul bookstore in East Harlem for its end of year party.


Louise Erdrich, 2012 NBA Fiction Winner for The Round House, and Domingo Martinez, 2012 NBA Nonfiction Finalist for The Boy Kings of Texas, visit Concordia College in Moorhead, Minnesota to take part in the sixth National Book Awards on Campus. With NPR’s Neal Conan acting as host, the authors give readings and participate in public discussions with the campus community.

The National Book Awards Novelto-Screen Film Festival takes place on the Manhattan campus of the art and design college Pratt Institute. Screenings include adaptions of Lolita, The Cool World, and Hugo, all National Book Award books.

Innovations in Reading, NBF’s national prize competition for individuals and institutions—or partnerships between the two­—that have developed innovative means of creating and sustaining a lifelong love of reading, presents its fifth year of awards.




Miguel Guerra and

NBF launches Up All Night, its fourth online exhibition in the past four years, featuring 277 separate web pages dedicated to the history of the Winners and Finalists of the National Book Award for Young People’s Literature. From the first Award to Dutch-American author Meindert DeJong for Journey from Peppermint Street in 1969 to the most recent honoree, William Alexander’s Goblin Secrets, the breadth and depth of these award-winning books are explored through essays, videos, Q&As, comics, poems, drawings, and other forms of tribute from past NBA Winners and Finalists, BookUp students, and literary bloggers. With the addition of Up All Night, NBF’s website now features 850 web pages for National Book Award authors.


National Book Foundation 2013 Francesca Magnani

NBF announces that novelist E.L. Doctorow and memoirist and poet Maya Angelou will receive its Lifetime Achievement Awards in 2013.

Dwight Carter

A crowded field on NBF’s display board.

NBF returns to the Brooklyn Book Festival to give away copies of 2012 NBA Winners and Finalists and ask Festival visitors: “What are you reading?”




For the first time in National Book Award history, the Foundation announces Longlists of ten books in each category. Announcement partner The Daily Beast publishes the Longlists on its website, one category a day for four consecutive days during the week of September 16. It quickly becomes one of the site’s most popular feature stories.


The Foundation announces its eighth class of 5 Under 35 young fiction writers selected by former National Book Award Winners and Finalists.

Debbi Cooper

Smeeta Mahanti

Corina Bernstein

© Barney Jones

Mark Graham

For the second year in a row, the Foundation’s chairman, David Steinberger, announces the 2013 National Book Award Finalists on msnbc’s Morning Joe, hosted by Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski.


NBF publishes its first e-book series, The Contenders, featuring editors’ selected excerpts of National Book Award Finalists in each category. Produced by Penguin, the free digital books are downloaded by more than 2,500 readers in the first week.


NBF partners with Metis Associates to begin the development of a plan for national expansion of BookUp.


Celebrating the Next Generation of Great Writers The National Book Foundation’s 5 Under 35 Fiction Selections for 2013

Debbi Cooper

Smeeta Mahanti

Corina Bernstein

Molly Antopol The UnAmericans

NoViolet Bulawayo We Need New Names

Amanda Coplin The Orchardist

W.W. Norton & Company, February 2014

Reagan Arthur Books/Little, Brown


Selected by Jesmyn Ward, National Book Award Winner in 2011 for Salvage the Bones

Selected by Junot Díaz, National Book Award Finalist in 2012 for This is How You Lose Her

Selected by Louise Erdrich, National Book Award Winner in 2012 for The Round House

This year’s 5 Under 35 honorees were celebrated on November 18 at powerHouse Arena in Brooklyn. The host for the evening was musician Carrie Brownstein, creator, writer, and star of Portlandia, with writer Colson Whitehead as DJ. Author Fiona Maazel, a 2008 5 Under 35 honoree, moderated a conversation among the young writers.


Following are the authors honored in the program’s first seven years:


or the eighth year, the National Book Foundation recognized five young fiction writers through its 5 Under 35 program. Each of the honorees was selected by a previous National Book Award Finalist or Winner with the mandate to choose a writer with no more than one published book whose work is particularly promising and exciting, and is among the best of a new generation of writers.

2012 Jennifer duBois, selected by Andrew Krivak Stuart Nadler, selected by Edith Pearlman Haley Tanner, selected by Téa Obreht Justin Torres, selected by Jessica Hagedorn Claire Vaye Watkins, selected by Julie Otsuka

2011 Shani Boianjiu, selected by Nicole Krauss Danielle Evans, selected by Robert Stone Mary Beth Keane, selected by Julia Glass Melinda Moustakis, selected by Jaimy Gordon John Corey Whaley, selected by Oscar Hijuelos

2010 Sarah Braunstein, selected by Sarah Shun-lien Bynum Grace Krilanovich, selected by Scott Spencer Téa Obreht, selected by Colum McCann Tiphanie Yanique, selected by Jayne Anne Phillips Paul Yoon, selected by Kate Walbert


© Barney Jones

Mark Graham

Daisy Hildyard Hunters in the Snow

Merritt Tierce Love Me Back

Jonathan Cape, Random House UK

Doubleday, fall 2014

Selected by Kevin Powers, National Book Award Finalist in 2012 for The Yellow Birds

Selected by Ben Fountain, National Book Award Finalist in 2012 for Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk

Ceridwen Dovey, selected by Rachel Kushner C. E. Morgan, selected by Christine Schutt Lydia Peelle, selected by Salvatore Scibona Karen Russell, selected by Dan Chaon Josh Weil, selected by Lily Tuck

2008 Matthew Eck, selected by Joshua Ferris Keith Gessen, selected by Jonathan Franzen Sana Krasikov, selected by Francine Prose Nam Le, selected by Mary Gaitskill Fiona Maazel, selected by Jim Shepard

2007 Kirstin Allio, selected by Dana Spiotta Dinaw Mengestu, selected by Jess Walter Asali Solomon, selected by Jennifer Egan Anya Ulinich, selected by Ken Kalfus Charles Yu, selected by Richard Powers

2006 Amity Gaige, selected by Christopher Sorrentino Samantha Hunt, selected by René Steinke Bret Anthony Johnston, selected by Adam Haslett Rattawut Lapcharoensap, selected by Joan Silber ZZ Packer, selected by Edward P. Jones 17

Developing the Next Generation of Readers


s part of its mission, the National Book Foundation both develops its own educational “lab” programs­—testing and evaluating them to see if they can be replicated in other venues—and supports the innovative work of grassroots organizations who share the Foundation’s goals of promoting reading.

BookUp Established in 2007, BookUp is the Foundation’s signature educational program designed to motivate young people to stay involved with books and reading for pleasure throughout their middle school years, with the goal that they will develop into lifelong readers The program introduces activities that emphasize reading as both fun and interactive, all designed to improve students’ social/emotional skills along with their reading skills, and build the confidence necessary to become engaged citizens as adults. We have chosen to focus on middle school students because studies show that this is the age when children are most at risk to stop reading. BookUp faculty are published authors with extensive teaching experience who work on site at our partner schools and community centers. In addition to guiding the children’s book choices, the faculty work closely


Letter-writing projects encourage students to reach out to authors of their favorite books. A BookUp student’s letter to YPL author Teresa Ann Willis, who visited several BookUp sites last spring.

An end of year party at La Casa Azul bookstore in East Harlem.

After sharing their own written work and reading from favorite books, the students posed for pictures in La Casa Azul’s courtyard.

with the Foundation and after-school program staff to develop creative, reading-based activities designed to inspire young people to make books a part of their daily lives. Participants are encouraged to share their interests, to discuss what they are reading, and suggest books, periodicals, and activities for the group. Now provided in seven underserved communities in New York and Texas, BookUp has helped over 1,000 young people in the past seven years, during which the Foundation has held over 1,000 after-school sessions and distributed over 25,000 free books. The Foundation and Metis Associates, a leading evaluator of education programs, have begun a third-party evaluation of BookUp with the goal of replicating the program nationally. Author Tayari Jones visits BookUp Texas students.


