November 1-15, 2005 Edition

Judges Name Finalists

For 2005 National

Book Awards

Oxford, MS/10/13/05—The 20 Finalists for the 2005 National Book Awards, announced in mid-October, include a few of America’s most well known and pre-eminent authors and represent extraordinary writing from the last year.

Two previous National Book Award winners, E.L. Doctorow and John Ashbery, are among the Finalists. Several of this year’s Finalists have been nominees in the past, including Joan Didion, W.S. Merwin, Frank Bidart, Adele Griffin and Walter Dean Myers. Three authors are nominated for their first books.

In the nonfiction category, the five nominated books cover a range of topics, from slavery and the genius of Jean-Jacques Rousseau to ecology, overwhelming grief and the heroic efforts by civilians to save the lives of those trapped in the Twin Towers on 9/11.

The announcement was made by bestselling author John Grisham at Rowan Oak, the home of William Faulkner in Oxford, Mississippi. The winner in each of the four categories—Fiction, Nonfiction, Poetry, and Young People’s Literature—will be announced at the National Book Awards Benefit Dinner and Ceremony in Manhattan on November 16. The dinner will be hosted by Garrison Keillor. Each winner receives $10,000 plus a bronze statue; each Finalist receives a bronze medal and a $1,000 cash award.

The Finalists were selected by four distinguished 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 2005 National Book Award, a book must have been published in the United States between December 1, 2004 and November 30, 2005 and must have been written by a United States citizen. This year the Judges chose from a record 1,195 entries submitted by publishers.

“I commend our judges on their brilliant selections,” said Harold Augenbraum, executive director of the National Book Foundation. “Their selections reflect an astonishing range of subject matter, styles and voices. After months of intensive reading and discussion, our judges have truly arrived at the best books of the year.”

Also on the evening of November 16, the Board of Directors of the National Book Foundation will bestow its 2005 Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters upon Norman Mailer, and the first Literarian Award for Outstanding Service to the American Literary Community to Lawrence Ferlinghetti. Toni Morrison and Jessica Hagedorn, respectively, will present those awards.

Readings, discussions and special events will take place during “National Book Awards Week.” For details, visit the Foundation’s website,