The National Book Foundation announced the finalists for the 2009 National Book Awards last week. One debut fiction writer made the list, as well as three previous NBA finalists. Stitches was the second graphic novel nomination in the awards' history, and the decision by Norton to nominate it in the Young People's category has generated some controversy. Ten of the nominees received PW starred reviews (as indicated below). 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.


Bonnie Jo Campbell, American Salvage (Wayne State Univ.)

Colum McCann, Let the Great World Spin (Random)

* Daniyal Mueenuddin, In Other Rooms, Other Wonders (Norton)

* Jayne Anne Phillips, Lark and Termite (Knopf)

Marcel Theroux, Far North (FSG)


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)

Adrienne Mayor, The Poison King: The Life and Legend of Mithradates, Rome's Deadliest Enemy (Princeton Univ.)

T.J. Stiles, The First Tycoon: The Epic Life of Cornelius Vanderbilt (Knopf)


* Rae Armantrout, Versed (Wesleyan Univ.)

Ann Lauterbach, Or to Begin Again (Penguin)

Carl Phillips, Speak Low (FSG)

Lyrae Van Clief-Stefanon, Open Interval (Univ. of Pittsburgh)

* Keith Waldrop, Transcendental Studies: A Trilogy (Univ. of California)

Young People's Literature

* Deborah Heiligman, Charles and Emma: The Darwins' Leap of Faith (Holt)

* Phillip Hoose, Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice (FSG)

* David Small, Stitches (Norton)

* Laini Taylor, Lips Touch: Three Times (Scholastic/Arthur A. Levine Books)

* Rita Williams-Garcia, Jumped (HarperTeen)