The immigration experience, the foster-care crisis, decimation of a Jewish community in Poland and an atlas of depression are among themes explored by writers in books named Wednesday as finalists for the 2001 National Book Awards.
The winners in fiction, nonfiction, poetry and young people's literature will be announced at a Nov. 14 ceremony in New York. For a second year, Steve Martin will host the event, at which Arthur Miller will receive the 2001 Medal for Distinguished Contributions to American Letters.
Neil Baldwin, executive director of the National Book Foundation, which sponsors the annual awards, said the 20 finalists were chosen from among a record 1,023 entries from 208 publishers and imprints.
* Fiction: Dan Chaon, "Among the Missing" (Ballantine Books); Jennifer Egan, "Look at Me" (Nan A. Talese/Doubleday); Louise Erdrich, "The Last Report on the Miracles at Little No Horse" (HarperCollins); Jonathan Franzen, "The Corrections" (Farrar, Straus & Giroux); and Susan Straight, "Highwire Moon" (Houghton Mifflin).
* Nonfiction: Marie Arana, "American Chica: Two Worlds, One Childhood" (Dial Press); Nina Bernstein, "The Lost Children of Wilder: The Epic Struggle to Change Foster Care" (Pantheon); David James Duncan, "My Story as Told by Water" (Sierra Club Books); Jan T. Gross, "Neighbors: The Destruction of the Jewish Community in Jedwabne, Poland" (Princeton University Press); and Andrew Solomon, "The Noonday Demon: An Atlas of Depression" (Scribner).
* Poetry: Agha Shahid Ali, "Rooms Are Never Finished" (W.W. Norton); Wanda Coleman, "Mercurochrome" (Black Sparrow Press); Alan Dugan, "Poems Seven: New and Complete Poetry" (Seven Stories Press); Cornelius Eady, "Brutal Imagination" (A Marion Wood/Putnam Book); and Gail Mazur, "They Can't Take That Away From Me" (University of Chicago Press).
* Young People's Literature: Kate DiCamillo, "The Tiger Rising" (Candlewick Press); Phillip Hoose, "We Were There, Too! Young People in U.S. History" (Melanie Kroupa Books/Farrar, Straus & Giroux); An Na, "A Step From Heaven" (Front Street); Marilyn Nelson, "Carver: A Life in Poems" (Front Street); and Virginia Euwer Wolff, "True Believer: A Novel in the Make Lemonade Trilogy" (Atheneum Books for Young Readers).