A Look at the National Book Awards Longlists --With Poll Results

Robin A. Rothman on September 19, 2013

The National Book Foundation took a new approach to its award nominee announcements this year, releasing longlists for each of four categories: Fiction, Nonfiction, Poetry, and Young Adult Literature. The lists each consist of 10 nominees, which will be halved in the next few weeks. The winners will be announced at the National Book Awards ceremony in New York on Nov. 20.

But you don't have to wait that long to learn the winners of public opinion. We presented each longlist as a poll in which our readers could vote for their favorites. The results are in! The full longlists and those results follow. And a big thank you to everyone who participated!


Lowlands New York's big publishing houses have swept the fiction category this year, with each nominee representing a different imprint. Three of our Best of the Month picks made this perfectly gender-balanced list: Anthony Marra's debut novel, George Saunders' short story collection, and Jhumpa Lahari's sophomore novel.

From the get-go, our readers kept Lahiri and Saunders neck-and-neck, but ultimately it was Lowland that ended up on top with 28 percent of the vote.

Here's the complete list of nominees:



Two themes can be immediately gleaned from the Nonfiction contenders. First, all are first-time NBA nominees, except for Lawrence Wright (who was previously nominated in 2006 for The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11). Second, it's almost all about America, Gretel Ehrlich and Wendy Lower offering international exceptions.

Wright was our readers' favorite, taking 31 percent of the votes.

Here's the complete list of nominees:


Lowlands Again including many first-time nominees, the veterans here are, within poetry circles, familiar names. Frank Bidart -- a Pulitzer Prize finalist -- has received three NBA nods, and Andrei Codrescu should be known to NPR listeners.

It was Adrian Matejka's The Big Smoke, a collection of poems about heavyweight boxing champion Jack Johnson, that our readers are rooting for, garnering 26 percent of the votes.

Here's the complete list of nominees:

Young Adult


The list includes some great books for younger readers, representing a range of ages, genres, and themes. Four of our own Best of the Month picks (indicated by * below) made the cut. But for our readers, it seems, the clear winner is Two Boys Kissing by David Levithan, which earned an impressive 44 percent of the votes.

Here's the complete list of nominees:

Read our resident YA expert Seira Wilson's take on this longlist here.

Lists + Reviews

Best Books Literature + Fiction Nonfiction Kids + Young Adult Mystery, Thriller + Suspense Science Fiction + Fantasy Comics + Graphic Novels Romance Eating + Drinking


Interviews Guest Essays Celebrity Picks

News + Features

News Features Awards Podcast


Omnivoracious, The Amazon Book Review

Feeds Facebook Twitter YouTube