Innovations in Reading Prize


he Innovations in Reading Prize, established in 2009 and now supported by The Levenger Foundation, each year provides awards to five programs or individuals in the United States who have developed innovative programs that encourage lifelong reading. Programs can focus on local, regional, national, or even international activities, and have included initiatives as small as the organic development of a secular library in a church basement in a small town in South Carolina where the closest public library was a half-hour’s drive away, to this year’s World Reader, which provides e-readers to poor children around the world.

The 2013 Innovations in Reading Winners Reading is the Way Up, a project of City National Bank in Los Angeles, California, the Foundation’s first Innovations in Reading Prize to a profit-making entity, has made reading for success its signature corporate program and has helped over 100,000 children by providing free books in partnership with Barnes & Noble and Reading is Fundamental, and over $600,000 in grants to reading teachers. Little Free Library, based in Hudson, Wisconsin, has established physical “book exchanges” in over 7,000 locations around the world.

The Uprise Books Project, based in Vancouver, Washington, excites young teens to read “challenged books,” works that community standards have turned into “banned books.”

The Uni Project, based in New York City, creates and builds portable, temporary structures that turn public spaces into reading rooms.

World Reader, based in Seattle, Washington, provides e-readers and digital books to poor children in subSaharan Africa. Established only three years ago, World Reader has already delivered over 480,000 books to 10,000 children, who now read more, and better, than ever before. And now Worldreader Mobile, a free mobile app, is used by over a half million people around the world to read on their cell phones. 20

National Book Awards Teen Press Conference


t the National Book Awards Teen Press Conference, which takes place in New York City during National Book Awards Week, middle and high school students in New York City play the role of reporters as they direct questions to the five Finalists for the National Book Award in Young People’s Literature. In 2012, the young adult author Coe Booth hosted the event. This year’s host, Sarah Harrison Smith, children’s book editor of The New York Times Book Review, moderated the discussion and the Finalists signed books for the students after the Q&A period.

At the 2012 Teen Press Conference, children line up to ask questions of the YPL author panelists.

The 2012 YPL Finalists William Alexander, Carrie Arcos, Patricia McCormick, and Eliot Schrefer answer questions (not pictured: Steve Sheinkin). 21

The National Book Awards Ceremony


Tonight’s Program Welcome Mika Brzezinski Master of Ceremonies

Presentation of the National Book Award for Young People’s Literature by E. Lockhart, Panel Chair

Presentation of the Literarian Award for Outstanding Service to the American Literary Community

Presentation of the National Book Award for Poetry

to Maya Angelou by Toni Morrison

by Nikky Finney, Panel Chair

Presentation of the Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters

Presentation of the National Book Award for Nonfiction

to E.L. Doctorow by Victor Navasky

Presentation of the National Book Award for Fiction


by Eric Sundquist, Panel Chair

by Charles McGrath, Panel Chair

Welcome from the Board of Directors David Steinberger Chairman of the Board, National Book Foundation

Closing Remarks Mika Brzezinski

The celebration continues on the Cipriani balcony after the Ceremony at the National Book Awards After-Party, sponsored by Kobo Inc.

About the Master of Cer emonies Mika Brzezinski is the co-host of msnbc’s “Morning Joe” and the author of the bestsellers All Things At Once, a memoir, and Knowing Your Value. Her most recent book is Obsessed: America’s Food Obsession— and My Own. Prior to joining msnbc, Brzezinski was an anchor of the CBS Evening News and a CBS News correspondent. Brzezinski is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and lives in New York with her husband and two daughters. 23

The 2013 Literarian Award for Outstanding Service to the American Literary Community Presented to

Maya Angelou B

orn Marguerite Johnson on April 4, 1928 in St. Louis, Missouri and raised in Stamps, Arkansas, Dr. Maya Angelou is a writer, poet, performer, and teacher. In 1969, with the publication of her groundbreaking literary autobiography I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, Angelou rose to international prominence as an author. Caged Bird is an intelligent and sophisticated story of how Angelou transformed herself from a victim of racism with an inferiority complex into a selfassured, dignified young woman and civil-rights activist. The book was banned by many schools and colleges because of its frank portrayal of childhood rape, racism, and sexuality. In 2013, at the age of 85, Angelou published her seventh autobiography, Mom & Me & Mom. Dr. Angelou has also published five books of poetry, including I Shall Not Be Moved, three books of essays, including Letter to My Daughter, a children’s book, and six long-form poems, including “Mother” and “On the Pulse of Morning,” which she read at the 1993 inauguration of President William Jefferson Clinton. Angelou’s reading marked the first time that an African American woman wrote and presented a poem at a Presidential inauguration. She was also the second poet in history to do so, following Robert Frost, who recited a poem at the swearing-in ceremony of John F. Kennedy in 1961. The list of her published verse, nonfiction, and fiction now includes more than thirty bestselling titles. Angelou’s remarkable career encompasses dance, theater, journalism, and social activism. She appeared in Broadway and Off-Broadway plays, including Cabaret for Freedom, which she wrote with Godfrey Cambridge. She also lived and worked in Cairo and Ghana, first as the associate editor of The Arab Observer and then as features editor and writer for The Ghanaian Times. At the request of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., she served as the Northern Coordinator of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. In 1978, she was a National Book Award Judge for Biography and Autobiography. Angelou has received more than thirty honorary degrees and has been inducted into the Wake Forest University Hall of Fame for Writers. In 2010 President Obama awarded her the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the United States’ highest civilian honor. Dwight Carter


The Literarian Award was presented for the first time in 2005. Nominations for the Award are made by the Foundation’s family of National Book Award Winners and Finalists, former Judges, and editors and publishers from across the country. The final selection is made by the Foundation’s Board of Directors.

Presented by

Toni Morrison T

oni Morrison is recognized as one of the most influential writers in American literature. In 1993, she was the first African American woman to win the Nobel Prize for Literature and, in 1996, she was the recipient of the National Book Foundation Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters. Her ten major novels—The Bluest Eye, Sula, Timothy Greenfield-Saunders Song of Solomon, Tar Baby, Beloved, Jazz, Paradise, Love, A Mercy, and Home—have earned extensive critical acclaim. She received the National Book Critics Circle Award in 1977 for Song of Solomon and the 1988 Pulitzer Prize for Beloved. In 2006, Beloved was chosen by The New York Times Book Review as the best work of American fiction published in the previous quarter century. Morrison is the Robert F. Goheen Professor in the Humanities, Emerita, at Princeton University. She was appointed the Robert F. Goheen Professor in the spring of 1989 and held the post until 2006. Prior to her appointment at Princeton, Morrison held the Schweitzer Chair at SUNY Albany, and was a senior editor at Random House for twenty years. Morrison is a trustee of The New York Public Library and a member of the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. She served on the NEA National Council of the Arts for six years. She has degrees from Howard and Cornell universities and honorary degrees from numerous other institutions, including Oxford and the Sorbonne. 25

