The finalists for the National Book Awards were announced this morning on Morning Joe. Fiction nominees are Rachel Kushner, Jhumpa Lahiri, Thomas Pynchon, James McBride, and George Saunders. All but Kushner are published by Penguin Random House. In all, the combined company published 10 of the 20 nominees. The list contains a mix of former winners and nominees as well as authors earning their first nominations.
The nominees are:
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
Kushner was a 2008 NBA fiction finalist, Lahiri won the 2000 Pulitzer Prize, and Pynchon was a 1964 fiction finalist and won the award in 1974 for Gravity's Rainbow. Saunders is a MacArthur fellow.
• 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
Lepore is a Bancroft Prize recipient and Pulitzer Prize finalist, who served as a NBA nonfiction judge in 2011, and Wright was a 2006 finalist. Taylor won the 1996 Pulitzer Prize in History.
• Frank Bidart, Metaphysical Dog, Farrar, Straus and Giroux
• Lucie Brock-Broido, Stay, Illusion, Alfred A. Knopf
• Adrian Matejka, The Big Smoke, Penguin Poets/Penguin Group USA
• Matt Rasmussen, Black Aperture, Louisiana State University Press
• Mary Szybist, Incarnadine: Poems, Graywolf Press
Four of this year’s poetry finalists are on the list for the first time, the exception being Frank Bidart, who is a three-time National Book Award Finalist (1997, 2005, and 2008) and a three-time finalist for the Pulitzer Prize.
Young People's Literature
• 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)
The young people's literature list includes two prior NBA finalists: Kathi Appelt in 2008 and Gene Luen Yang in 2006, when Yang was the first graphic novelist to be selected as a NBA finalist.
The winners will be announced at the November 20 awards dinner.