The 2014 National Book Award judges have been announced, and you can read the entire article here.
I just returned from a trip to Atlanta, where I saw Margaret Mitchell's National Book Award for Gone with the Wind. I really didn't realize how amazing these awards are, how much consideration goes into the choices, and the lasting effects on the winning titles.
Here are the judges for the Fiction category:
Geraldine Brooks won the 2006 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction for her novel, March. A former foreign correspondent, she has reported from more than fifteen countries and wrote two works of nonfiction before turning to novels, which include Year of Wonders, People of the Book, and Caleb’s Crossing. Born and raised in Sydney, she now lives on Martha’s Vineyard.
Sheryl Cotleur holds a B.A. from Case Western Reserve University and an M.F.A. from Kent State University. She has been a bookseller for the past 28 years and is currently the frontlist and backlist buyer for Copperfield’s, a chain of seven stores in northern California.
Michael Gorra’s Portrait of a Novel: Henry James and the Making of an American Masterpiece was a finalist for both the 2013 Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award in Biography. A long-time faculty member at Smith College, he reviews new fiction regularly in both the US and the UK; earlier books include, among others, The Bells in Their Silence: Travels Through Germany.
Adam Johnson is the author of Emporium, a story collection, and the novels Parasites Like Us and The Orphan Master's Son, winner of the 2013 Pulitzer Prize. He teaches creative writing at Stanford University and lives in San Francisco with his wife and their three children.
Lily Tuck is the author of five novels, Interviewing Matisse or The Woman Who Died Standing Up, The Woman Who Walked on Water, Siam: Or The Woman Who Shot A Man, a PEN/Faulkner Award finalist, The News from Paraguay, winner of the 2004 National Book Award, and I Married You For Happiness; two collections of stories, Limbo, and Other Places I Have Lived and The House at Belle Fontaine; a biography, Woman of Rome, A Life of Elsa Morante.
I love that the list includes booksellers, as well as authors. Booksellers are readers first and foremost, and it's hard to get much crap past a seasoned reader. While authors may be a little more forgiving, the reader will not.
I am not familiar with any of these judges except the first Geraldine Brooks. I have read several of her books, and have loved them all. She writes with a depth and flow that makes her books a pleasure to read and recommend to others. What better award is there than that?