The nominees for the fiction prize caused a minor stir among critics, especially this guy, as the short list was seen as pandering to popular criticism. In prior years, the NBA has been relatively literary organization, giving lesser-known authors recognition:
"This year it issued new instructions to the judges, in red ink no less, apparently as a signal to the judges that it was O.K. to nominate writers whose books were widely read. Critics had complained that in recent years judges had preferred little-known authors, which diminished the award’s stature."The fiction list was "the best-known list of nominees for fiction in years," including Junot Diaz, Dave Eggers, Ben Fountain, Lousie Erdrich and Kevin Powers. The winner was The Round House by Louise Erdrich:
"The Round House – already named book of the year by Amazon.com earlier this week – took the $10,000 National Book award for fiction at a ceremony in New York last night. Her novel, set on a reservation for the Native American Ojibwe people in 1988, follows the investigations of 13-year-old Joe into an assault on his traumatised mother."Read about the rest of the winners, including the Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters for Elmore Leonard, here.