The finalists for the 2010 National Book Awards were announced Wednesday by Pat Conroy from the childhood home of Flannery O’Connor. The nominees for Fiction are:
Peter Carey, Parrot and Olivier in America
Jaimy Gordon, Lord of Misrule
Nicole Krauss, Great House
Lionel Shriver, So Much for That
Karen Tei Yamashita, I Hotel
Carey is an institution. Shriver and Krauss have strong reputations from previous novels. Yamashita and Gordon are relative unknowns, but this prize has often gone to less familiar names in the past.
The nonfiction nominees are even more esoteric. Barbara Demick’s Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea and rock goddess Patti Smith’s Just Kids have had their fair share of great press, as has Megan K. Stack’s book about the war on terror, Every Man in this Village is a Liar: An Education in War. Historian John W. Dower who won the NBA previously, is nominated again for Cultures of War: Pearl Harbor, Hiroshima, 9/11, Iraq. Perhaps the biggest surprise in this group is Secret Historian: The Life and Times of Samuel Steward, a work about the life and work, much of it sexual in nature, of a little known figure of the 20th century.
The full list of nominees, including the books nominated for Poetry and Young People’s Literature, can be found here.