The 2013 Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters Presented to

E.L. Doctorow N

amed after Edgar Allen Poe, Edgar Lawrence Doctorow was born on January 6, 1931 and raised in the Bronx, New York. He began his literary career as a reader at Columbia Pictures, and then worked as an editor for New American Library from 1959 to 1964, moving on to serve as editor in chief at Dial Press until 1969. It was at this time that he decided to write full time. His body of work spans fifty years, has been published in more than thirty languages, and consists of novels, short stories, essays, and a play. Doctorow’s debut novel, a Western, Welcome to Hard Times, was adapted for a film of the same name in 1967. He won the National Book Award for Fiction in 1986 for World’s Fair, and was a Fiction Finalist four other times: in 1972 for The Book of Daniel, in 1982 for Loon Lake, in 1989 for Billy Bathgate, and in 2005 for The March. Doctorow’s novel Ragtime received the first National Book Critics Circle Award for fiction in 1976, was named one of the 100 best English language novels of the twentieth century by the editorial board of the Modern Library, and was adapted for a motion picture in 1981 and a Broadway musical in 1998. His upcoming novel, Andrew’s Brain, will be published in early 2014. Among Doctorow’s other honors are three National Book Critics Circle Awards, the PEN/Saul Bellow Award for Achievement in American Fiction, two PEN/Faulkner Awards, and the presidentially conferred National Humanities Medal in 1998. He holds the Lewis and Loretta Glucksman Chair in English and American Letters at New York University. Francesca Magnani


The Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters has been presented annually since 1989. Nominations for the Award are made by the Foundation’s family of National Book Award Winners and Finalists, former Judges, and editors and publishers from across the country. The final selection is made by the Foundation’s Board of Directors.

Presented by

Victor Navasky V

ictor Navasky has served as editor, publisher, and now publisher emeritus of The Nation, which he joined in 1978. He is the George Delacorte Professor of Magazine Journalism at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism, where he directs the Delacorte Center of Magazine Journalism. He is chairman of Columbia Journalism Review. `The Nation Before joining The Nation, he was an editor at The New York Times Magazine and wrote a monthly column about the publishing business (“In Cold Print”) for the Times Book Review. He is the author of Kennedy Justice and Naming Names, which won a National Book Award and has been republished with a new afterword by Farrar, Straus and Giroux. With Christopher Cerf, he is co-author of The Experts Speak: The Definitive Compendium of Authoritative Misinformation, a new version of which has been published in England under the title I Wish I Hadn’t Said That. He was founding editor and publisher of Monocle, a “leisurely quarterly of political satire and social criticism” that appeared in the late 1950s and early 1960s. With Richard R. Lingeman, Navasky is the co-author of Starr’s Last Tape, a one-act play performed at the Berkshire Theater Festival during the summer of 1999. His 2004 book, A Matter of Opinion, makes the case for the independent journal of opinion as an essential counterforce to the worst trends in mainstream journalism. Most recently he has published The Art of Making Magazines: On Being an Editor and Other Views for the Industry edited by Victor S. Navasky and Evan Cornog, and The Art of Controversy: Political Cartoons and Their Enduring Power. 27

The 2013 National Book Award for Young People’s Literature Judges: Deb Caletti | Cecil Castellucci | Peter Glassman | E. Lockhart | Lisa Von Drasek

The Finalists 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


Kathi Appelt

The True Blue Scouts of Sugar Man Swamp Atheneum Books for Young Readers/Simon & Schuster

With traditional storytelling cadences and exquisite pacing, Kathi Appelt lures readers into a Southern swamp. Weaving seemingly disparate storylines, Appelt gives us two recently appointed raccoon scouts, J’miah and Bingo, who embark on a quest for the Sugar Man, while a twelve-year-old boy desperately seeks to save his family’s home and business. This operatic drama lightened with jolts of humor and embedded with natural history reveals the transformative power of perseverance, loyalty, and courage. ~Judges’ Citation

About the Book

About the Author



accoon brothers Bingo and J’miah are the newest recruits of the Official Sugar Man Swamp Scouts. The opportunity to serve the Sugar Man—the massive creature who delights in delicious sugar cane and magnanimously rules over the swamp—is an honor, and also a big responsibility, since the rest of the swamp critters rely heavily on the intel of these hardworking Scouts. Twelve-year-old Chap Brayburn is not a member of any such organization. But he loves the swamp something fierce, and he’ll do anything to help protect it. And help is surely needed, because world-class alligator wrestler Jaeger Stitch wants to turn Sugar Man swamp into an Alligator World Wrestling Arena and Theme Park, and the troubles don’t end there. There is also a gang of wild feral hogs on the march, headed straight toward them all. The Scouts are ready. All they have to do is wake up the Sugar Man. Problem is, no one’s been able to wake that fellow up in a decade or four…

athi Appelt is the author of the Newbery Honor-winning, National Book Award Finalist, PEN USA Literary Award winning, and bestselling The Underneath, as well as the critically acclaimed novel Keeper, and many picture books. She is a member of the faculty at Vermont College’s Master of Fine Arts program. She has two grown children, lives in Texas with her husband, and once helped her grandma raise a baby raccoon.

The 2013 National Book Award for Young People’s Literature


Cynthia Kadohata The Thing About Luck Atheneum Books for Young Readers/Simon & Schuster

With masterful characterizations and quiet strength, Cynthia Kadohata goes straight to the heart of twelve-year-old Summer, her troubled brother, and her JapaneseAmerican grandparents, during one grueling season of a contemporary Midwest wheat harvest. Here, Kadohata has carefully crafted a vivid and realistic portrayal of one family’s migrant experience. But even more, she’s created a compassionate, gentle, and humorous book, exploring generational and cultural differences, the fragility of life, and the weighty yet cherished ties of family. ~Judges’ Citation

About the Book


ummer knows that kouun means “good luck” in Japanese, and this year her family has none of it. Just when she thinks nothing else can possibly go wrong, an emergency whisks her parents away to Japan—right before harvest season. Summer and her little brother, Jaz, are left in the care of their grandparents, who come out of retirement in order to harvest wheat and help pay the bills. Obaachan and Jiichan are old-fashioned and demanding, and between helping Obaachan cook for the workers, covering for her when her back pain worsens, and worrying about her lonely little brother, Summer barely has time to notice the attentions of their boss’s cute son. When she does, what begins as a welcome distraction from hard work soon turns into a real mess. Having disappointed her grandmother, Summer figures the bad luck must be finished— but then it gets worse. When that happens, Summer has to figure out how to change it herself, even 30

if it means further displeasing Obaachan. Because it might be the only way to save her family.

About the Author


ynthia Kadohata is the author of the Newbery Medal-winning book Kira-Kira, the Jane Addams Peace Award and Pen USA Award winner Weedflower, Cracker!, Outside Beauty, A Million Shades of Gray, and several critically acclaimed adult novels, including The Floating World. She has published numerous short stories in literary journals such as The New Yorker, Ploughshares, and Grand Street. She lives with her son, boyfriend, and dogs in West Covina, California.

The 2013 National Book Award for Young People’s Literature

Tom McNeal Far Far Away Alfred A. Knopf/Random House

Tom McNeal finds the occasion to unite a teenager haunted by the ghost of Jacob Grimm, a girl, and a villain in a tale firmly rooted in the tradition of children’s stories of yore. Set in a place that is both here and now and not, the dark deeds in this book and the heart needed to survive are brilliantly stitched together, creating a unique and modern fairy tale that is as timeless as it is fresh. ~Judges’ Citation

About the Book

About the Author



eremy Johnson Johnson’s life has begun to feel like a cruel fairy tale. He hears voices­—“strange whisperings”—so the citizens of the small town of Never Better treat him like an oddity and an outcast. Meanwhile, his mother takes a bite of a cake so delicious it’s rumored to be bewitched and runs away with another man. Jeremy’s heartsick father goes into his room and stays there unhappily ever after. Then the town’s coltish, copper-haired beauty takes a bite of the cake herself and falls in love with the first person she sees: Jeremy. In any other place, this would be a turn for the better for Jeremy, but not in Never Better, where the Finder of Occasions— whose identity and evil intentions nobody knows—is watching and waiting, waiting and watching. . .

om McNeal holds an MA in creative writing from UC Irvine and was a Stegner fellow and Jones Lecturer at Stanford University. He is also the author, with his wife, Laura, of four young adult novels—Crooked, Crushed, The Decoding of Lana Morris, and Zipped. His adult Jeff Lucia titles include Goodbye, Nebraska, winner of the California Book Award, and To Be Sung Underwater. He lives with his wife and two sons in Southern California.

