With the announcement this week of the Longlist for the 2014 National Book Awards, the previous year of outstanding achievements in American publishing, as adjudged by writers and peers in the realm of letters, has come into focus. The National Book Foundation, which presents the annual awards, has assembled panels overseeing the four categories of Fiction, Nonfiction, Poetry and Young People’s Literature, and after reading all of the submissions – which must be written by American authors and published by American publishers, and typically range in number from approximately 150 titles in Poetry to over 500 in Nonfiction – the respective panels have settled on 10 titles from which in mid-October they will cull the shortlist of five finalists in each discipline. Thereafter, there will be a public reading of the finalists’ work on November 18th, and the following day the four winners will be chosen by the respective panels over lunch prior to the announcement of their selections at the evening gala awards ceremony on November 19th.

The Longlist:


An Unnecessary Woman, Rabih Alameddine (Grove Press/Grove/Atlantic)

The UnAmericans, Molly Antopol (W.W. Norton & Company)

Wolf in White Van, John Darnielle (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)

All the Light We Cannot See, Anthony Doerr (Scribner/Simon & Schuster)

Redeployment, Phil Klay (The Penguin Press/Penguin Group (USA))

Station Eleven, Emily St. John Mandel (Alfred A. Knopf/Random House)

Thunderstruck & Other Stories, Elizabeth McCracken (The Dial Press/Random House)

Orfeo, Richard Powers (W.W. Norton & Company)

Lila, Marilynne Robinson (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)

Some Luck, Jane Smiley (Alfred A. Knopf/Random House)



Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant?, Roz Chast (Bloomsbury)

The Heathen School: A Story of Hope and Betrayal in the Age of the Early Republic, John Demos (Alfred A. Knopf/Random House)

No Good Men Among the Living: America, the Taliban, and the War Through Afghan Eyes, Anand Gopal (Metropolitan Books/Henry Holt and Company)

The Mantle of Command: FDR at War, 1941-1942, Nigel Hamilton (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)

The Innovators: How a Group of Inventors, Hackers, Geniuses, and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution, Walter Isaacson (Simon & Schuster)

Tennessee Williams: Mad Pilgrimage of the Flesh, John Lahr (W.W. Norton & Company)

Age of Ambition: Chasing Fortune, Truth, and Faith in the New China, Evan Osnos (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)

The When Paris Went Dark: The City of Light Under German Occupation, 1940-1944, Ronald C. Rosbottom (Little, Brown and Company/Hachette Book Group)

Nature’s God: The Heretical Origins of the American Republic, Matthew Stewart (W.W. Norton & Company)

The Meaning of Human Existence, Edward O. Wilson (Liveright Publishing Corporation/W.W. Norton & Company)


Roget’s Illusion, Linda Bierds (G.P. Putnam’s Sons/Penguin Group (USA))

A Several World, Brian Blanchfield (Nightboat Books)

Faithful and Virtuous Night, Louise Glück (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)

Gabriel: A Poem, Edward Hirsch (Alfred A. Knopf/Random House)

Second Childhood, Fanny Howe (Graywolf Press)

This Blue, Maureen N. McLane (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)

The Feel Trio, Fred Moten (Letter Machine Editions)

Citizen: An American Lyric, Claudia Rankine (Graywolf Press)

The Road to Emmaus, Spencer Reece (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)

Collected Poems, Mark Strand (Alfred A. Knopf/Random House)



The Impossible Knife of Memory, Laurie Halse Anderson (Viking/Penguin Group (USA))

Girls Like Us, Gail Giles (Candlweick Press)

Skink-No Surrender, Carl Hiaasen (Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers/Random House)

Greenglass House, Kate Milford (Houghton Court Mifflin)

Threatened, Eliot Schrefer (Scholastic Press)

The Port Chicago 50: Disaster, Mutiny, and the Fight for Civil Rights, Steve Sheinkin (Roaring Brook Press/Macmillan Publishers)

100 Sideways Miles, Andrew Smith (Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers/Simon & Schuster)

Noggin, John Corey Whaley (Atheneum Books for Young Readers/Simon & Schuster)

Revolution: The Sixties Trilogy, Book Two, Deborah Wiles (Scholastic Press)

Brown Girl Dreaming, Jacqueline Woodson (Nancy Paulsen Books/Penguin Group (USA)