(October 14, 2004) -
Five Yaddo writers are finalists for the 2004 National Book Awards, The National Book Foundation announced Tuesday.
Poets William Heyen, Jean Valentine and the late Donald Justice and fiction writers Joan Silber and Kate Walbert are among the 20 finalists for the prestigious awards. Mr. Heyen was nominated for Shoah Train, a collection of “unblinking” poems inspired by the Holocaust. More than 70 new poems accompany selections from eight previous books in Door in the Mountain, Ms. Valentine’s nominated compilation. Mr. Justice, who died earlier this year at age 78, is nominated for Collected Poems, a selection of work from his last seven books alongside 10 new poems. Ms. Silber’s nominated book is Ideas of Heaven: A Ring of Stories, a group of tales set in the past and present in France, Italy, New York, and China that are linked by a minor element in one that becomes major in the succeeding story. Ms. Walbert’s fiction entry is Our Kind: A Novel in Stories, the collective tale of a group of women who came of age in the 1950s and must face life after their husbands and children have left home.
Finalists were selected by four independent panels of judges who were asked to select what they deem to be the best books written by an American and published in the United States between December 1, 2003, and November 30, 2004. This year, the judges chose from a record 1,074 entries submitted by 226 publishers and imprints. For the first time in the awards’ 55-year history, all five of the fiction finalists are women.
The winners in each of the four categories – young people’s literature, nonfiction, poetry, and fiction – will be announced at a November 17 benefit dinner and ceremony in New York City that will be hosted by Garrison Keillor. Each winner receives $10,000 plus a bronze statue; each finalist receives a bronze medal and a $1,000 cash award.
Four Yaddo writers served on the 2004 National Book Awards judging panels. Rick Moody chaired the fiction panel, which also included Linda Hogan; and Michael Waters chaired the poetry panel, which included fellow Yaddo poet Lynn Emanuel.