Think Out Loud, a program on my local public radio station OPB just announced, live, the 2011 National Book Award finalists.
This was exciting for me, as a publishing student, to see Portland chosen as the site for this, considering the NBA is very much steeped in that tradition of New York City publishing.
After attending Wordstock this past weekend, a zine reading at a local library last night, and looking at our Mayor's declaration that October 12th is National Books Awards Day, I am just overwhelmed at the book-lovingness of this city. It's like I am living in a perfect alternate reality! ;)
What is so great, to me, about Portland writing and publishing is that we really, really, emphasize the importance of independent presses and publishing. We poked some fun of the New York publishing scene (Think Out Loud host David Miller laughing about expensive lunches to judge the NBA finalists, but with affectionate jest, and possible with a little envy!) and it's traditions. It's not like there is a need to obliterate, disrespect, or bring it down, I just feel that there is an acknowledgement that we need to return to the roots of writing and publishing, putting literary connection first, not corporate disconnection...
One of the judges noted how who published a book doesn't really enter into the equation anymore because independent presses have the access to make a book look as beautiful as one of the bigger houses'.
That being said, Right On to Graywolf Press for their nonfiction nomination, and Lookout Books for their nomination in fiction. Their respective tweets were 'HOLY CRAP' and 'OH DEAR GOD'.
(Sorry if I missed any other independent presses who received nominations for books they published... I haven't even made it out of bed yet!)
UPDATE10/21: Thanks to those who pointed out Bellevue Literary Press are another independent press with a book up for nomination: The Sojourn by Andrew Krivak in the fiction category. BLP are the publishers of Tinkers which had an initial print run of 2000 and won a Pulitzer Prize in 2010, much to the shock of some. :)