arcana imperii :: the book of j


finalists for 2004 national book awards announced

the twenty finalists for the 2004 national book awards were announced today by garrison keillor at the f. scott fitzgerald theatre in st. paul, minnesota. the finalists are considered to be among america's most gifted and original writers representing an astonishing range of styles, voices, and themes. keillor will host the national book awards benefit dinner and ceremony in manhattan 17 november.

among the finalists are a first novelist, two distinguished historians, five prolific and established poets, two previous finalists - including the poet donald justice, who died earlier this year - and the 9/11 commission. all five fiction finalists are women who live in new york city.

the finalists in the young people's literature category tackle such sensitive subjects as sexual identity, racism, and atheism, while the nonfiction finalists offer new insights into shakespeare's life and work, washington crossing the delaware, re-entry into the outside world for prisoners, civil rights in the jazz age, and the events and lessons learned from 9/11.

the finalists were selected by four distinguished, independent panels of judges who were given the charge of selecting what they deem to be the best books of the year. their decisions are made independent of and without interference by the national book foundation and their deliberations are strictly confidential. to be eligible for a 2004 national book award, a book must have been published in the united states between 01 december 2003 and 30 november 2004 and must have been written by a united states citizen. this year the judges chose from a record 1,074 entries submitted by 226 publishers and imprints. [i guess no eligible books are scheduled to be published between today and 30 november, or am i missing something?] each winner receives us$10,000 plus a bronze statue; each finalist receives a bronze medal and a us$1,000 cash award.

the board of directors of the national book foundation will bestow its 2004 medal for distinguished contribution to american letters upon judy blume at the benefit and award ceremony, who will deliver an address to an audience of more than 1,000 authors, editors, publishers, friends, and supporters of books and book publishing. proceeds from the evening benefit the national book foundation and the many educational outreach programmes it runs throughout the year.

the finalistst are:

young people's literature:
deb caletti, honey, baby, sweetheart (simon & schuster books for young readers)
pete hautman, godless (simon & schuster books for young readers)
laban carrick hill, harlem stomp!: a cultural history of the harlem renaissance (megan tingley books/little, brown & company)
shelia p. moses, the legend of buddy bush (margaret k. mcelderry books/simon & schuster children's publishing division)
julie anne peters, luna: a novel (megan tingley books/little, brown & company)

kevin boyle, arc of justice: a saga of race, civil rights, and murder in the jazz age (henry holt & company, llc)
david hackett fischer, washington's crossing (oxford university press)
jennifer gonnerman, life on the outside: the prison odyssey of elaine bartlett (farrar, straus & giroux)
stephen greenblatt, will in the world: how shakespeare became shakespeare (w.w. norton & company)
the 9/11 commission, the 9/11 commission report: final report of the national commission on terrorist attacks upon the united states - authorised edition (w.w. norton & company)

william heyen, shoah train (etruscan press)
donald justice, collected poems (alfred a knopf)
carl phillips, the rest of love (farrar, straus & giroux)
cole swensen, goest (alice james books)
jean valentine, door in the mountain: new and collected poems, 1965-2003 (wesleyan university press)

sarah shun-lien bynum, madeleine is sleeping (harcourt, inc)
christine schutt, florida (triquarterly books/northwestern university press)
joan silber, ideas of heaven: a ring of stories (w.w. norton & company)
lily tuck, the news from paraguay (harpercollinspublishers)
kate walbert, our kind: a novel in stories (scribner)