Many ways to tell Jewish stories

Many Jewish stories are told in many different ways in this year's 2013 National Book Awards.

Book Awards (left to right): George Packer, Cynthia Kadohata, Mary Szybist and James McBride.
Photo by: Katie Freeman
The 2013 National Book Awards, given to the books thought the best published in the United States that year in four categories, show that there are a variety of people telling Jewish stories and ways to tell them. The awards ceremony was held November 20 at the Cipriani Wall Street restaurant in front of a crowd of 700, mainly from the publishing industry. The award format changed slightly this year, in an attempt to bring more attention to the awards, by having a long list of 10 titles in each category announced on the website of the Daily Beast in September and the shortlist of five finalists announced on the Morning Joe television program on October.

In conjunction with the announcement of the finalists this year, was the innovation of a free ebook series The Contenders, which featured excerpts from the books chosen as finalists in each category. The only Jewish winner this year was James McBride in Fiction for his historical novel The Good Lord Bird. Fiction writer E.L. Doctorow, known for his novels Ragtime, World’s Fair and The Book of Daniel, as well as a forthcoming novel Andrew’s Brain (January 2014), received a Lifetime Achievement award for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters.

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