The 2013 National Book Award for Young People’s Literature


Meg Rosoff

Picture Me Gone G.P. Putnam’s Sons/Penguin Group USA

Meg Rosoff reinvents both the road trip novel and the missing-person thriller in this chilling, gorgeously written story. An acutely sensitive girl and her apparently muddled father search for a friend who has disappeared. The closer they get to solving the mystery, the more complex Mila’s understanding of human nature becomes. The book is about the American landscape and fantasies of family life, and about the huge joy and deep pain of growing up. ~Judges’ Citation

About the Book

About the Author



ila has an exceptional talent for reading a room— sensing hidden facts and unspoken emotions from clues that others overlook. So when her father’s best friend, Matthew, goes missing from his upstate New York home, Mila and her beloved father travel from London to find him. She collects information about Matthew from his belongings, from his wife and baby, from the dog he left behind, and from the ghosts of his past—slowly piecing together the story everyone else has missed. But just when she’s closest to solving the mystery, a shocking betrayal calls into question her trust in the one person she thought she could read best.


eg Rosoff was born in Boston and currently lives in London with her husband and daughter. Her debut novel, How I Live Now, won the Michael L. Printz Award, was an ALA Best Book for Young Adults, and is now a major motion picture film. Her second novel, Just in Zoe Norfolk Case, won the 2007 CILIP Carnegie Medal and was an ALA Best Book for Young Adults. What I Was, Rosoff’s third novel, was short-listed for the 2008 CILIP Carnegie Medal. Her previous novel, There Is No Dog, received four starred reviews from Publishers Weekly, Kirkus Reviews, Booklist, and Horn Book.

The 2013 National Book Award for Young People’s Literature

Gene Luen Yang Boxers & Saints First Second/Macmillan

Combining stirring imagery with a spare but poignant text, Gene Luen Yang takes the graphic novel to new heights, revealing how truly powerful a literary form it can be. Set during China’s Boxer Rebellion, Boxers & Saints weaves fantasy and history, humor and pain, to form a moving tale of how, while seeking to right great wrongs, people can go too far and find themselves committing deeds far worse than those they sought to redress. ~Judges’ Citation

About the Book

About the Author



n two volumes, Boxers & Saints tells two parallel stories. The first is of Little Bao, a Chinese peasant boy whose village is abused and plundered by Westerners claiming the role of missionaries. Little Bao, inspired by visions of the Chinese gods, joins a violent uprising against the Western interlopers. Against all odds, their grassroots rebellion is successful. But in the second volume, Yang lays out the opposite side of the conflict. A girl whose village has no place for her is taken in by Christian missionaries and finds, for the first time, a home with them. As the Boxer Rebellion gains momentum, Vibiana must decide whether to abandon her Christian friends or to commit herself fully to Christianity.

ene Luen Yang began drawing comic books in the fifth grade. He was an established figure in the indie comics scene when he published his first book, American Born Chinese, which is now in print in over ten languages. American Born Chinese’s critical and commercial success, along with its status as a National Book Award Finalist and winner of the Printz Award, catapulted Yang into stardom as a major voice of our times.

The 2013 National Book Award for Young People’s Literature


The 2013 National Book Award for Poetry Judges: Nikky Finney | Ada Lim贸n | D.A. Powell | Jahan Ramazani | Craig Morgan Teicher

The Finalists Frank Bidart Metaphysical Dog Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Lucie Brock-Broido Stay, Illusion Alfred A. Knopf/Random House

Adrian Matejka The Big Smoke Penguin Poets/Penguin Group USA

Matt Rasmussen Black Aperture Louisiana State University Press

Mary Szybist Incarnadine Graywolf Press


Frank Bidart

Metaphysical Dog Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Frank Bidart’s powerful new poems wrestle with the poet’s sexuality, obsessively rehearse his past, and violently collide with themselves. But for all their confessional qualities, they are also formally brilliant in their deft modulations of tone and their often strenuous line breaks and visual form, their tortuous bends and twists of syntax. Although Bidart prefers the rough hewn and blunt to the conventionally beautiful, his language sometimes borders on the mellifluous. A major achievement in a distinguished career. ~Judges’ Citation

About the Book

About the Author



n “Those Nights,” Frank Bidart writes: “We who could get / somewhere through / words through / sex could not.” Words and sex, art and flesh: In Metaphysical Dog, Bidart explores their nexus. The result stands among this deeply adventurous poet’s most powerful and achieved work, an emotionally naked, fearlessly candid journey through many of the central axes, the central conflicts, of his life, and ours. Bidart writes: “In adolescence, you thought your work / ancient work: to decipher at last / human beings’ relation to God. Decipher / love. To make what was once whole / whole again: or to see / why it never should have been thought whole.” This “ancient work” reflects what the poet sees as fundamental in human feeling, what psychologists and mystics have called the “hunger for the Absolute”—a hunger as fundamental as any physical hunger. This hunger must confront the elusiveness of the Absolute, our self-deluding, failed glimpses of it.

our-time National Book Award Finalist Frank Bidart’s most recent full-length collections of poetry are Watching the Spring Festival, Star Dust, Desire, and In the Western Night: Collected Poems 1965–90. He has won many prizes, including the Wallace Stevens Award and, most recently, © James Franco the 2007 Bollingen Prize for American Poetry. He teaches at Wellesley College.

The 2013 National Book Award for Poetry


Lucie Brock-Broido Stay, Illusion Alfred A. Knopf/Random House

Ethereal and yet eerily precise, Stay, Illusion is a powerful new book of poems that offers a masterful attention to grief and a compelling empathy for those that remain behind. Trembling with an almost otherworldly language that is at once meticulous and fierce, Brock-Broido’s poems open up the channels between the living and the dead, allowing for a hypnotic conversation that is as piercing as it is utterly breathtaking. ~Judges’ Citation

About the Book

About the Author



n Stay, Illusion, Lucie Brock-Broido illuminates the broken but beautiful world she inhabits. Her poems are lit with magic and stark with truth: Speaking from the imagined dwelling of her “Abandonarium,” or the habitats where animals are farmed and harmed “humanely,” or the surreal confines of death row, they are dazzling, intimate, startling, heartbreaking. Grandeur devolves into a comic irony: “We have come to terms with our Self / Like a marmoset getting out of her Great Ape suit.” She dares the unexplained: “The wings were left ajar / At the altar where I’ve knelt all night, trembling, leaning, rough / As sugar raw, and sweet.” Each poem is a rebellious chain of words: “Be good, they said, and so too I was / Good until I was not.” Strange narratives, interior and exterior, make a world that is foreign and yet our own; like Dickinson, Brock-Broido constructs a spidersibling, commanding the “silk spool of the recluse as she confects her eventual mythomania.” 36

ucie Brock-Broido is the author of three previous collections of poetry, A Hunger, The Master Letters, and Trouble in Mind, as well as the editor of the poems of Thomas James, Letters to a Stranger. A volume of Brock-Broido’s selected poems, Soul Keeping Company, was published in Karen Meyers the U.K. She is Director of Poetry in the School of the Arts at Columbia University and lives in New York City and in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

