This is a major week for prestigious English-language publishing prizes, as the Man Booker Prize was awarded in London to the youngest winner ever last night, while the National Book Awards finalists were announced on American television this morning.
The winner of the biggest book prize of all, the Nobel Prize for Literature, went last week to acclaimed short-story writer Alice Munro of Canada.
Man Booker Prize
In London, Canadian-born New Zealander Eleanor Catton, 28 years old, captured Britain’s most prestigious fiction award, the Man Booker Prize, for her novel The Luminaries, an epic tale of the 19th century gold rush in New Zealand.
Catton beat titles by several well-known literary figures including Harvest by Jim Crace, The Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri, and The Testament of Mary by Colm Tóibín, along with We Need New Names by NoViolet Bulawayo and A Tale for The Time Being by Ruth Ozeki.
This is the last year eligible writers will be limited to those from Britain, Ireland or a Commonwealth country. Next year’s Man Booker prize also will be open to English-language books from the United States and elsewhere.
National Book Awards finalists in fiction and nonfiction
Lahiri gets another chance as The Lowland was one of five works of fiction announced on “Morning Joe” as contenders for the National Book Award, one of the most coveted prizes in the United States. The shortlist for fiction also includes Bleeding Edge by Thomas Pynchon, Tenth of December by George Saunders, The Flamethrowers by Rachel Kushner and The Good Lord Bird by James McBride.
The National Book Award finalists for best nonfiction book include three New Yorker magazine contributors: Book of Ages: The Life and Opinions of Jane Franklin by Jill Lepore, The Unwinding: An Inner History of the New America by George Packer and Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, & the Prison of Belief by Lawrence Wright. Also on the nonfiction shortlist: Hitler’s Furies: German Women in the Nazi Killing Fields by Wendy Lower, and The Internal Enemy: Slavery and War in Virginia, 1772-1832 by Alan Taylor.
Below are the National Book Award finalists in its two other categories:
Metaphysical Dog by Frank Bidart
Stay, Illusion by Lucie Brock-Broido
The Big Smoke by Adrian Matejka
Black Aperture by Matt Rasmussen
Incarnadine by Mary Szybist
Young people’s literature
The True Blue Scouts of Sugar Man Swamp by Kathi Appelt
The Thing About Luck by Cynthia Kadohata
Far Far Away by Tom McNeal
Picture Me Gone by Meg Rosoff
Boxers & Saints by Gene Luen Yang
The National Book Awards are open to books by U.S. citizens published in the United States The winners will be announced in New York Nov. 20.