National Book Award

[ nash-uh-nl book uh-wawrd, nash-nuhl ]


  1. any of several awards given annually to an author whose book is judged the best in its category: presented 1936–42, reestablished 1950, and since 1998 administered by the National Book Foundation, a nonprofit organization. : NBA, N.B.A.

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Example Sentences

This book-in-verse, a National Book Award finalist, is part road-trip love story, part history lesson and part land acknowledgment.

From Time

Limón also wrote “Bright Dead Things,” a finalist for the 2015 National Book Award.

Perhaps the gravity of that debate explains why March’s novel was nominated for the 1955 National Book Award.

Nominated for a National Book Award in 1970, her autobiography I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings continues to move readers around the world today.

But the National Book Award-nominated author was already regarded as a modern master.

Why not write about Thomas Williams, that other neglected National Book Award winner with the same last name?

The 2013 fiction judges:  Charles Baxter was a finalist for the National Book Award in fiction in 2000 for The Feast of Love.

René Steinke was a 2005 National Book Award finalist in fiction for her novel Holy Skirts.

Someone By Alice McDermott The first novel in seven years from the National Book Award winner.


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More About National Book Awards

What are the National Book Awards?

The National Book Awards are U.S.-based literary awards presented annually in several categories, including fiction, nonfiction, poetry, translated literature, and young people’s literature.

The awards are presented by the National Book Foundation. Judging panels for each category consist of writers in that category, including previous winners.

The name of the award is often abbreviated as NBA.

When are the National Book Awards?

The 2021 National Book Award winners will be announced on November 17.

Nominations for the National Book Award are usually announced at the beginning of October, and the awards are usually presented in November.

More information and context on National Book Awards

An award known as the National Book Award was first established in 1936 by the American Booksellers Association, which presented it until 1942. The award was reestablished in 1950 by multiple industry organizations. The awards continued to expand and add categories over the years and were renamed the American Book Awards. Eventually, the National Book Award name was reestablished and the categories were limited to fiction and nonfiction, with administration of the awards coming under the National Book Foundation.

The poetry category was reinstated in 1991. The youth literature category was created in 1996, and the translated literature category was established in 2018.

Notable early winners of the award include Saul Bellow, Truman Capote, Rachel Carson, Ralph Ellison, William Faulkner, Vladimir Nabokov, Flannery O’Connor, and J. D. Salinger.

What are some terms that often get used in discussing the National Book Awards?

How is National Book Awards discussed in real life?

The National Book Award is considered one of the most prestigious literature awards given in the U.S.


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True or False? 

The National Book Award is presented in multiple categories.

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