NBA Finalists; huh?

The good news is that graphic novels got recognized by the NBA this year; David Small is a finalist for Stitches.

The odd thing is that the book is in the category of Young People’s Literature, which the book definitely is NOT. [Ed Note: Brock Martin points out that an explanation was posted in YALSA-BK. See comments]

But the biggest surprise is in the fiction category. Among the five finalists is a relative unknown, Bonnie Jo Campbell, whose book of  short stories, American Salvage, is not published by a major trade house, but by a small university press, Wayne State University Press, as part of their “Made in Michigan” series. Booklist was the only prepub source that reviewed it, giving it a star.

The author’s first book, Q Road, was a Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers title in 2002.

We’re betting that few of the other nominees have had a beer named after their book, study Kouburyu karate, or have traveled with the circus, as Campbell claims in her bio.

Other nominees are better known, but Entertainment Weekly‘s book editor, Tina Jordan, comments that the “list of nominees looks inconsequential — and the NBA looks a little silly — when the year’s truly great books are nowhere to be seen.”

The winners will be announced on Nov. 18th.

A full list of the finalists, with information on the authors and their titles, is available here.

2 Responses to “NBA Finalists; huh?”

  1. bkworm Says:

    Did anyone else notice that Camille Paglia is a judge?

  2. Brock Martin Says:

    Hi Nora,

    This was posted on YALSA-BK, courtesy of, that sheds some light on what Norton was thinking nominating Stitches in the YPL category:

    “There was a question among the judges [in the young people’s
    literature category],” Harold Augenbraum, the executive director of
    the National Book Foundation, told us when we called asking about the
    nomination, “but it ultimately depends on where the publisher
    nominates the book, and this is where [Norton] nominated it.”

    “We always intended to submit Stitches in the young people’s
    category,” confirmed Erin Sinesky Lovett, Norton’s assistant director
    of publicity. “We knew it would appeal to a YA audience as well as an
    adult audience.” She added that because Small had never written for an
    adult readership before, the graphic novel could be seen as a
    “transitional” work, building from his distinguished background as a
    children’s book writer and illustrator, and observed that the story
    was “age-appropriate” for teen readers who grew up on Small’s earlier