The National Book Awards will be held online this year

The National Book Awards will be held online this year

Attention all writers and readers: the National Book Foundation announced this year’s National Book Awards will take place online. Deemed the “Oscars of the publishing world,” the glitzy affair marks one of the industry’s most anticipated nights, drawing together writers from far-and-wide to celebrate achievements of the year.

In its virtual iteration, the Awards will stream Nov. 18, with events honoring emerging writers, finalists and young authors scattered throughout the weeks leading up to the ceremony. The decision to move the event online stems from public health concerns related to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

“The National Book Awards are a celebration of books and all the people who have a hand in forming them,” Lisa Lucas, executive director of the National Book Foundation, said in a statement. “As a country, and within the literary community, we have all experienced a shift in reality; yet through this collective uncertainty, we are dedicated to centering and elevating the work of writers who are grounding us and giving us the gift of their words.”

David Steinberger, chair of the Board of Directors, said in the announcement that the Foundation aims to maintain the “high standards” associated with the Awards.

“Though the medium is new, the entire Board and National Book Foundation staff remain committed to hosting a National Book Awards celebration that is a beacon of hope for all who attend — from our incredible Judges and future Finalists to readers everywhere,” he said.

Last year, Susan Choi took home the fiction award for her fifth novel “Trust Excercise,” and Sarah M. Broom garnered the nonfiction prize for her debut book “The Yellow House.”

Top Image: Image of a book, bathed in light. Photo: Nitin Arya.