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OPB to Announce 2011 National Book Awards Finalists

OPB | Sept. 29, 2011 1:35 a.m. | Updated: Dec. 5, 2013 11:15 a.m.

New York, NY (September 14, 2011) – The 20 finalists for the 62nd National Book Awards will be announced on Oregon Public Broadcasting’s morning radio program, Think Out Loud, in front of a live audience at the new Literary Arts Center in Portland, Oregon from 9:06 to 9:59 a.m. PST on Wednesday, October 12, 2011. The announcement will be streamed live at www.opb.org/nationalbookawards, where additional information is now available. Past National Book Award winners and finalists will make the announcement by category and will discuss each of the newly honored books with David Miller, host of Think Out Loud. In addition, Harold Augenbraum, executive director of the National Book Foundation, will discuss the awards, and two former judges will discuss their own National Book Award experiences.

2001 National Book Award Winner Virginia Euwer Wolff will announce the five Young People’s Literature finalists; 2009 National Book Award finalist Vern Rutsala will announce the Poetry finalists; 2010 National Book Award judge Sallie Tisdale will announce the finalists in the Nonfiction category; and 1990 National Book Award winner and former judge Charles Johnson will announce the Fiction finalists. Tisdale and Johnson will also discuss their experiences as National Book Awards judges. (See broadcast schedule and bios of announcers at the end of this release.)

This is the first time that the National Book Foundation, which presents the National Book Awards, has announced its finalists with a literary presenting organization, the first time on public radio, and the first time in the Pacific Northwest. “We are very pleased to partner with Literary Arts and OPB,” said Foundation Executive Director Harold Augenbraum. “Their cultural work is exemplary and well-known throughout the United States.” The Foundation has previously made the announcement in such literary venues as William Faulkner’s house in Oxford, Mississippi; City Lights Book Shop in San Francisco; and last year at Flannery O’Connor’s Childhood Home in Savannah, Georgia. The Awards themselves will be conferred on Wednesday, November 16, 2011 at a gala benefit in New York City. The winner in each category – Fiction, Nonfiction, Poetry and Young People’s Literature – will receive $10,000; finalists will receive $1,000 each.

David Miller, host of OPB’s daily talk show, Think Out Loud, will emcee the broadcast at the new Literary Arts Center. “This is an exciting first for us,” said Miller. “The Pacific Northwest has a rich literary history and this is a unique opportunity to shine a national spotlight on this corner of the country and our commitment to the literary arts.”

Literary Arts has moved into a new storefront location center designed and built to house both its administrative office and an event space. This is the first time in the organization’s 28-year history that it has had its own home, and the location in the heart of downtown Portland will provide direct access for the hundreds of readers, writers, and students who participate in their programs. “It is a huge honor to host the National Book Foundation in our new center,” said Andrew Proctor, the executive director of Literary Arts. “There is no other organization that has done more to elevate this nation’s great books and bring readers to them.”

Schedule of Broadcast with Bios of Announcers

Think Out Loud will broadcast from 9:06 a.m. Pacific Standard Time (PST) to 9:59 a.m., PST. Host David Miller will interview the guests about the National Book Awards and their experiences as winners, finalists, judges, and organizers. Also, during the hour this year’s finalists will be announced. Those announcements will happen at the following times:

9:15 a.m. PST: Young People’s Literature Finalists Announced by Virginia Euwer Wolff

Virginia Euwer Wolff is the author of six novels for young people, including Make Lemonade, winner of the Oregon Book Award for Young Readers, and True Believer, which won the National Book Award in 2001 and was a Printz Award Honor Book. Her most recent book, This Full House (2010), completes her Make Lemonade trilogy.

9:30 a.m. PST: Poetry Finalists Announced by Vern Rutsala

Vern Rutsala is the author of 12 collections of poetry, including Laments, The Journey Begins, Little-Known Sports, and The Moment’s Equation, which was a finalist for the National Book Award in 2005. He has been the recipient of two NEA grants, a Guggenheim Fellowship, the Juniper Prize, the Oregon Book Award, and the Pushcart Prize, among other honors.