The 2013 National Book Award for Poetry

Adrian Matejka The Big Smoke Penguin Poets/Penguin Group USA

With the lean, long jab and agile step of a boxer, Adrian Matejka delivers this knockout dramatization of the larger-than-life life of heavyweight champion Jack Johnson. In dexterous interpolating voices, and in forms ranging from enveloping sonnets to prose letters and interviews, Johnson emerges as a scrappy, hard-edged hero—troubled by his own demons but determined to win the “fight of the century,” a fight that underscored the bitter realities of racism in America. These poems don’t pull no punches. ~Judges’ Citation

About the Book

About the Author



he legendary boxer Jack Johnson (1878–1946) was a true American creation. The child of emancipated slaves, he overcame the violent segregationism of Jim Crow, challenging white boxers—and white America—to become the first African American heavyweight world champion. The Big Smoke, Adrian Matejka’s third work of poetry, follows the fighter’s journey from poverty to the most coveted title in sports through the multi-layered voices of Johnson and the white women he brazenly loved. Matejka’s book is part historic reclamation and part interrogation of Johnson’s complicated legacy, one that often misremembers the magnetic man behind the myth.

drian Matejka is the author of The Devil’s Garden and Mixology. He is the recipient of two Illinois Arts Council Literary Awards, the New York/ New England Award, a National Poetry Series Award, and a fellowship from the Lannan Foundation. He teaches at Taylor Cincotta Indiana University and lives in Bloomington with his wife, Stacey Lynn Brown, and their daughter.

The 2013 National Book Award for Poetry


Matt Rasmussen Black Aperture Louisiana State University Press

In Black Aperture, Matt Rasmussen soars into the great sky of grief with lyric, ardent, and spare ingenuity. Grief’s woeful light is turned pristine rose, every monsoon and spiny edge awash in beauty. A tender profound sagacity is mined and hewn. What unfolds by way of the speculations, facts, and dreams of a brother’s suicide is a debut collection that is pitiless, essential, and keen as birth. Rasmussen crafts a new symphony of what it means to feel, fly above, over and beyond, one’s broken heart. ~Judges’ Citation

About the Book

About the Author



n his moving debut collection, Matt Rasmussen faces the tragedy of his brother’s suicide, refusing to focus on the expected pathos, blurring the edge between grief and humor. In “Outgoing,” the speaker erases his brother’s answering machine message to save his family from “the shame of dead you / answering calls.” In other poems, onceordinary objects become dreamlike. A buried light bulb blooms downward, a “flower / of smoldering filaments.” A refrigerator holds an evening landscape, a “tinfoil lake,” “vegetables / dying in the crisper.” Destructive and redemptive, Black Aperture opens to the complicated entanglements of mourning: damage and healing, sorrow and laughter, and torment balanced with moments of relief.


att Rasmussen’s poetry has been published in Gulf Coast, H_NGM_N, and other publications, as well as at A founding coeditor of Birds LLC, a small, independent poetry press, he is a winner of the Walt Whitman Award and is a 2012–2013 McKnight Stephanie Colgan Artist Fellow. Rasmussen teaches at Gustavus Adolphus College in Saint Peter, Minnesota.

The 2013 National Book Award for Poetry

Mary Szybist Incarnadine Graywolf Press

In her gorgeous second collection, Mary Szybist blends traditional and experimental aesthetics to recast the myth of the Biblical Mary for this era. In vulnerable lyrics, surprising concrete poems, and other forms, and with extraordinary sympathy and a light touch of humor, Szybist probes the nuances of love, loss, and the struggle for religious faith in a world that seems to argue against it. This is a religious book for nonbelievers, or a book of necessary doubts for the faithful. ~Judges’ Citation

About the Book

About the Author



ary Szybist’s richly imagined poems offer intimate spaces and stagings for encounters that are exploratory and sometimes explosive. Through the lens of an iconic moment, the Annunciation of an unsettling angel to a bodily young woman, Szybist describes the confusion and even terror of moments in which our longing for the spiritual may also be a longing for what is most fundamentally alien to us. In a world where we are so often asked to choose sides, to believe or not believe, to embrace or reject, Incarnadine offers lyrically inventive alternatives.

ary Szybist grew up in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, and was educated at the University of Virginia and the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. Her first collection of poetry, Granted, was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. In 2009, she won a Witter Bynner Fellowship from the Library of Congress.

The 2013 National Book Award for Poetry

Joni Kabana


The 2013 National Book Award for Nonfiction Judges: Jabari Asim | André Bernard | M.G. Lord | Lauren Redniss | Eric Sundquist

The Finalists Jill Lepore 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


Jill Lepore Book of Ages: The Life and Opinions of Jane Franklin Alfred A. Knopf/Random House

Using period spelling and reproductions of archival documents, Jill Lepore gives us a book about books: the paper and the binding, the letters, the printing, the printer. In writing about Jane Mecom, the younger sister of Benjamin Franklin, Lepore investigates how history is written and considers the silence of material that does not exist. The reader is allowed into Mecom’s parlor, where we share her sorrows and yearnings, and hear the shots of revolution outside her window. ~Judges’ Citation

About the Book

About the Author



rom one of our most accomplished historians, a revelatory portrait of Benjamin Franklin’s youngest sister and a history of history itself. Like her brother, Jane Franklin was a passionate reader, a gifted writer, and an astonishingly shrewd political commentator. Unlike him, she was a mother of twelve. Benjamin Franklin, who wrote more letters to his sister than he wrote to anyone else, was the original American selfmade man; his sister spent her life caring for her children. They left very different traces behind. Making use of an amazing cache of little-studied material, Jill Lepore brings Jane Franklin to life in a way that illuminates not only this one woman but an entire world lost to history. Lepore’s life of Jane Franklin, with its strikingly original vantage on her remarkable brother, is a wholly different account of the founding of the United States and one of the great untold stories of American history and letters.

ill Lepore is the David Woods Kemper ’41 Professor of American History at Harvard University and a staff writer at The New Yorker. Her books include New York Burning, a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize; The Name of War, winner of the Bancroft Prize; and The Mansion Dari Michele of Happiness, which was short-listed for the 2013 Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Nonfiction. She lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

The 2013 National Book Award for Nonfiction


Wendy Lower Hitler’s Furies: German Women in the Nazi Killing Fields Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

The savagery of the Nazi empire has been described in hundreds of books since the end of World War II. But never before have the roles of German women in the killing fields been revealed in such intimate detail. Based on extensive research in archives that had been closed for decades, Wendy Lower’s chilling account of female brutality provides a powerful and unavoidable look at the nature of evil, an unforgettable revision of our understanding of modern history. ~Judges’ Citation

About the Book


endy Lower’s stunning account of the role of German women on the World War II Nazi eastern front powerfully revises history by graphically depicting the reality of women’s brutal participation in the Holocaust. The long-held picture of German women holding down the home front during the war pales in comparison to Lower’s incisive case for the massive complicity of the 500,000 young German women she places, for the first time, directly in the Reich’s killing fields. Hitler’s Furies is a disturbing and convincing picture of a morally “lost generat ion” of young women, born into a defeated, tumultuous post–World War I Germany, and then swept up in the nationalistic fervor of the Nazi movement. Lower presents overwhelming evidence that these women were more than comforters of murderous German men: they went on “shopping sprees” for Jewishowned goods and brutalized Jews


in the ghettos of Poland, Ukraine, and Belarus; they not only provided refreshments at killing-field picnics, but took part in shootings. And Lower uncovers the stories, perhaps most horrific, of SS wives with children of their own, whose female brutality is as chilling as any in history.

About the Author


endy Lower is the John K. Roth Professor of History at Claremont McKenna College and a research associate at the Ludwig Maximilian University in Munich. A historical consultant for the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, she has published numerous articles and Björn Marquart books on the Holocaust and conducted archival research and fieldwork in central and eastern Europe since 1992.

