The National Book Award began in 1950 in New York City's famed Waldorf-Astoria Hotel. The award has typical been, as their website says, "an award given to writers for writers." There are currently 4 categories: Fiction, Non-Fiction, Poetry, and Young People's Literature. Eligible books must be written by an American citizen and are nominated by either a publisher or a NBA panel chair. Finalists are announced in October and NBA winners are announced in November at the awards ceremony.
The six finalists for the Best of the National Book Award are:
The Stories of John Cheever by John Cheever
Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison
Collected Stories of William Faulkner by William Faulkner
The Complete Stories by Flannery O'Connor
Gravity's Rainbow by Thomas Pynchon
The Collected Stories of Eudora Welty by Eudora Welty