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Larry Wilmore Will Host the National Book Awards

Former host of Comedy Central's The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore Gets a New Gig

Larry Wilmore, an Emmy Award-winner, writer, and former host of Comedy Central's, The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore, will host this year's National Book Awards Ceremony and Benefit Dinner, on November 16th.

Hopefully, Mr. Wilmore can push the comedic envelope without the use of the N-word.

Author James Patterson Discusses Initiative to Help Independent Book Stores

VIDEO Conversation: James Patterson on plight of independent bookstores and the lack of diversity in publishing 

In this video, world-renowned author James Patterson speaks to What's The 411 Book Editor Luvon Roberson about the plight of independent bookstores and the lack of diversity in the publishing industry.

The interview took place on the red carpet at the 2015 National Book Awards at Cipriani Wall Street in New York City.

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Ta-Nehisi Coates Wins National book Award for Non-Fiction

VIDEO: Award-winning author Ta-Nehisi Coates on the red carpet prior to winning a National Book Award for Non-Fiction

In this video recorded on November 18, 2015, award-winning writer Ta-Nehisi Coates chats with What's The 411 Book Editor Luvon Roberson on the red carpet at the 2015 National Book Awards.

The 2015 National Book Awards was held at Cipriani Wall Street in New York City.

NOTE: After this interview, Ta-Nehisi Coates won a National Book Award in the Non-Fiction Category for his book, Between The World and Me. The NationalBook Awards is presented by the National Book Foundation.

The NationalBook Awards is presented by the National Book Foundation.

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The 2015 National Book Awards Finalists Announced; Most Ethnically Diverse Class of Finalists Ever

Angela Flournoy, Ta-Nehisi Coates, Tracy K. Smith, Robin Coste Lewis, Terrance Hayes, Ross Gay, and Ada Limon are among the 2015 National Book Awards Finalists

After months of reading through hundreds of books, the National Book Foundation released this morning its book reviewers' short list of 20 authors who comprise the finalists for the upcoming National Book Awards.

This is the most ethnically diverse class of authors to reach the National Book Awards Finals in its 65-year history.

The 2015 National Book Award finalists are:


Karen E. Bender, Refund
Angela Flournoy, The Turner House
Lauren Groff, Fates and Furies
Adam Johnson, Fortune Smiles
Hanya Yanagihara, A Little Life


Ta-Nehisi Coates, Between the World and Me
Sally Mann, Hold Still
Sy Montgomery, The Soul of an Octopus
Carla Power, If the Oceans Were Ink: An Unlikely Friendship and a Journey to the Heart of the Quran
Tracy K. Smith, Ordinary Light


Ross Gay, Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude
Terrance Hayes, How to Be Drawn
Robin Coste Lewis, Voyage of the Sable Venus
Ada Limón, Bright Dead Things
Patrick Phillips, Elegy for a Broken Machine

Young People's Literature

Ali Benjamin, The Thing About Jellyfish
Laura Ruby, Bone Gap
Steve Sheinkin, Most Dangerous: Daniel Ellsberg and the Secret History of the Vietnam War
Neal Shusterman, Challenger Deep
Noelle Stevenson, Nimona

The book community is talking about this class of National Book Awards finalists. Excitement is in the air. One poster on Twitter likened today's National Book Awards finalists announcement to "Christmas."

Diversity doesn't happen in a vacuum. The National Book Foundation in opening its doors to include more diverse judges makes us all the richer for it.

The National Book Awards ceremony will be held in New York City on November 18. Winners in each category will receive a bronze sculpture and $10,000.

Congratulations to all of the 2015 National Book Awards Finalists.


Photo Credits:

Angela Flournoy

Ta-Nehisi Coates
Nina Subin/Random House

Tracy K. Smith

Ross Gay
Zach Hetrick

Terrance Hayes

Robin Coste Lewis

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Sherrie Young: Standing at the Crossroads of Literacy and Literature

Sherrie Young promotes books, authors, the National Book Awards, and BookUp, the National Book Foundation's national literacy program

National Book Foundation Director of Marketing and Special Projects, Sherrie Young, joins What's The 411 Book Editor Luvon Roberson in a conversation about books, literacy, the National Book Foundation's National Book Awards and its literacy program, BookUp, geared towards middle school children.