The 2013 National Book Award for Nonfiction

George Packer

The Unwinding: An Inner History of the New America Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Combining novelistic storytelling and rigorous reporting, George Packer exposes tattering seams in the national tapestry. In an account of economic decline that traverses large cities and small towns, he casts a discerning eye on banks and Wall Street while tracing the painful dissolution of much of our economic infrastructure. His compelling profiles of struggling, ordinary workers, amid snapshots of wealthy, ambitious, and even notorious celebrities, dramatize the widening gulf between rich Americans and everybody else. ~Judges’ Citation

About the Book

About the Author



merican democracy is beset by a sense of crisis. Seismic shifts during a single generation have created a country of winners and losers, allowing unprecedented freedom while rending the social contract, driving the political system to the verge of breakdown and setting citizens adrift to find new paths forward. In The Unwinding, George Packer tells the story of the United States over the past three decades in an utterly original way, with his characteristically sharp eye for detail and gift for weaving together complex narratives. By journeying through the lives of Americans from varying walks of lives, The Unwinding portrays a superpower in danger of coming apart at the seams, its elites no longer elite, its institutions no longer working, its ordinary people left to improvise their own schemes for success and salvation.

eorge Packer is a staff writer for The New Yorker and the author of The Assassins’ Gate: America in Iraq, which received several prizes and was named one of the ten best books of 2005 by The New York Times Book Review. He is also the author of two novels, The Half Man © Guillermo Riveros and Central Square, and two other works of nonfiction, Blood of the Liberals, which won the 2001 Robert F. Kennedy Book Award, and The Village of Waiting. His play, Betrayed, ran off-Broadway for five months in 2008 and won the Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Play. His previous book is Interesting Times: Writings from a Turbulent Decade. He lives in Brooklyn.

The 2013 National Book Award for Nonfiction


Alan Taylor

The Internal Enemy: Slavery and War in Virginia, 1772–1832 W.W. Norton & Company

By the time British forces burned Washington, D.C. during the War of 1812, they had on their side hundreds of runaway slaves who acted not only as guides and sailors, but also as rebels committed to freeing family members and plundering their former masters. Drawing on overlooked sources, Alan Taylor presents a marvelous portrait of this “internal enemy” and the slaveholders who, finding their worst fears realized, thereafter embraced sectional doctrines that led to civil war. ~Judges’ Citation

About the Book


his searing story of slavery and freedom in the Chesapeake reveals the pivot in the nation’s path between the national purpose of the founding and civil war. Frederick Douglass recalled that slaves living along Chesapeake Bay longingly viewed sailing ships as “freedom’s swift-winged angels.” In 1813 those angels appeared in the bay as British warships coming to punish the Americans for declaring war on the empire. Over many nights, hundreds of slaves paddled out to the warships seeking protection for their families from the ravages of slavery. The runaways pressured the British admirals into becoming liberators. As guides, pilots, sailors, and marines, the former slaves used their intimate knowledge of the countryside to transform the war. They enabled the British to escalate their onshore attacks and to capture and burn Washington, D.C. Tidewater masters had long dreaded their slaves as “an internal enemy.” By mobilizing that enemy, the 44

war ignited the deepest fears of Chesapeake slaveholders. It also alienated Virginians from a national government that had neglected their defense. Taylor’s narrative recreates the events that inspired black Virginians, haunted slaveholders, and set the nation on a new and dangerous course.

About the Author


lan Taylor has won the Pulitzer Prize and the Bancroft Prize for his histories of early America. He is the Thomas Jefferson Professor of History at the University of Virginia.

The 2013 National Book Award for Nonfiction

© Lynn R. Friedman

Lawrence Wright

Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, & the Prison of Belief Alfred A. Knopf/Random House

In a cool, measured voice, Lawrence Wright details the often shocking history of the Church of Scientology. Beginning with discrepancies between the authorized biography of its founder, L. Ron Hubbard, and the facts in his military, marital, and medical records, Wright investigates allegations of child-slavery and torture in today’s church, while at the same time examining how Hollywood and its cult of celebrity have offered fertile ground for the germination of exotic faiths. ~Judges’ Citation

About the Book


ased on more than two hundred personal interviews with current and former Scientologists—both famous and less well known—and years of archival research, Lawrence Wright uses his extraordinary investigative ability to uncover for us the inner workings of the Church of Scientology. At the book’s center, two men whom Wright brings vividly to life, showing how they have made Scientology what it is today. The darkly brilliant science-fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard, whose restless, expansive mind invented a new religion. And his successor, David Miscavige—tough and driven, with the unenviable task of preserving the church after the death of Hubbard. In Going Clear, Wright examines what fundamentally makes a religion a religion, and whether Scientology is, in fact, deserving of this constitutional protection. Employing all his exceptional journalistic skills of observation,

understanding, and shaping a story into a compelling narrative, Lawrence Wright has given us an evenhanded yet keenly incisive book that reveals the very essence of what makes Scientology the institution it is.

About the Author


awrence Wright is a graduate of Tulane University and the American University in Cairo, where he spent two years teaching. He is a staff writer for The New Yorker, and the author of one novel, God’s Favorite, and six previous books of nonfiction, including In the New World; Kenny Braun Saints and Sinners; Remembering Satan; and the National Book Award Finalist The Looming Tower, which was the recipient of many other honors­—among them, the Pulitzer Prize, the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, and The New York Public Library’s Helen Bernstein Book Award for Excellence in Journalism. He is also a screenwriter and a playwright. He and his wife are longtime residents of Austin, Texas.

The 2013 National Book Award for Nonfiction


The 2013 National Book Award for Fiction Judges: Charles Baxter | Gish Jen | Charles McGrath | Rick Simonson | RenĂŠ Steinke

The Finalists 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


Rachel Kushner The Flamethrowers Scribner/Simon & Schuster

The Flamethrowers, set in the incendiary 1970s, boldly juxtaposes the New York art scene, motorcycle racing in Nevada, and radical politics in Italy. Reno, Kushner’s main character, travels all of these worlds, and through her, Kushner explores the life of a young female artist and the darker connections between art, artifice, and politics. What’s most impressive is the novel’s voice: how it confidently inhabits history and in dazzling prose mixes the invented with the real. ~Judges’ Citation

About the Book

About the Author



he year is 1975 and Reno—so-called because of the place of her birth—has come to New York intent on turning her fascination with motorcycles and speed into art. Her arrival coincides with an explosion of activity in the art world— artists have colonized a deserted and industrial SoHo, are staging actions in the East Village, and are blurring the line between life and art. Reno meets a group of dreamers and raconteurs who submit her to a sentimental education of sorts. Ardent, vulnerable, and bold, she begins an affair with an artist named Sandro Valera, the semi-estranged scion of an Italian tire and motorcycle empire. When they visit Sandro’s family home in Italy, Reno falls in with members of the radical movement that overtook Italy in the seventies. Betrayal sends her reeling into a clandestine undertow. The Flamethrowers is an intensely engaging exploration of the mystique of the feminine, the fake, the terrorist. At its center is Kushner’s brilliantly realized protagonist, a young woman on the verge.

achel Kushner’s widely praised debut novel, Telex from Cuba, was a Finalist for the 2008 National Book Award and the Dayton Literary Peace Prize, winner of the California Book Award, and a New York Times bestseller and Notable Book. She is a 2013 Guggenheim fellow.

