Home » Book Stuff » 2013 National Book Award Longlists Announced

2013 National Book Award Longlists Announced


Good morning, dear readers. I know I’m a few days late with this post, but I figure, better late than never, right?

On Wednesday, September 18th, the National Book Foundation released the longlists for each of the four 2013 National Book Award categories—fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and young people’s literature— over two months before the winners are announced in November. This is the first time a longlist has been released prior to the announcement of the finalists, and the hope behind doing this is to make the National Book Award recipients receive the same sale boost that winners of the Man Booker Prize over in Britain receive. 

The National Book Award has always lagged behind the Man Booker Prize and the Pulitzer Prize here in the states in terms of book sales. Recipients rarely if ever see the same sorts of sales figure jumps that recipients of the Booker and Pulitzer do (which number in the hundreds of thousands of sold copies), in part because the finalists selected have tended to be on the more obscure side in recent years. Since the main point of these types of awards is to generate publicity for these books and get people to go out and actually buy them, the National Book Foundation and the New York publishing houses on its board have implemented a series of changes to try to increase publicity for these books prior to the winners’ announcement on November 20th, as well as to select books that the public might find appealing (madness!). Along with releasing the 10-title longlists a month before the five finalists are announced on October 16th, they have also expanded the judges panel to include journalists, booksellers, and librarians, both of which are things that the Man Booker Prize has been doing for a while now and may be part of the reason with the Booker generates such higher sales numbers.

Not to be outdone, the administrators of the Man Booker Prize announced yesterday that American books will be eligible for the prize for the first time ever, starting in 2014. Book award cat fight, anyone?

Here are the forty longlist finalists for the National Book Award, and be sure to watch out on October 16th for when they’re paired down to twenty. Also, big shout out and congratulations to my former professor at USC, M.G. Lord (The Accidental Feminist), who was one of the judges for the nonfiction category. Your summer was not spent in vain!



  • Pacific~Tom Dury
  • The End of the Point~Elizabeth Graver
  • The Flamethrowers~Rachel Kushner
  • The Lowland~Jhumpa Lahiri
  • A Constellation of Vital Phenomena~Anthony Marra
  • The Good Lord Bird~James McBride
  • Someone~Alice McDermott
  • Bleeding Edge~Thomas Pynchon
  • Tenth of December~George Saunders
  • Fools~Joan Silber

Judges: Charles Baxter, Gish Jen, Charles McGrath, Rick Simonson, Rene Steinke



  • Finding Florida: The True Story of the Sunshine State~T. D. Allman
  • Facing the Wave: A Journey in the Wake of the Tsunami~Gretel Ehrlich 
  • The Wolf and the Watchman: A Father, a Son, and the CIA~Scott C. Johnson
  • Book of Ages: The Life and Opinions of Jane Franklin~Jill Lepore
  • Hitler’s Furies: German Women in the Nazi Killing Fields~Wendy Lower
  • Freedom National: The Destruction of Slavery in the United States, 1861-1865~James Oakes
  • The Unwinding: An Inner History of the New America~George Packer
  • The Internal Enemy: Slavery and War in Virginia, 1772-1832~Alan Taylor
  • Duke: A Life of Duke Ellington~Terry Teachout
  • Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, & the Prison of Belief~Lawrence Wright

Judges: Jabari Asim, Andre Bernard, M. G. Lord, Lauren Redniss, Eric Sundquist



  • Metaphysical Dog~Frank Bidart
  • Bury My Clothes~Roger Bonair-Agard
  • Stay, Illusion~Lucie Brock-Broido
  • So Recently Rent a World, New and Selected Poems: 1968-2012~Andrei Codrescu
  • Seasonal Works with Letters on Fire~Brenda Hillman
  • The Big Smoke~Adrian Matejka
  • American Amnesiac~Diane Raptosh
  • Black Aperture~Matt Rasmussen
  • Transfer of Qualities~Martha Ronk
  • Incarnadine: Poems~Mary Szybist

Judges: Nikky Finney, Ada Limon, D. A. Powell, Jahan Ramazani, Craig Morgan Teicher


Young People’s Literature:

  • The True Blue Scouts of Sugar Man Swamp~Kathi Appelt
  • Flora and Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures~Kate DiCamillo
  • A Tangle of Knots~Lisa Graff
  • The Summer Prince~Alaya Dawn Johnson
  • The Thing About Luck~Cynthia Kadohata
  • Two Boys Kissing~David Levithan
  • Far, Far Away~Tom McNeal
  • Picture Me Gone~Meg Rosoff
  • The Real Boy~Anne Ursu
  • Boxers & Saints~Gene Luen Yang

Judges: Deb Caletti, Cecil Castellucci, Peter Glassman, E. Lockhart, Lisa Von Drasek


4 thoughts on “2013 National Book Award Longlists Announced

  1. Pingback: The Man Booker Prize 2013 Shortlist | The Bewildered 20-Something Writer

  2. Pingback: The National Book Award Finalists | The Bewildered 20-Something Writer

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