A consortium of book publishing groups sponsored the first annual National Book Awards Ceremony and Dinner at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York City back on March 15, 1950. Their goal was to enhance the public's awareness of exceptional books written by fellow Americans, and to increase the popularity of reading in general.
Since then, The National Book Awards have become one of the nation's preeminent literary prizes, and The National Book Awards Ceremony and Dinner is the important event on the literary calendar. Today, the Awards are given to recognize achievements in four genres: Fiction, Nonfiction, Poetry, and Young People's Literature. The Winners, selected by five-member, independent judging panels for each genre, receive a $10,000 cash award and a crystal sculpture.
This year's National Book Awards ceremony and dinner was held on Wednesday, November 19th at the New York Marriott Marquis in Times Square. Winners were announced at the cerememony.
2003 FICTION WINNER:
- The Great Fire by Shirley Hazzard -WINNER
2003 FICTION FINALISTS:
- Drop City by T.C. Boyle
- The Known World by Edward P. Jones
- A Ship Made of Paper by Scott Spenser
- Evidence of Things Unseen by Marianne Wiggins
2003 NONFICTION WINNER:
- Waiting for Snow in Havana: Confessions of a Cuban Boy by Carlos Eire -WINNER
2003 NONFICTION FINALISTS:
- Gulag: A History by Anne Applebaum
- The Big House: A Century in the Life of the American Summer Home by George Howe Colt
- Lost Prophet: The Life and Times of Bayard Rustin by John D'Emilio
- The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed America by Erik Larson.
For more information, visit The National Book Foundation Web site.
The National Book Foundation will confer its Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters this year on novelist Stephen King, one of the nation's most popular, imaginative, and well-loved authors.
Mr. King has published more than 200 short stories (including the O. Henry Award-winning "The Man in the Black Suit") and 40 books during a career spanning three decades. He has earned the reputation among readers and booklovers as a genre-defying stylist, vivid storyteller, and master of suspense.
Mr. Kin is the fifteenth recipient of the National Book Foundation Medal, established in 1988. Previous recipients are Jason Epstein, Daniel Boorstin, Saul Bellow, Eudora Welty, James Laughlin, Clifton Fadiman, Gwendolyn Brooks, David McCullough, Toni Morrison, Studs Terkel, John Updike, Ray Bradbury, Arthur Miller and Philip Roth.
The 2002 Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters is bestowed by the Board of Directors with funds it has received from an anonymous donor.
As its name implies, the recipient of the Medal is a person who, in the opinion of the Board of Directors of the National Book Foundation, has enriched our literary heritage over a life of service, or body of work.