2012 could easily be renamed The Year of Junot Díaz, but he’s not the only Discover alum shortlisted for a National Book Award this year (among the other terrifically talented writers nominated across all 4 categories).
Ben Fountain — winner of the 2006 Discover Award for fiction for the story collection, Brief Encounters with Che Guevara — makes the NBA’s shortlist with his soulful and sharp novel, Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk. “You Do It for the Sake of Doing It”, Ben’s conversation with fellow Discover alum Alan Heathcock, author of Volt , is here.
Katherine Boo‘s masterpiece, Behind the Beautiful Forevers. I love this excerpt from a Q&A Katherine did with B&N when the hardcover was published, in which she talks about two of the teenagers that she focused on: “…[I]f a reader comes away from this book thinking of them only as pathetic socioeconomic specimens I’ll have failed as a writer. They’re cool, interesting kids, and their partnership was an inspiring thing to be around. I want the reader to sense that, too. Because we can talk all we want about how corruption or indifference robs people of opportunity — of the immense talent our societies squander — but if we don’t really grasp the intelligences of those who are being denied, we’re not going to grasp the potential that’s being lost.”
In addition to the National Book Awards, The National Book Foundation also sponsors 5 Under 35, which included Discover alums Haley Tanner (Vaclav & Lena) and Justin Torres (We the Animals) among its honorees this year.
The National Book Awards will be announced in NYC on November 14th.
Congratulations to all.
Miwa Messer is the Director of the Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers program, which was established in 1990 to highlight works of exceptional literary quality that might otherwise be overlooked in a crowded book marketplace. Titles chosen for the program are handpicked by a select group of our booksellers four times a year. Click here for submission guidelines.