The 2013 National Book Award for Fiction

Lucy Raven


Jhumpa Lahiri The Lowland Alfred A. Knopf/Random House

Two Indian boys sneak over the wall of a club for the rich. It seems a mere prank; but the differences in how each of the boys reacts to that wall play out over generations and across continents. Accumulating weight with each page, The Lowland not only depicts with sharp-eyed care the habits of mind that add up to a culture, but traces with consummate patience the way the historical becomes the personal. ~Judges’ Citation

About the Book

About the Author



wo brothers bound by tragedy. A fiercely brilliant woman haunted by her past. A country torn by revolution. A love that lasts long past death. Born just fifteen months apart, Subhash and Udayan Mitra are inseparable brothers, one often mistaken for the other in their Calcutta neighborhood. They are also opposites, with gravely different futures ahead. It is the 1960s, and Udayan, charismatic and impulsive, finds himself drawn to the Naxalite movement, a rebellion waged to eradicate inequity and poverty. Subhash, the dutiful son, does not share his brother’s political passion; he leaves home to pursue a life of scientific research in a quiet, coastal corner of America. But when Subhash learns what happened to his brother in the lowland outside their family’s home, he goes back to India, hoping to pick up the pieces of a shattered family, and to heal the wounds Udayan left behind— including those seared in the heart of his brother’s wife. 48

humpa Lahiri is the author of three previous works of fiction: Interpreter of Maladies, The Namesake and, most recently, Unaccustomed Earth. A recipient of the Pulitzer Prize, a PEN/Hemingway Award, the Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award and a Guggenheim Marco Delogu fellowship, she was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 2012.

The 2013 National Book Award for Fiction

James McBride The Good Lord Bird Riverhead Books/Penguin Group USA

James McBride’s novel takes a pivotal, troubled sequence in American history—John Brown’s abolitionist campaign—and retells it in a voice as comic and original as any we have heard since Mark Twain. The narrator is one Henry Shackleford, aka Onion, an escaped teenaged slave who accompanies Brown while disguised as a girl. Fondly portraying Brown as a well-meaning but unhinged zealot, The Good Lord Bird is daringly irreverent, but also wise, funny, and affecting. ~Judges’ Citation

About the Book

About the Author



enry Shackleford is a young slave living in the Kansas Territory in 1857, when the region is a battleground between anti- and pro-slavery forces. When John Brown, the legendary abolitionist, arrives in the area, an argument between Brown and Henry’s master quickly turns violent. Henry is forced to leave town—with Brown, who believes he’s a girl. Over the months that follow, Henry—whom Brown nicknames Little Onion—conceals his true identity as he struggles to stay alive. Eventually Little Onion finds himself with Brown at the historic raid on Harpers Ferry in 1859—one of the great catalysts for the Civil War. An absorbing mixture of history and imagination, and told with McBride’s meticulous eye for detail and character, The Good Lord Bird is both a rousing adventure and a moving exploration of identity and survival.

ames McBride is an accomplished composer-musician and author of the American classic The Color of Water and the bestsellers Song Yet Sung and Miracle at St. Anna, which was turned into a film by Spike Lee. McBride has written for The Washington Post, People, The Boston © Chia Messina Globe, Essence, Rolling Stone, and The New York Times. A graduate of Oberlin College, he has a master’s in journalism from Columbia University. McBride holds several honorary doctorates and is a Distinguished Writer in Residence at New York University. He lives in Pennsylvania and New York.

The 2013 National Book Award for Fiction


Thomas Pynchon Bleeding Edge The Penguin Press/Penguin Group USA

Set in 2001, Bleeding Edge is ostensibly a detective story centered around Maxine Tarnow, a fraud investigator and Upper West Side mom hired to look into DeepArcher (say it aloud), a part of the Web that amounts to an alternate reality. The reader, meanwhile, is enmeshed in a novel with all the Pynchonian trademarks: riffs, conspiracies, crazy Dickensian names. Jokes aside, Bleeding Edge is a disturbing look at how the Internet erodes what makes us human. ~Judges’ Citation

About the Book


he year is 2001 in New York City, in the lull between the collapse of the dot-com boom and the terrible events of September 11th. Maxine Tarnow is running a nice little fraud investigation business on the Upper West Side. Her license got pulled a while back, which has turned out to be a blessing because she can follow her own code of ethics—carry a Beretta, do business with sleazebags, hack into people’s bank accounts—without too much guilt. Otherwise, just your average working mom—two boys in elementary school, an off-and-on situation with her sort of semi-ex-husband—until Maxine starts looking into the finances of a computer-security firm and its billionaire geek CEO. She soon finds herself mixed up with a drug runner in an art deco motorboat, a professional nose obsessed with Hitler’s aftershave, a neoliberal CIA enforcer with footwear issues, plus elements 50

of the Russian mafia and various bloggers, hackers, code monkeys, and entrepreneurs, some of whom begin to show up mysteriously dead.

About the Author


homas Pynchon is the author of V., The Crying of Lot 49, Gravity’s Rainbow, Slow Learner, a collection of short stories, Vineland, Mason & Dixon, Against the Day, and Inherent Vice. He received the National Book Award for Gravity’s Rainbow in 1974.

The 2013 National Book Award for Fiction

George Saunders Tenth of December Random House

The short stories in Tenth of December are unquestionably of our time. Saunders’ characters—struggling to pay the bills, keep up with the neighbors—sound just like the people we hear every day. He is alert not only to slang and jargon but also to the subtleties of our private speech and its edges of snobbery, condescension, class resentment. These stories are often funny, even satiric, but also display a compassion that is thrilling and poignant. ~Judges’ Citation

About the Book

About the Author



n the taut opener, “Victory Lap,” a boy witnesses the attempted abduction of the girl next door and is faced with a harrowing choice: Does he ignore what he sees, or override years of smothering advice from his parents and act? In “Home,” a combat-damaged soldier moves back in with his mother and struggles to reconcile the world he left with the one to which he has returned. And in the title story, a stunning meditation on imagination, memory, and loss, a middle-aged cancer patient walks into the woods to commit suicide, only to encounter a troubled young boy who, over the course of a fateful morning, gives the dying man a final chance to recall who he really is. The unforgettable characters that populate the pages of Tenth of December are vividly and lovingly infused with Saunders’ signature blend of exuberant prose, deep humanity, and stylistic innovation.

acArthur “Genius Grant” fellow George Saunders is the acclaimed author of several collections of short stories, including Pastoralia, CivilWarLand in Bad Decline, and In Persuasion Nation, as well as a collection of essays and a book for children. In 2013, Saunders won the Chloe Aftel PEN/Malamud Award for Excellence in the Short Story and was also named one of Time magazine’s 100 most influential people in the world.

The 2013 National Book Award for Fiction


The National Book Awards Selection Process Eligibility Judges consider only books written by American citizens and published in the United States between December 1 of the previous year and November 30 of the current year. Only publishers can nominate books for the National Book Award, although Panel Chairs can request books publishers have not nominated.

Selection of Finalists In mid-September, the Foundation announces a Longlist of ten books selected by the Judges in each category. In midOctober, the Foundation announces a list of five Finalists selected by the panel in each category from its Longlist. Each Finalist receives a prize of $1,000, a medal, and a citation from the jury.

In 2013, 233 publishers and imprints nominated 1,432 titles.

Selection of the National Book Award Winner The jury meets on the day of the National Book Awards Ceremony in November to select the Award Winner. Winners, who receive $10,000 and a bronze sculpture, are announced that evening.

Categories Fiction, Nonfiction, Poetry, and Young People’s Literature Judges Each category has a panel of five Judges who have expertise in that category. Judges are nominated by past National Book Award Winners, Finalists, and Judges and then selected and recruited by the Foundation’s Executive Director in consultation with the Board of Directors. Each Judge receives an honorarium of $2,500; Panel Chairs receive $3,000. The panel changes every year. Juries develop their own criteria for the National Book Award, and discussions are held independent of the Foundation. The National Book Foundation Board and staff take no part in these deliberations, except to help determine a submission’s eligibility.


