National Book Award Finalists

This morning’s announcement of National Book Award finalists included academics in three categories, with a cluster of poets published by university presses. However academics have gone missing, oddly enough, in nonfiction. This was a departure from last year, for example, where three academics were among the five nominees in that category.

As for the other categories, finalists with academic affiliations are:


Junot Diaz, a professor of creative writing at MIT, for This Is How You Lose Her (Riverhead). Diaz must have had to restock his champagne. He was just awarded a MacArthur “genius grant” on October 1.


David Ferry, a professor emeritus of English at Wellesley College, who also teaches at Suffolk University. Ferry is nominated for Bewilderment: New Poems and Translations (University of Chicago Press).

Cynthia Huntington, a professor of English at Dartmouth College, for Heavenly Bodies (Southern Illinois University Press).

Tim Seibles for Fast Animal (Etruscan Press). Seibles is on the English and writing faculty of Old Dominion University and also teaches part-time for a writing program at the University of Southern Maine.

Alan Shapiro, a professor of English and creative writing at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, for Night of the Republic (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt).

Susan Wheeler, for Meme (University of Iowa Press). Wheeler is on the creative-writing faculties of Princeton University and The New School’s graduate program.


William Alexander, nominated for Goblin Secrets (Margaret K. McElderry) is an adjunct faculty member in the liberal arts at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design.

Carrie Arcos, who was nominated for Out of Reach (Simon Pulse), is described as an adjunct professor, one presumes somewhere in the vicinity of Los Angeles.

For a full list of all finalists, visit the NBA. Winners will be announced November 14.


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