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November 15, 2006

What’s New · National Book Awards 2006

On November 15, at a Benefit Dinner and Awards Ceremony hosted by Fran Lebowitz, it was announced that the winners of the 2006 National Book Awards are: The Echo Maker (Richard Powers), The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation, Vol. 1: The Pox Party (M.T. Anderson), The Worst Hard Time: The Untold Story of Those Who Survived the Great American Dust Bowl (Timothy Egan), and Splay Anthem (Nathaniel Mackey). Also, the 2006 Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters was given to the poet Adrienne Rich and the Literarian Award for outstanding service to the american literary community was presented to Robert Silvers and, posthumously, Barbara Epstein.

Every year, as soon as the National Book Foundation releases the list of nominees for the award, the literary world begins to buzz over the selections. Did the committee make the right choice? Place a hold on one of the nominated titles and you be the judge!

The Finalists


cover of The Echo Maker by Richard Powers

Young People’s Literature

cover of The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation, Vol. 1: The Pox Party by M.T. Anderson


cover of Splay Anthem by Nathaniel Mackey

About the Awards

The National Book Awards were established in 1950 by the American Book Publishers Council, the American Booksellers Association, and the Book Manufacturers Institute to “enhance the public’s awareness of exceptional books.” Nominees must be living U.S. citizens, and their books must have been scheduled for publication in the United States (eBooks are included) between December 1 of the previous year and November 30 of the current year. Nominations are made by publishers.

Each category has its own panel of five judges chosen by the National Book Foundation. These panels in turn select the finalists, who each receive $1,000 cash and a bronze medallion. They also participate in a well-publicized “Finalists’ Reading” on the eve of the Awards Ceremony. Winners get $10,000, a bronze sculpture, and the prestige of being a National Book Award winner.