The National Book Awards are a set of American literary awards.[1][2] Started in 1950, the Awards are presented annually to American authors for literature published in the current year. In 1989 the National Book Foundation, a nonprofit organization which now oversees and manages the National Book Awards,[3] was established. The mission of the National Book Foundation is "to celebrate the best of American literature, to expand its audience, and to enhance the cultural value of good writing in America."[3] The awards ceremony is held each November in New York City.


National Book Awards are given in each of four categories: fiction, nonfiction, poetry , and young people's literature . Awards have been given in various other categories since 1950, but they have since been retired or subsumed into the remaining categories. The National Book Foundation also presents two lifetime achievement awards each year: the "Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters" and the "Literarian Award."[3]

Only publishers can submit books for the National Book Award. Each category is overseen by an independent and expert five-member judging panel. Panels typically consider hundreds of books per category each year. A total of twenty Finalists (five per category) are announced in October. A chair from each panel announces the Winner during the "National Book Awards Ceremony and Dinner" held in November. Winners each receive a $10,000 cash prize and a bronze sculpture; Finalists each receive $1,000, a medal, and a citation from the panel jury.[4]

The Foundation has expanded its celebration of American literature by creating National Book Awards Week. Beginning with 5 Under 35, which spotlights emerging fiction writers as selected and introduced by National Book Award Winners and Finalists. The event calendar continues with the National Book Awards Teen Press Conference, the private National Book Awards Medal Ceremony, and the National Book Award Finalists Reading, and culminates in the Awards Ceremony, focusing attention on the best writing in America.

Winners of the National Book AwardsEdit

Main article: List of winners of the National Book Award

Poetry Edit

1950 William Carlos WilliamsPaterson: Book III and Selected Poems
1951Wallace StevensThe Auroras of Autumn
1952Marianne MooreCollected Poems
1953Archibald MacLeishCollected Poems, 1917-1952
1954Conrad AikenCollected Poems
1955Wallace StevensThe Collected Poems of Wallace Stevens
1956W.H. AudenThe Shield of Achilles
1957Richard WilburThings of This World
1958Robert Penn WarrenPromises: Poems, 1954-1956
1959Theodore RoethkeWords for the Wind
1960Robert LowellLife Studies
1961Randall JarrellThe Woman at the Washington Zoo
1962Alan DuganPoems
1963William StaffordTraveling Through the Dark
1964John Crowe RansomSelected Poems
1965Theodore RoethkeThe Far Field
1966James DickeyBuckdancer's Choice
1967James MerrillNights and Days
1968Robert BlyThe Light Around the Body
1969John BerrymanHis Toy, His Dream, His Rest
1970Elizabeth BishopThe Complete Poems
1971Mona Van DuynTo See, To Take
1972Frank O'HaraThe Collected Works of Frank O'Hara
1972Howard MossSelected Poems
1973A. R. AmmonsCollected Poems, 1951-1971
1974Allen GinsbergThe Fall of America: Poems of these States, 1965-1971
1974Adrienne RichDiving into the Wreck: Poems 1971-1972
1975Marilyn HackerPresentation Piece
1976John AshberySelf-portrait in a Convex Mirror
1977Richard EberhartCollected Poems, 1930-1976
1978Howard NemerovThe Collected Poems of Howard Nemerov
1979James MerrillMirabell: Book of Numbers
1980Philip LevineAshes: Poems New and Old
1981Lisel MuellerThe Need to Hold Still
1982William BronkLife Supports: New and Collected Poems
1983Galway KinnellSelected Poems
1983Charles WrightCountry Music: Selected Early Poems
no award
1991Philip LevineWhat Work Is
1992Mary OliverNew and Selected Poems
1993A. R. AmmonsGarbage
1994James TateA Worshipful Company of Fletchers
1995Stanley KunitzPassing Through: The Later Poems
1996Hayden CarruthScrambled Eggs and Whiskey
1997William MeredithEffort at Speech: New and Selected Poems
1998Gerald SternThis Time: New and Selected Poems
1999AiVice: New and Selected Poems
2000Lucille CliftonBlessing the Boats: New and Selected Poems 1988-2000
2001Alan DuganPoems Seven: New and Complete Poetry
2002Ruth StoneIn the Next Galaxy
2003C. K. WilliamsThe Singing
2004Jean ValentineDoor in the Mountain: New and Collected Poems, 1965-2003
2005W. S. MerwinMigration: New and Selected Poems
2006Nathaniel MackeySplay Anthem
2007Robert HassTime and Materials: Poems, 1997-2005
2008Mark DotyFire to Fire: New and Collected Poems
2009Keith WaldropTranscendental Studies: A Trilogy
2010Terrance HayesLighthead
2011Nikky FinneyHead Off & Split

Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American LettersEdit

The "Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters" (DCAL) is a lifetime achievement award. The medal comes with a cash prize of $10,000. The recipient is a person who "has enriched American literary heritage over a life of service, or a corpus of work."[5]

Literarian AwardEdit

The "Literarian Award" is a lifetime achievement award. It is "presented to an individual for outstanding service to the American literary community, whose life and work exemplify the goals of the National Book Foundation to expand the audience for literature and to enhance the cultural value of literature in America."[6]

See alsoEdit


External linksEdit

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