Monday, May 24, 2010

Booklist: The National Book Award for Fiction



Created in 1950, the National Book Award is one of the most sought after prizes in the book publishing world. It is the award given to a writer, by fellow writers. What could honor an author most, than recognition from his peers?

At its inception, the National Book Award event was sponsored by a conglomerate of publishing associations. The goal of the award was to honor and give recognition to the year’s best published books in Fiction, Non-Fiction and Poetry. The National Book Award ceremony remains one of the most anticipated events in the industry. In 1996, the National Book Award added Young People’s Literature to the categories it recognizes.

Each book that wins the Award bears the gold National Book Award medallion on its cover. The winning author also receives a cash prize of $10,000.00 and a trophy. Finalists also bear a silver version of the medallion on its covers. The presence of the medallions on the covers is designed to improve the books’ visibility on the seller’s shelves.

The Award is administered by the National Book Foundation. In keeping true to its spirit of being the Award given to a writer, by writers, the winner of each category is chosen by a panel of five judges. Each judge on the panel for the category, is a writer in that category, and is nominated to the panel by past National Book Award winners, finalists and earlier judges.

As of this post, the selections for the 2010 Award have not been announced.

I am choosing books from this Award list because books with medallions always catch my eye as I walk around my local Barnes & Noble or Borders. I always wonder what the medals mean. They have to mean something, right? But in all honesty, I have never purchased a book that bore the seal. Now, I have reason to.

The following books have received the National Book Award for Fiction for the years 1972 to 2009:

1972 The Complete Stories of Flannery O'Connor, Flannery O'Connor
1973 Augustus, John Edward Williams
1973 Chimera, John Barth
1974 A Crown of Feathers and Other Stories, Isaac Bashevis Singer
1974 Gravity's Rainbow, Thomas Pynchon
1975 Dog Soldiers, Robert Stone
1975 The Hair of Harold Roux, Thomas Williams
1976 J R, William Gaddis
1977 The Spectator Bird, Wallace Stegner
1978 Blood Tie, Mary Lee Settle
1979 Going After Cacciato, Tim O'Brien
1980 Sophie's Choice,William Styron
1980 The World According to Garp, John Irving
1981 Plains Song, Wright Morris
1981 The Stories of John Cheever, John Cheever
1982 Rabbit is Rich, John Updike
1982 So Long, See You Tomorrow, William Maxwell
1983 Collected Stories of Eudora Welty, Eudora Welty
1983 The Color Purple,Alice Walker
1984 Victory Over Japan: A Book of Stories, Ellen Gilchrist
1985 White Noise, Don DeLillo
1986 World's Fair, E.L. Doctorow
1987 Paco's Story, Larry Heinemann
1988 Paris Trout, Pete Dexter
1989 Spartina, John Casey
1990 Middle Passage, Charles Johnson
1991 Mating, Norman Rush
1992 All the Pretty Horses, Cormac McCarthy
1993 The Shipping News, E. Annie Proulx
1994 A Frolic of His Own, William Gaddis
1995 Sabbath's Theater, Philip Roth
1996 Ship Fever and Other Stories, Andrea Barrett
1997 Cold Mountain, Charles Frazier
1998 Charming Billy, Alice McDermott
1999 Waiting, Ha Jin
2000 In America, Susan Sontag
2001 The Corrections, Jonathan Franzen
2002 Three Junes, Julia Glass
2003 The Great Fire, Shirley Hazzard
2004 The News from Paraguay, Lily Tuck
2005 Europe Central, William Vollmann
2006 The Echo Maker, Richard Powers
2007 Tree of Smoke, Denis Johnson
2008 Shadow Country, Peter Matthiessen
2009 Let the Great World Spin, Colum McCann
2010 Not Yet Announced

To reach my goal, I will be choosing twelve books from this list.

Image taken from:www.nationalbook.org
Source: “About Us – History of the National Book Foundation.”
National Book Foundation
, 2007. May 24, 2010. http://www.nationalbook.org/aboutus_history.html
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