9:37 a.m. PST: Nonfiction Finalists Announced by Sallie Tisdale

Sallie Tisdale was a National Book Award Nonfiction Judge in 2010. She is the author of The Sorcerer’s Apprentice: Tales of the Modern Hospital (1986), Harvest Moon: Portrait of a Nursing Home (1987), Talk Dirty to Me: An Intimate History of Sex (1994), and The Best Thing I Ever Tasted: The Secret of Food (2000). Tisdale is an editor at Harper’s as well as a columnist for the online magazine Salon, and her work frequently appears in Condé Nast Traveler, The New York Times Magazine, and The Antioch Review. Her most recent book, Women of the Way: Discovering 2,500 Years of Buddhist Wisdom, was published in 2007.

9:52 a.m. PST: Fiction Finalists Announced by Charles Johnson

Charles Johnson won the National Book Award in Fiction for Middle Passage in 1990 and was a Fiction Judge in 1999 and 2009. Johnson has authored four novels, including Soulcatcher (2001), and has written over 20 screenplays, numerous reviews, and book introductions. His many awards and honors include a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship (1979), the Writers Guild Award (1985), the Prix Jeunesse Award (1985), a Guggenheim Fellowship (1990), a MacArthur Fellowship (1998), and the Lifetime Achievement in the Arts Award (2000).

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The 2011 National Book Awards Finalists Announcement Partners

The National Book Awards (www.nationalbook.org)

The National Book Awards, the nation’s most prestigious literary prize, has a stellar record of identifying and rewarding quality writing. In 1950, William Carlos Williams was the first Winner in Poetry, the following year William Faulkner was honored in Fiction, and so on through the years. Many previous Winners of a National Book Award are now firmly established in the canon of American literature, such as Sherman Alexie, Timothy Egan, Jonathan Franzen, Charles Johnson, Barry Lopez, Maxine Hong Kingston, Nathaniel Mackey, Joyce Carol Oates, Adrienne Rich, William T. Vollmann, Alice Walker, and Virginia Euwer Wolff. Currently, Awards are bestowed in Fiction, Nonfiction, Poetry, and Young People’s Literature.

About the National Book Foundation:

The National Book Foundation’s mission is to celebrate the best of American literature, to expand its audience, and to enhance the cultural value of good writing in America. In addition to the National Book Awards, for which it is best known, the Foundation’s programs include 5 Under 35, a celebration of young fiction writers selected by former National Book Award Finalists and Winners; the National Book Awards Teen Press Conference, an opportunity for New York City students to interview the current National Book Award Finalists in Young People’s Literature; the Innovations in Reading Prize, awarded to individuals and institutions that have developed innovative means of creating and sustaining a lifelong love of reading; and BookUp, an after-school reading club for middle-school students, led by writers, which takes place in New York and Texas.

Literary Arts (www.literary-arts.org)

The mission of Literary Arts is to support writers, engage readers, and inspire the next generation with great literature. Its programs include Portland Arts & Lectures, one of the country‘s largest lecture series; the Oregon Book Awards & Fellowships, which celebrates Oregon’s writers and independent publishers; Writers in the Schools, which hires professional writers to teach semester-long creative writing workshops in Portland’s public high schools; and Delve: Reader’s Seminars, which offers guided discussions around great works of literature. Together the programs of Literary Arts reach tens of thousands of Oregonians each year.

Oregon Public Broadcasting (www.opb.org)

Oregon Public Broadcasting (OPB) is the largest cultural and education institution in the region, delivering excellence in public broadcasting to 1.5 million people each week through television, radio, and the Internet. Widely recognized as a national leader in the public broadcasting arena, OPB is a major contributor to the program schedule that serves the entire country. OPB is one of the most-used and most-supported public broadcasting services in the country and is generously supported by 120,000 contributors.

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