National Book Award


National Book Award

The National Book Awards are a set of American literary awards.[1][2] Started in 1950,[dubious ] the Awards are presented annually to American authors for literature published in the current year. In 1989 the National Book Foundation, a nonprofit organization which now oversees and manages the National Book Awards,[3] was established. The mission of the National Book Foundation is "to celebrate the best of American literature, to expand its audience, and to enhance the cultural value of good writing in America."[3] The awards ceremony is held each November in New York City.

Contents

Background

National Book Awards are given in each of four categories: fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and young people's literature. Awards have been given in various other categories since 1950, but they have since been retired or subsumed into the remaining categories. The National Book Foundation also presents two lifetime achievement awards each year: the "Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters" and the "Literarian Award."[3]

Only publishers can submit books for the National Book Award. Each category is overseen by an independent and expert five-member judging panel. Panels typically consider hundreds of books per category each year. A total of twenty Finalists (five per category) are announced in October. A chair from each panel announces the Winner during the "National Book Awards Ceremony and Dinner" held in November. Winners each receive a $10,000 cash prize and a bronze sculpture; Finalists each receive $1,000, a medal, and a citation from the panel jury.[4]

The Foundation has expanded its celebration of American literature by creating National Book Awards Week. Beginning with 5 Under 35, which spotlights emerging fiction writers as selected and introduced by National Book Award Winners and Finalists. The event calendar continues with the National Book Awards Teen Press Conference, the private National Book Awards Medal Ceremony, and the National Book Award Finalists Reading, and culminates in the Awards Ceremony, focusing attention on the best writing in America.

In 1980 the award was canceled and in its place was created The American Book Awards.[5] Publishers, who paid upwards of $100,000 a year for the award, had grown frustrated with the awards emphasis on a few elite titles and wanted more popular titles to be included.[5] The new award would mimic the Academy Awards, "It will be run almost exactly the way the Academy Awards are run," a spokesman told reporters."[5] There would be nearly 30 prizes presented in an extravagant TV-friendly ceremony, judged by a standing "academy" of over 2,000 professionals.[5] The implementation was poorly done and each year the ceremony scaled back until 1986 was the last year.[5] In 1987 the National Book Award returned.

Winners of the National Book Awards

Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters

The "Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters" (DCAL) is a lifetime achievement award. The medal comes with a cash prize of $10,000. The recipient is a person who "has enriched American literary heritage over a life of service, or a corpus of work."[6]

Literarian Award

The "Literarian Award for Outstanding Service to the American Literary Community" is a lifetime achievement award. It is "presented to an individual for outstanding service to the American literary community, whose life and work exemplify the goals of the National Book Foundation to expand the audience for literature and to enhance the cultural value of literature in America."[7]

Criticism

The award has received occasional criticism over the years. Laura Miller, writing in Salon (Oct 12, 2011),[8] said the Fiction award has became a Newbery Medal for adults: Good for you whether you like it or not. She said "the impression has arisen that already-successful titles are automatically sidelined in favor of books that the judges feel deserve an extra boost of attention.. the nominated books [often] exhibit qualities — a poetic prose style, elliptical or fragmented storytelling — that either don’t matter much to nonprofessional readers, or even put them off." She clams the NBA has become irrelevant to average readers and of more interest to professional writers.[8] Craig Fehrman said "..the National Book Awards [are] known for this sort of thing. They're awards for insiders."[5]

See also

Notes

External links


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Look at other dictionaries:

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  • National Book Award — any of several awards given annually, 1949 79, to an author whose book was judged the best in its category: administered by the Association of American Publishers. Abbr.: NBA, N.B.A. Cf. American Book Award. * * * …   Universalium

  • National Book Award — any of several awards given annually, 1949 79, to an author whose book was judged the best in its category: administered by the Association of American Publishers. Abbr.: NBA, N.B.A. Cf. American Book Award …   Useful english dictionary

  • National Book Award for Fiction — The National Book Award for Fiction has been given since 1950, as part of the National Book Awards, which are given annually by the National Book Foundation. Of all the awards given, the Fiction award is the only one that has been given… …   Wikipedia

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  • National Book Award for Nonfiction — The National Book Award for Nonfiction is part of the National Book Awards, which are given annually by the National Book Foundation. The National Book Foundation has announces the finalists each year in mid October. On the day of the final… …   Wikipedia

  • National Book Award for Young People's Literature — The National Book Award for Young People s Literature is part of the National Book Awards, which are given annually by the National Book Foundation. The National Book Foundation has announces the finalists each year in mid October. On the day of… …   Wikipedia

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