2013 NATIONAL BOOK AWARDS: ‘Boxers & Saints’ graphic novelist Gene Yang calls long-list honor ‘mind-blowing’


(Courtesy First Second Books)

GENE LUEN YANG is the first cartoonist to be a National Book Award finalist for his graphic novel. Now, as of this week, his publisher says he’s also the first graphic novelist to be nominated for a second such award.

“It’s mind-blowing -- it’s crazy,” Yang tells Comic Riffs of the news Monday. “I feel like I can’t even catch my breath.

“And all the books are amazing – I can’t believe I’m on the same list as Kathi Appelt and Kate DiCamillo!” continues Yang, who made the NBA’s “Longlist” for Young People’s Literature, for his new two-volume graphic novel, “Boxers & Saints” (First Second Books/Macmillan). He was a finalist in 2006 for “American Born Chinese.”

Appelt was long-listed for “The True Blue Scouts of Sugar Man Swamp,” (Atheneum), and DiCamillo was nominated for “Flora and Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures” (Candlewick Press).

The National Book Awards, which are announcing their four long lists throughout this week, will reveal the finalists Oct. 16, the National Book Foundation announced.

Yang — who has signed at Small Press Expo and Politics & Prose in recent days — will also appear in the D.C. area tonight at 7 at the Cleveland Park Neighborhood Library.


(Courtesy First Second Books.)
Writer/artist/visual storyteller Michael Cavna is creator of the "Comic Riffs" column and graphic-novel reviewer for The Post's Book World. He relishes sharp-eyed satire in most any form.

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