The National Book Foundation announced plans to return this year’s National Book Awards ceremony to an in-person event to be held at New York City's Cipriani Wall Street on November 17. The NBF also will shift the time and venue of several NBA-related events.
Last year's NBA ceremony was a virtual event and in making the announcement of its intention for a live presentation this fall, the organization said the ceremony will include virtual elements and will be broadcast.
NBA chair David Steinberger said the ceremony will include invited guests—although the number of guests is still to be determined—and the press. “We are going to rely on guidance from health authorities and at some point will make a decision on whether there will be limited attendance, and if so what that limit will need to be,” Steinberger told PW. Indeed, the NBF announcement emphasized that "should New York State protocol and health measures change, the Foundation is prepared to make whatever adjustments are necessary, including potentially shifting back to a virtual event." The NBF has already made one adjustment, announcing for this year only there will be no after party following the ceremony.
All NBA attendees will need to verify they have been vaccinated. The NBF, which oversees the NBA, said it will work closely with Cipriani Wall Street and CrowdPass, an event management and health-tech platform, to monitor and confirm attendees vaccination status using the CrowdPass app. Guests will also be able to present a paper vaccination certificate at the check-in. More health-related measures will be announced closer to the event.
The NBF emphasized that the NBA ceremony will be broadcast in full in order to “reach as many readers as possible around the globe.” Plans calls for the event to be broadcast via YouTube and Facebook and the NBF will once again work with Really Useful Media, the production team that produced the virtual 2020 NBA ceremony, to produce virtual segments for this year's ceremony.
The NBF also announced plans to shift the NBA finalists reading, an author reading usually held at the New School, to a virtual event to be held November 9. The Teen Press conference willbe held virtually November 10. The NBF’s Writers Under 35 ceremony will honor a combined two years of emerging fiction writers and will be moved permanently to the spring to be held as an in-person event in spring 2022.
Ruth Dickey, newly appointed executive director of the National Book Foundation, said "We are grateful for the opportunity to gather as a book community, while still ensuring safety for in-person attendees and accessibility for at-home viewers. Communication with sponsors, publishers, writers, judges, and all attendees will be a priority. We look forward to championing extraordinary writers and their work this fall. Books have always been a source of solace and joy, education and inspiration, and we cannot wait to celebrate with the book community and readers everywhere.”
Correction: This article initially misnamed Really Useful Media.