The nominations for the 2001 National Book Awards were announced last week, revealing a mix of familiar and new names. Random House picked up four nominations, while FSG and Simon & Schuster landed two each. Nominees also came from several smaller presses—Princeton University Press, Sierra Club Books and independent children's presses Candlewick and Front Street, with the latter getting two nominations. And this year's award for distinguished contribution to American letters will be presented to playwright Arthur Miller.
The most recognizable authors on the shortlist were Jonathan Franzen, Louise Erdrich and Jennifer Egan. Perhaps the most notable omission was David McCullough, whose critical and commercial success John Adams (S&S) did not make the cut. And in the biggest surprise, the Sierra Club garnered a nod for its My Story, As Told by Water, an environmental memoir by David James Duncan that came out under the press's joint publishing agreement with Crown.
The winners will be announced at an event held at New York City's Marriot Marquis hotel in Manhattan on November 14. It promises, in the words of organizers, to be a more "toned-down" ceremony, with returning host Steve Martin taking a more straightforward approach this year.
The complete list of nominees are:
Young People's Literature: Kate DiCamillo, The Tiger Rising (Candlewick Press); Phillip Hoose, We Were There, Too! Young People in U.S. History (Farrar, Straus & Giroux/Melanie Kroupa); An Na, A Step from Heaven (Front Street); Marilyn Nelson, Carver: A Life in Poems (Front Street); Virginia Euwer Wolff, True Believer: A Novel in the Make Lemonade Trilogy (Atheneum Books for Young Readers).
Fiction: Dan Chaon, Among the Missing (Ballantine Books); Jennifer Egan, Look at Me (Doubleday/Nan A. Talese); Louise Erdrich, The Last Report on the Miracles at Little No Horse (HarperCollins); Jonathan Franzen, The Corrections (Farrar, Straus & Giroux); and Susan Straight, Highwire Moon (Houghton Mifflin).
Nonfiction: Marie Arana, American Chica: Two Worlds, One Childhood (Dial Press); Nina Bernstein, The Lost Children of Wilder: The Epic Struggle to Change Foster Care (Pantheon); David James Duncan, My Story As Told by Water (Sierra Club Books); Jan T. Gross, Neighbors: The Destruction of the Jewish Community in Jedwabne, Poland (Princeton Univ. Press); Andrew Solomon, The Noonday Demon: An Atlas of Depression (Scribner)
Poetry: Agha Shahid Ali, Rooms Are Never Finished (W.W. Norton); Wanda Coleman, Mercurochrome (Black Sparrow Press); Alan Dugan, Poems Seven: New and Complete Poetry (Seven Stories Press); Cornelius Eady, Brutal Imagination Putnam/Marian Wood); Gail Mazur, They Can't Take That Away from Me (Univ. of Chicago Press).