Minnesota well-represented on National Book Awards long-lists


The bibliophiles at the National Book Foundation like to hold their cards close to the chest, playing one card a day to the anxious literary world. Though they have one more card to play (tomorrow, September 19) the first three days have brought some great news to members of the Minnesota community of the book. Under new rules for 2013 the National Book Award nominations are announced in what is henceforth to be known as a “long list” of nominations in each of four categories: Fiction, Nonfiction, Poetry and Young People’s Literature.

Kate DiCamillo (http://www.katedicamillo.com), beloved author of delightful books for children and young adults, is a Minnesota favorite. Her readers, their parents, librarians and booksellers are applauding her inclusion on the list of nominees in the Young People’s Literature category. The nomination is for her most recent book Flora and Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures (Candlewick Press)

It’s a superhero story about Ulysses, the who never saw the vacuum cleaner coming, cynic Flora Belle Buckman, who comes to the rescue, and what neither can imagine as Ulysses gains new power and Flora discovers her hidden persona. The B&W full-page illustrations are by K.G. Campbell.

DiCamillo was a National Book Award finalist in 2001 for The Tiger Rising. She is a frequent guest on public media and can often be spotted chatting with a gaggle of young readers at a Minnesota school, library, bookstore or playground.

Though focus of the National Book Awards is on the writers, the writers would go unread were it not for their publishers. The works of two Minnesota publishers, Coffee House and Graywolf, are represented on the Poetry long-list announced earlier this week.

Minnesota publisher Graywolf (https://www.graywolfpress.org/) is the proud publisher of Incarnadine, Mary Sybist’s most recent book of poetry. Sybist, a Philadelphia native, lives and works in Oregon. Founded by Scott Walker in 1984 Graywolf is considered one of the region’s and the nation’s leading nonprofit literary publishers “committed to the discovery and energetic publication of contemporary American and international literature.”

Coffee House Press (http://coffeehousepress.org) is publisher of Andrei Codrescu’s poetry work, So Recently Rent a World, New and selected poems: 1968-2012, also on the Poetry long-list. Codrescu is a Romanian-born American poet, novelist, essayist, screenwriter, and commentator for National Public Radio. He was Mac Curdy Distinguished Professor of English at Louisiana State University from 1984 until his retirement in 2009. Coffee House, founded by Allan Kornblum, began as a magazine and letterpress. Today Coffee House is one of the premier nonprofit literary publishers in the nation, known locally as the literary gem of the Northeast Minneapolis Arts community.

Tomorrow, September 19, the National Book Foundation announces the long-list in the Fiction category. Stay tuned. The “short list” of nominees is out October 15 and the winners will be announced on November 20.

The National Book Foundation will honor novelist E.L Doctorow and Dr. Maya Angelou with their 2013 Lifetime Achievement Awards. Doctorow will be honored in recognition of his outstanding achievement in fiction writing; Angelou is a globally recognized author and humanitarian.