Alice Walker. John Updike. Susan Sontag. Jonathan Franzen. Joyce Carol Oates.
What do these authors have in common? For one, they're all National Book Award winners. They've also all appeared at the Miami Book Fair International.
The book fair, which celebrated its 30th anniversary last year, has ensured that tradition continues. Yesterday, MBFI announced a partnership with the National Book Award that will bring the 20 winners and finalists of the National Book Award to the 2014 edition of the giant lit-fest.
"This is a wonderful partnership I envision carrying forward for many years," said Mitchell Kaplan, chair of the Miami Book Fair Board of Directors, in a statement. "It's natural and makes sense on so many levels. The Fair has hosted many National Book Award Winners in its 30-year history, we hope to do so for another 30, and this partnership will just get stronger."
Established in 1936, the National Book Awards honor one winner and four finalists in four categories: fiction, non-fiction, poetry, and young people's literature. First, publishers nominate the works for consideration. In September, the National Book Awards releases a "longlist" of contenders, with 10 prospective winners in each category. That list is cut to five in each category in October, before the annual naming of the winners each November.
This year's winners will be announced at a ceremony in New York on November 19. Winners and finalists will travel to Miami the next day, just in time for the weekend portion of MBFI, the busiest days of the eight-day fair.
So who's coming this year? No "longlist" has yet been announced. But in the past, the awards have honored novelists William Faulkner, Saul Bellow, Ralph Ellison, and Flannery O'Connor; the nonfiction of Gore Vidal and Joan Didion; and poets William Carlos Williams, Elizabeth Bishop, Allen Ginsberg, and Adrienne Rich. The awards' list of finalists is equally impressive, including names like Truman Capote, Ernest Hemingway, Harper Lee, Kurt Vonnegut, and Toni Morrison.
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MBFI 2014 runs Nov. 16-23. Visit miamibookfair.com.
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