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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.

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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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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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.

Woodson, Moten, and Rankine Shine at 2014 National Book Awards

What's The 411TV on the Red Carpet at the 65th Annual National Book Awards


Do you think you'll ever stop writing? When I stop breathing. –Jacqueline Woodson, Winner, 2014 National Book Award, YA Literature []

The Red Carpet. Books. Awards. Prestige. These elements come together every year at the National Book Awards ceremony, the nation's most distinguished literary prizes -- with winners nabbing $10,000 and catapulting into a 250-watt brighter writing career. Here's where you will find all the beautiful people in the book industry gathered in one magnificent setting to mix and mingle, broker publishing deals, and honor the most acclaimed writers.

The stakes are high and anxiety-filled. It's a buildup of suspense as the finalists are announced about a month before the Awards event. They each win $1,000 and a medal. Then, it's edge-of-your-seat guessing who the winners are, because even the judges don't know until they meet for lunch on the afternoon of the National Book Awards ceremony!

But, now the suspense is over. We know that Jacqueline Woodson won this year's National Book Award in young people's literature, for Brown Girl Dreaming (Nancy Paulsen Books/Penguin). She is the author of 30 books, a two-time National Book Awards finalist, and winner of three Newberry Honor Medals. The other winners are Phil Klay (Fiction); Evan Osnos (Non-Fiction); and Louise Glück (Poetry).

Begun in 1950, the 65th National Book Awards ceremony is not only being called one of the most high-energy, glitzy events in its history, but also will long be remembered for generating some high-visibility buzz.

Overwhelmingly, the buzz surrounds a comment about Ms. Woodson made by Daniel Handler, this year's National Book Awards host. If you'd like more on that, read Ms. Woodson's response in The New York Times, where she has her say, in her own words. What's The 411TV's spotlight is focused on the books and their creators whom I spoke with on the red carpet at this year's National Book Awards.

Spotlight on 3 Writers and Their Winning Books: Jacqueline Woodson. Claudia Rankine. Fred Moten

I want to shine the light where it belongs – on three African-American writers who illuminate our world through their writing...Jacqueline Woodson and the two finalists in poetry, Claudia Rankine (Citizen: An American Lyric) and Fred Moten (The Feel Trio). I also talked with award-winning author Coe Booth, a judge for the 2009 National Book Awards in young people's literature, who offered insight on how winning books are chosen. One final tidbit: A New York City theme links these shining stars of writing: Woodson currently lives in Brooklyn and Booth in The Bronx, and Rankine grew up in the Big Apple.

Watch What's The 411TV's videos to get in on the star-studded evening where winning writers shimmered and glowed at the National Book Awards ceremony!

VIDEO: Scenes and interviews from the 2014 National Book Awards

-Read Excerpts from Their Books-

Surrounded by the glamour and excitement, What's The 411TV went live, up close and personal with these outstanding writers, on the red carpet. If you want to learn more about them, off the red carpet, here's what these writing luminaries have to say in their written words...

Jacqueline Woodson. Winner, 2014 National Book Awards, Young People's Literature: Brown Girl Dreaming. Read an excerpt of Brown Girl Dreaming.

Claudia Rankine. Finalist, 2014 National Book Award, Poetry: Citizen: An American Lyric. Read an excerpt of Citizen: An American Lyric

Fred Moten. Finalist, 2014 National Book Award, Poetry: The Feel Trio. Read an excerpt of The Feel Trio.

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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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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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