Oblong Books & Music is thrilled to announce that Suzanna Hermans has been tapped to join the prestigious panel of judges for the 2017 National Book Awards. She will be judging Young People’s Literature along with New York Times bestselling author Brendan Kiely, Middle Grade and YA author Kekla Magoon, Meg Medina – named one of the CNN 10 Visionary Women in America, and YA author Alex Sanchez.

In addition to her day job as co-owner of Oblong where she runs not one, but two bookstores on either side of Dutchess County, Hermans currently sits on the Advisory Council of the American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression and is past president of the New England Independent Booksellers Association. She has served on the American Booksellers Association’s Advisory Council, as well as their Children’s Advisory Council and New Voices Committee, and was recently hailed as one of ThePoughkeepsie Journal‘s five Female Trailblazers of the Hudson Valley.

When asked for a comment, Hermans told staff – “This is an incredible honor and I can’t quite believe it’s happening” then she added, “If you’re looking for me between now & July, I’m probably off reading!”

Photo credit: Kathy Cassens.

About the National Book Awards The mission of the National Book Foundation and the National Book Awards is to celebrate the best of American literature, to expand its audience, and to enhance the cultural value of great writing in America.

On March 16, 1950, publishers, editors, writers, and critics gathered at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York City to celebrate the first annual National Book Awards, an award given to writers by writers. The American Book Publisher’s Council, The Book Manufacturers’ Institute, and The American Booksellers’ Association jointly sponsored the Awards, bringing together the American literary community for the first time to honor the year’s best work in fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. As the Boston Herald reported the following day, “literary history was indeed in the making.”

The National Book Awards (NBA) quickly established a reputation for recognizing literary excellence, awarding William Carlos Williams the first poetry prize for Paterson: Book III and Selected Poems. Within a mere decade the NBA would acknowledge the work of writers such as William Faulkner, Saul Bellow, Wallace Stevens, Rachel Carson, Ralph Ellison, W.H. Auden, Marianne Moore, and Bernard Malamud – authors who have helped shape the foundation of American literature.