Gifts and Pledges to the National Book Foundation 2012-2013 $100,000 and above Barnes & Noble The Ford Foundation Penguin Random House

$5,000 to $9,999 Markus Dohle Donald B. Marron Charitable Trust New York State Council on the Arts

$50,000 to $99,000 Central National-Gottesman Foundation David Drummond

$1,000 to $4,999 Stuart S. Applebaum Giving Foundation Asen Foundation Association of American Publishers Lea Carpenter Brokaw Jaime Carey Paula Cooper and Jack Macrae Courier Corporation Goldberg McDuffie Communications, Inc. Toni Goodale Geoffrey Hoguet Glenn Horowitz Susan Petersen Kennedy Peter Mayer Publishers McSweeney’s Publishing National Cable Satellite Lynn Nesbit Pannonia Foundation Pslamonds Family Foundation Trust Carolyn Reidy David Steinberger The Thing Itself Arthur H. Thornhill, Jr. Susan & Kenneth Wallach Foundation Shelley Wanger

$25,000 to $49,000 Theodore H. Barth Foundation Robert Bowne Foundation Google Hachette Group HarperCollinsPublishers Stephen King Steve Leveen/Levenger Foundation Macmillan Perseus Basic Books Deborah E. Wiley $10,000 to $24,999 American Wholesale Book Company Apple Hyatt Bass City of New York R.R. Donnelley FX Networks Grove/Atlantic Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Ingram Book Company Institute of International Education Janklow & Nesbit Kobo Les B. Levi New York Times Company W.W. Norton & Co. Other Press Scholastic, Inc. Simon & Schuster Alberto Vitale Wylie Agency

$500 to $999 Kathi Appelt Neil Baldwin Ellen Clarke de Saint Phalle Morgan Entrekin Etruscan Press GlaxoSmithKline Jaimy Gordon Gregory Maguire W. Drake McFeely Melissa and Nathaniel Philbrick Princeton University Press David Teicher Elpidio Villarreal

$250 to $499 Quang Bao Laurence Bergreen Anne Hearst Owls Roost Enterprise Katherine Paterson Shirley Lord Rosenthal Al Silverman Southern Illinois University Lily Tuck University of Chicago Press Kate Walbert $100 to $249 Abbeville Press Ann Arensberg Andrea Barrett Black Dog & Leventhal Judy Blundell Kay Cassell Lulu Delacre Allison Means Ira Silverberg Calvin Sims St. Francis College Gloria Whelan Charles Yu Under $100 John Ashbery John Y. Cole Lydia Davis Morris Dickstein Sheryl Eaton Ann M. Gold Yolanda Moses New York University Robert Phillips Cherry Provost Paul Scheele Lynne Sharon Schwartz Carl Tubbesing


Special thanks to… David Liess, Chief Executive Officer, Coral Graphics, for printing our Awards Ceremony invitations, printing and binding our Awards ceremony program booklet, and printing National Book Awards promotional materials, and thanks to Chris Castrogiovanni for his hard work in shepherding it all through. Tina Brown, Lucas Wittmann, and Jimmy So of The Daily Beast for partnering with us to announce the 2013 National Book Awards Longlists. Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski, hosts of msnbc’s “Morning Joe,” for partnering with us to announce the 2013 National Book Awards Finalists. Special thanks to Alex Korson and Jesse Rodriguez for their help. Junot Díaz, Louise Erdrich, Ben Fountain, Kevin Powers, and Jesmyn Ward, for their 2013 5 Under 35 selections. Carrie Brownstein for emceeing this year’s 5 Under 35, the Foundation’s celebration of emerging writers, on November 18.


Colson Whitehead for deejaying at this year’s 5 Under 35. Fiona Maazel for moderating the discussion at 5 Under 35. The staff at powerHouse Arena for hosting 5 Under 35. Doubleday, Harper, Jonathan Cape/Random House UK, Reagan Arthur Books, and W.W. Norton & Co. for donating books for 5 Under 35. Broadway Video/NBC Universal and Merge Records for donating giveaways for 5 Under 35. The Brooklyn Borough President’s Office for hosting the National Book Awards Teen Press Conference. Special thanks to Carolyn Greer and Hannah Holland. Sarah Harrison Smith, children’s book editor of The New York Times Book Review, for hosting this year’s Teen Press Conference. Justin Torres for emceeing the National Book Award Finalists Reading.

The faculty and staff of The New School Writing Program, especially Acting Director Luis Jaramillo and Lori Turner, for sponsoring the National Book Award Finalists Reading on the evening of November 19. National Book Foundation Board Member Steve Leveen of Levenger and Levenger Press editor Mim Harrison for gifts for this year’s National Book Award Finalists, Judges, presenters, and Medal recipients. Kobo Inc. for sponsoring the National Book Awards AfterParty and giving away Kobo devices to guests. Special thanks to Kurt Mungal and Jennifer Shannon. DJ Rabbi Darkside for deejaying the National Book Awards After-Party for the third year in a row.

Betty Clay and Sally Marvin for their assistance in making Dr. Angelou’s appearance possible. First Second, Alfred A. Knopf, Putnam/Penguin, and Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing for donating extra copies of their Finalists’ books to BookUp students. Kathy Trager, Esq. for pro bono legal counsel. Our cadre of volunteers who gave assistance during the weeks leading up to and including the Awards Ceremony and Dinner. And special thanks to Michael Stewart, for all his help with the Foundation’s work during the whole year.

Adrian Tomine for designing this year’s National Book Awards After-Party invitation. Our wonderful National Book Awards After-Party Committee: Ken Chen, Rachel Fershleiser, Jynne Martin, Paul Morris, and Steph Opitz.


In Memoriam Our National Book Awards Community Bertram Wyatt Brown Historian, NBA Finalist

Lawrence Goodwyn Historian, NBA Finalist

Ada Louise Huxtable Critic, NBA Finalist

Will D. Campbell Novelist, NBA Finalist

John Graves Memoirist, NBA Finalist

Stanley Karnow Historian, NBA Finalist

Matt Rainwater

Evan S. Connell, Jr. Novelist, NBA Finalist

Associated Press

Daniel Hoffman Poet, NBA Finalist

Larry L. King Memoirist, NBA Finalist

Oscar Hijuelos Novelist, NBA Finalist

E.L. Konigsburg Children’s author and illustrator, NBA Finalist

John Hollander Poet, NBA Finalist

Elmore Leonard Novelist, DCAL Medalist

Associated Press

Ellen Douglas Novelist, NBA Finalist Kay Holloway

Dario Acosta

Jack Gilbert Poet, NBA Finalist Julio Granda


Jerry Bauer

Dermot Cleary

Other Friends from the Book World Edmund S. Morgan Historian, NBA Finalist

Chinua Achebe Novelist Jerry Bauer

Albert Murray Critic, NBA Finalist

Jayne Cortez Poet

Frederick Pohl Novelist, NBA Winner

Matthew Shear Publisher

Joan Bingham

Robert Remini Historian, NBA Wiinner

Charles Rosen Critic, NBA Winner

Harvey Shapiro Poet, NBA Judge Rossa Cole Photography


The National Book Foundation’s Staff Meredith Andrews Director of Technology Harold Augenbraum Executive Director Alix Finkelstein Marketing Media Manager Amy Gall Program Assistant Rebecca Keith Program Manager Leslie Shipman Director of Programs Sherrie Y. Young Director of Marketing and Special Projects


Printing Courtesy of Coral Graphics

The 2013 National Book Awards Program Book  
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