BookUp serves over 300 students annually and is designed to create a new generation of readers and a new generation of confident and engaged citizens. Since its inception in 2007, BookUp through its network of independent bookstores has provided its students with over 25,000 books free of charge.

As the discussion moved to the upcoming National Book Awards scheduled for November 18, 2015, Luvon brought up the names of well-known authors that are among the 40 authors on the NBA long list. The authors included: Hanya Yanagihara, Ta-Nehisi Coates, and Ilyasah Shabazz.

Claudia Rankine: 2014 National Book Award Finalist Uses Poetry to Combat Racism

Born in Kingston, Jamaica, Claudia Rankine is a poet, playwright, university professor, and a 2014 National Book Award Finalist for Poetry for her book, CITIZEN: AN AMERICAN LYRIC.

As What's The 411TV's book editor, I spoke with Claudia Rankine at the 65th Annual National Book Awards on November 19, 2014, at Cipriani Wall Street. CITIZEN: AN AMERICAN LYRIC, Ms. Rankine's nominated book, uses the power of poetry, prose, and images to shed light on the insidious behavior of micro-aggression.

Watch video interview with National Book Award Finalist for Poetry, Claudia Rankine

Claudia Rankine is the Henry G. Lee Professor of English at Pomona College and the author of four collections of poetry, including Don't Let Me Be Lonely: An American Lyric, PLOT, The End of the Alphabet, and Nothing in Nature is Private, which received the Cleveland State Poetry Prize. She is a winner of the Jackson Poetry Prize and a recipient of fellowships from the Academy of American Poetry, the National Endowments for the Arts, and the Lannan Foundation. In 2006, she served as a Judge for the National Book Award for Poetry.

To hear Claudia Rankine in her own words and to read an excerpt of CITIZEN: AN AMERICAN LYRIC, click here.

For more information about Claudia Rankine, visit:

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Poet Fred Moten: 2014 National Book Award Finalist for THE FEEL TRIO

Poet and University of California at Riverside professor, Fred Moten, is a 2014 National Book Awards Finalist for Poetry for his book, THE FEEL TRIO.

As What's The 411TV's book editor, I had an opportunity to talk with Fred Moten at the 65th Annual National Book Awards on November 19, 2014, at Cipriani Wall Street.  THE FEEL TRIO is Cecil Taylor, Tony Oxley and William Parker and the book brings movement and music forward through poetry. Even James Brown comes to life within the pages of THE FEEL TRIO.

WATCH VIDEO: National Book Awards Finalist Fred Moten

Fred Moten is a professor of English at the University of California—Riverside and the author of In the Break: The Aesthetics of the Black Radical Tradition, Hughson's Tavern, B. Jenkins, and co-author, with Stefano Harney, of The Undercommons: Fugitive Planning and Black Study. In 2009, Moten was recognized as one of ten "New American Poets" by the Poetry Society of America. He is also co-founder and co-publisher (with Joseph Donahue) of a small literary press called Three Count Pour. 

Hear Fred Moten in his own words and read more information about the THE FEEL TRIO, here.


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Three Times Is A Charm for Award-winning Author, Jacqueline Woodson

Award-winning Author, Jacqueline Woodson Wins Prestigious Book Award

As What's The 411TV's book editor, I had the pleasure of interviewing award-winning author, Jacqueline Woodson, at the 65th Annual National Book Awards on November 19, 2014, at Cipriani Wall Street. At the time of the interview, Jacqueline Woodson was a three-time National Book Awards Finalist in the Young Adult Category. I predicted three times would be a charm and the judges agreed, three times was a charm. Jacqueline Woodson won the National Book Award for Young Adult Literature for her memoir, BROWN GIRL DREAMING.

Read an excerpt of BROWN GIRL DREAMING.

VIDEO: National Book Award Winner, Jacqueline Woodson

In addition to winning a National Book Award for her book, BROWN GIRL DREAMING, Jacqueline Woodson is the winner of the Margaret A. Edwards Award for lifetime achievement in writing for young adults, the recipient of three Newbery Honor Medals for After Tupac & D Foster, Feathers, and Show Way, and a two-time Finalist for the National Book Award for Locomotion and Hush. Other awards include the Coretta Scott King Award and Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Miracle's Boys. Her most recent books are her novel Beneath a Meth Moon and her picture books Each Kindness and This Is the Rope. She lives with her family in Brooklyn, New York. For more, visit:

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