The 2012 National Book Award winners will be announced November 14th. Here are two or three things you should know about each of the authors nominated this year.
Louise Erdrich, author of The Round House: Is the daughter of a Chippewa Indian mother. Her German-American father "worked his way through Alaska at age seventeen and paid for his living expenses by winning at the poker table."
Kevin Powers, author of The Yellow Birds: Served with the U.S. Army in Mosul and Tal Afar, Iraq in 2004 and 2005. Rides a motorcycle.
Anne Applebaum, author of Iron Curtain: The Crushing of Eastern Europe, 1944-1956: Writes a monthly foreign affairs column for The Washington Post and Slate. Married Polish Foreign Minister Radosław Sikorski in 1992. Won the Pulitzer Prize for General Nonfiction in 2004.
Katherine Boo, author of Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity: Conducted three years of research in an Indian slum. Appeared on Charlie Rose in February. Has been a staff writer at The New Yorker since 2003.
Robert A. Caro, author of The Passage of Power: The Years of Lyndon Johnson, Volume 4: Won a 2002 National Book Award for Master of the Senate. Helped to shape how Barack Obama thinks about politics.
Anthony Shadid, author of House of Stone: A Memoir of Home, Family, and a Lost Middle East: Won the Pulitzer Prize in 2004 and 2010 for his dispatches from Iraq. Died in February 2012 while on assignment in Syria.
Cynthia Huntington, author of Heavenly Bodies: Teaches at Dartmouth. Was named poet laureate of the state of New Hampshire in 2004.
Susan Wheeler, author of Meme: Was the first example of an "Elliptical Poet" described by Stephen Burt in his creation of the term. Serves as Director of Creative Writing in the Lewis Center for the Arts at Princeton. Wrote a novel called Record Palace in 2005.