October 11, 2018
How many of this year’s National Book Awards finalists have you read?
by Michael Barron
I’m not going to lie, I rather like National Book Award season.
The slow unveiling of long and short lists—the latter revealed this morning by the NBA’s president Lisa Lucas on Buzzfeed’s morning show AM to DM, cohosted by Isaac Fitzgerald and Saeed Jones—the pageantry of the award ceremony, the shocks and awes of the winners and losers. But this year feels especially titillating with the addition of a hot new category (best translation) and a diverse set of finalists. Judging from the twitter hashtag #NBAwards, I’m not the only one getting excited, but full confession, I’ve only read one book on the short list. That’s right, one. Maybe it’s because I read more manuscripts than books these days? ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ but in either case, put my money on Olga Tokarczuk’s Flights for Best Translated Book (who also deservingly won the Man Booker International Prize this past year). It’s fan-fucking-tastic.
Michael Barron is an editor at Melville House.