page contents data-mobile="true" data-tablet-width="1100" data-tablet-small-width="840" data-mobile-width="640">
Log in

Barbershop Books Receives 2017 Innovations in Reading Prize

The National Book Foundation awards The 2017 Innovations in Reading Award to Barbershop Books

Congratulations to Harlem-based Barbershop Books!

The National Book Foundation awarded The 2017 Innovations in Reading Award to Barbershop Books, a community-based reading program that creates child-friendly reading spaces in barbershops.

Over the past 2 years, Barbershop Books has transformed 49 barbershops into community spaces that support positive early reading experiences for boys in 18 cities across 11 states.

Barbershop Books will receive a $10,000 prize and will be recognized at the second annual Why Reading Matters Conference on June 15.

Four organizations received honorable mention for the 2017 Innovations in Reading Prize are Books@Work (Shaker Heights, OH), the Great Reading Games (Princeton, NJ), Poetry in Motion (New York, NY), and Reach Out and Read (Boston, MA).

  • Published in Authors

The Why Reading Matters Conference 2017 Coming to NYC

The National Book Foundation’s Why Reading Matters Conference 2017 focuses on building a new audience for books

The National Book Foundation is hosting the Why Reading Matters Conference 2017 on Thursday, June 15, 2017, at the Frank Sinatra School of Arts in Long Island City, NY.

The theme this year is Why Reading Matters: Building a New Audience, and the conference will feature a full day of presentations focused on building a new audience for books.

Check, for more information


  • Published in Authors

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.

  • Published in Authors

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

  • Published in Authors

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.

Dr. Maya Angelou Receives A Literarian Award

The National Book Foundation honors Maya Angelou for outstanding contributions to the literary world

For nearly fifty years, Dr. Maya Angelou has moved us with her lyrical poetry and dynamic prose. Works like Phenomenal Woman and I KNOW WHY THE CAGED BIRD SINGS have become literary classics. Her poem On The Pulse of Morning, written for President Bill Clinton's 1993 inauguration, garnered her the first of three Grammys (even more impressive because she was the first African-American and woman to recite an inaugural poem). She's also received an NAACP Image Award and a Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Now Dr. Angelou can add another award to her long list of accolades. The National Book Foundation honored her with The Literarian Award for outstanding contributions to the literary world. Fellow legend, Nobel Laureate, and longtime friend, Toni Morrison presented her with the award at the National Book Awards ceremony last Wednesday. Ms. Morrison spoke warmly of her friendship with Dr. Angelou and praised her talent and kindness.

The phenomenal woman herself was all smiles when she took the stage to a standing ovation from the crowd. Dr. Angelou, who spoke without notes, said she was "pleased" to be honored. Check out the interview to hear why after dozens of other awards and more than thirty honorary degrees, the Literarian Award is so special to her.


  • Published in Authors

National Book Award Finalist Adrian Matejka Wants a Pardon for Jack Johnson

Poet Adrian Matejka found out that he was a National Book Award finalist when he was in the shower.

So how did Matejka feel when he learned the news?

Check out the video with poet Adrian Matejka

"I was stunned and humbled and really honored," said Matejka. "It's amazing. It's has very little to do with me, it's all about Jack Johnson. The book is about the boxer and it's his story and I am just sort of taking care of it."

In the video, Matejka makes a plea to President Barack Obama to pardon Jack Johnson.

What's next for Matejka?

"I'm working on a book about astronomy," responded Matejka.

However, every time Matejka sits down to write a book about astronomy, he winds up writing a book about HUD housing that he grew up in.

So perhaps the book may be a book about HUD housing.

  • Published in Authors
Subscribe to this RSS feed