The recognition is historic, as well: Chast is the first cartoonist to be a finalist for the National Book Award in the nonfiction category.
“It’s pretty exciting,” Chast tells Comic Riffs on Wednesday. “It really is.”
The winners in the four categories — Fiction, Nonfiction, Poetry and Young People’s Literature — will be announced at a Nov. 19 ceremony in New York. The finalists each receive $1,000; each winner will receive $10,000.
The other finalists in the nonfiction category are “No Good Men Among the Living: America, the Taliban, and the War through Afghan Eyes” (Metropolitan), by Anand Gopal; “Tennessee Williams: Mad Pilgrimage of the Flesh” (Norton), by John Lahr; “Age of Ambition: Chasing Fortune, Truth, and Faith in the New China” (FSG), by Evan Osnos (a staff writer for the New Yorker); and “The Meaning of Human Existence” (Liveright), by E.O. Wilson.
The nonfiction judges are editor Robert Atwan, writer Gretel Ehrlich, Pulitzer Prize-winning biographer Tom Reiss, former president of Brown University Ruth J. Simmons and two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Alan Taylor. They considered 495 submissions, reports my Book World colleague Ron Charles.
Last month, Chast was announced as a finalist for the inaugural Kirkus Prize.