NEW YORK — Thomas Pynchon, Jhumpa Lahiri and George Saunders were among the finalists Wednesday for the National Book Awards.
A month after releasing long-lists of 10 in each of the four competitive categories, the National Book Foundation announced the five remaining writers for fiction, nonfiction, poetry and young people's literature.
Winners receive $10,000 and will be announced at a dinner ceremony in Manhattan on Nov. 20.
All five fiction nominees are well established, from Pynchon, whose Bleeding Edge is set in Manhattan around the time of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks; to Lahiri, whose The Lowland was a Booker finalist; to Saunders, whose Tenth of December was the rare short-story collection to make-best seller lists. The other finalists are Rachel Kushner, nominated for her highly praised The Flamethrowers, and James McBride, known to millions for The Color of Water and a finalist for The Good Lord Bird.
The nonfiction list features three books by New Yorker staff writers: Lawrence Wright's Scientology investigation Going Clear; George Packer's dire account of contemporary America, The Unwinding; and Jill Lepore's biography of Benjamin Franklin's sister, Jane Franklin, The Book of Ages. Also nominated for nonfiction are Wendy Lower's Hitler's Furies: German Women in the Nazi Killing Fields and Alan Taylor's The Internal Enemy: Slavery and War in Virginia, 1772-1832.