The National Book Foundation has announced the finalists for the 2009 National Book Awards. One debut fiction writer made the list, as well as three previous NBA finalists and the second graphic novel in the Awards’ history. Farrar, Straus & Giroux landed three nominations and Holt two giving Macmillan five nominees. Random House has three finalists, one from Little Random and two from Knopf; Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, and Norton each nabbed two.
The list of fiction nominees includes an international array of authors: Daniyal Mueenuddin (In Other Rooms, Other Wonders, Norton), who lives in the U.S. and Pakistan; Irish-born Colum McCann (Let the Great World Spin, Random); and Marcel Theroux (Far North, FSG), who was born in Uganda and lives in London (and is the son of 1981 and ’83 NBA finalist Paul Theroux). The list of nonfiction nominees includes biographies of Cornelius Vanderbilt and Mithradates and two books on the natural environment. And in a refreshing change from the recent dominance of fiction in the young people’s literature category, that list includes two nonfiction books—Deborah Heiligman’s Charles and Emma: The Darwins’ Leap of Faith (Holt) and Phillip Hoose’s Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice (FSG)—and David Small’s graphic novel memoir Stitches (Norton).
The winners will be announced at the National Book Foundation’s 60th anniversary celebration on November 18 at Cipriani Wall Street in New York City, hosted by Andy Borowitz. Gore Vidal and Dave Eggers will receive lifetime achievement awards, and the Foundation will also announce the winner of its Best of the National Book Awards Fiction Poll. The complete list of nominees follows.
Bonnie Jo Campbell, American Salvage (Wayne State University Press)
Colum McCann, Let the Great World Spin (Random House)
Daniyal Mueenuddin, In Other Rooms, Other Wonders (W.W. Norton & Co.)
Jayne Anne Phillips, Lark and Termite (Alfred A. Knopf)
Marcel Theroux, Far North (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)
David M. Carroll, Following the Water: A Hydromancer's Notebook (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
Sean B. Carroll, Remarkable Creatures: Epic Adventures in the Search for the Origins of Species (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
Greg Grandin, Fordlandia: The Rise and Fall of Henry Ford's Forgotten Jungle City (Metropolitan Books/Henry Holt)
Adrienne Mayor, The Poison King: The Life and Legend of Mithradates, Rome's Deadliest Enemy (Princeton University Press)
T. J. Stiles, The First Tycoon: The Epic Life of Cornelius Vanderbilt (Alfred A. Knopf)
Rae Armantrout, Versed (Wesleyan University Press)
Ann Lauterbach, Or to Begin Again (Viking Penguin)
Carl Phillips, Speak Low (Farrar, Straus & Giroux)
Lyrae Van Clief-Stefanon, Open Interval (University of Pittsburgh Press)
Keith Waldrop, Transcendental Studies: A Trilogy (University of California Press)
Young People’s Literature
Deborah Heiligman, Charles and Emma: The Darwins’ Leap of Faith (Henry Holt)
Phillip Hoose, Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)
David Small, Stitches (W.W. Norton & Co.)
Laini Taylor, Lips Touch: Three Times (Arthur A. Levine Books/Scholastic)
Rita Williams-Garcia, Jumped (HarperTeen/HarperCollins)