This post is also available in: Français
The new and former television talk show hosts Drew Barrymore and Oprah Winfrey will be headlining the upcoming 74th National Book Awards ceremony.
Barrymore will be hosting the 74th annual National Book Awards, the National Book Foundation announced Tuesday. And Oprah Winfrey, a previous winner of an honorary National Book Award, will be a guest speaker. Barrymore and Winfrey both have long histories of championing books and reading. Winfrey’s book club picks have helped dozens of works become bestsellers, while Barrymore has praised books by Tina Fey and David Sedaris, among others.
“It is an absolute honour to have Ms. Barrymore and Ms. Winfrey on one stage to celebrate the power of exceptional literature,” the National Book Foundation says
“Throughout their careers, Drew Barrymore and Oprah Winfrey have each demonstrated their enduring belief that books have the power to change readers’ lives—by opening doors, sparking conversations, and building community,” the foundation’s Chair of the Board of Directors David Steinberger says in a statement. “This belief echoes the mission of the National Book Foundation to ensure that books have a prominent place in our culture.”
Winfrey was praised for her past philanthropic efforts to help fund education, including a past investment over more than $200 million for young girls’ education, as well as her support for the Morehouse Scholars Program. She is a principal figure in the literary world, she founded Oprah’s Book Club in 1996, which has since featured over 100 selections by authors ranging from Colson Whitehead to Michelle Obama. Her work for education, including donations towards the Oprah Winfrey Scholars Program at Morehouse College and initiatives for academically gifted students, have furthered a mission toward accessible learning. Winfrey was also awarded the 50th Anniversary Gold Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters at the 1999 National Book Awards ceremony. The foundation states that Winfrey’s book club, along with her magazine and roles in book-to-screen adaptations, have been “instrumental” in reaching a wide audience of readers.
The ceremony will present awards in categories honouring the best in Fiction, Nonfiction, Poetry, Translated Literature and Young People’s Literature, according to the foundation.
Established in 1950, the National Book Awards is one of the United States’ most prestigious literary honours. Presented by the National Book Foundation, the prize annually recognizes outstanding writing across fiction, nonfiction, poetry, translated literature and young people’s literature. Previous winners of the award are now mainstays in the American literary canon, including Ralph Ellison and Louise Erdrich.
The awards ceremony has also featured an array of celebrity hosts, including Nick Offerman and Padma Lakshmi, throughout the years. The National Book Awards ceremony and benefit dinner will take place on November 15 in New York. In addition to the main ceremony, the benefit dinner will help raise funds for the National Book Foundation’s educational programming.
Two lifetime achievement awards will also be handed out, with the winner of the The Literarian Award for Outstanding Service to the American Literary Community being announced ahead of time on September 6, while the Associated Press will reveal the honouree for the Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters will be revealed on September 8.
Book fans can look forward to the longlists of nominees, which feature 10 titles each, being released in two batches on September 13 and 15 by The New Yorker magazine, while the five finalists in each category will be revealed by the New York Times on October 3.