Congratulations to our Speakers Nominated for the 2019 National Book Awards


The National Book Awards celebrate the best of American literature, aiming to expand its audience and to enhance the cultural value of great writing in America. The Penguin Random House Speakers Bureau is proud to represent three speakers on the National Book Awards longlist, and one nominee on the shortlist this year. Read more about them below!

2019 National Book Awards Shortlist

The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee

The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee - David Treuer

Longlisted for the National Book Award in nonfiction, The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee is a myth-shattering history of Native American resiliency in the face of violence and political maneuvering designed to strip Native people of their culture. Treuer artfully blends history and reportage to present a crucial counter-narrative to the popular understanding of Native American life. 

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David Treuer

Author of The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee and Rez Life

2019 National Book Awards Longlist

The Nickel Boys (Winner 2020 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction)

The Nickel Boys (Winner 2020 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction) - Colson Whitehead

The winner of both the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize for his previous book, The Underground Railroad, bestselling author Colson Whitehead cements his reputation as “America’s storyteller” (Time) with the story of two young black boys fighting against the constraints of the Jim Crow south while confined to a brutal school for juvenile delinquents. 

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Colson Whitehead

Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award-winning author of The Underground Railroad and The Nickel Boys

On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous

On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous - Ocean Vuong

The stunning fiction debut from acclaimed poet Ocean Vuong, On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous is a letter from a son to his mother, a Vietnamese refugee and a brutally honest exploration of language, family, belonging, and the profound power of storytelling. 

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Ocean Vuong

Poet and author of On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous

Say Nothing

Say Nothing - Patrick Radden Keefe

Patrick Radden Keefe’s Say Nothing is a gripping and devastating account of The Troubles in Northern Ireland that provides an intimate perspective on a national conflict, detailing the shocking repercussions of political violence that continue to echo throughout the region today. 

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Private: Patrick Radden Keefe

New Yorker staff writer and author of the New York Times bestsellers Say Nothing and Empire of Pain

Past Winners – Fiction

The Underground Railroad (Pulitzer Prize Winner) (National Book Award Winner) (Oprah's Book Club)

2016: The Underground Railroad (Pulitzer Prize Winner) (National Book Award Winner) (Oprah's Book Club) - Colson Whitehead

Colson Whitehead has established himself as one of the most versatile and innovative writers in contemporary literature. The author of eight books, he is a MacArthur fellow and Pulitzer Prize finalist.


2014: Redeployment - Phil Klay

United States Marine Corps veteran Phil Klay wowed critics and readers alike with his short story collection Redeployment, which was named “one of the best debuts of the year” (The Oregonian.)

Let the Great World Spin

2009: Let the Great World Spin - Colum McCann

Hailed as an incomparable storyteller, Colum McCann is an award-winning author whose topics have ranged from the troubles in Northern Ireland, to the effects of 9/11, to the examination of the Roma in Europe. 


1999: Waiting - Ha Jin

Ha Jin is an award-winning novelist and a professor at Boston University. Born in China and a veteran of the People’s Liberation Army, Jin’s fascinating upbringing makes him a captivating speaker on China’s past and present.

Past Winners – Non-Fiction

Behind the Beautiful Forevers

2012: Behind the Beautiful Forevers - Katherine Boo

Pulitzer Prize winner Katherine Boo is among the most influential journalists writing about disadvantaged populations. Her New York Times bestseller Behind the Beautiful Forevers, based on years of reporting in Mumbai, exposes one of the twenty-first century’s hidden worlds with uncompromising clarity and empathy.

The First Tycoon

2009: The First Tycoon - T.J. Stiles

T. J. Stiles is the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The First Tycoon, a biography of Cornelius Vanderbilt, and Custer’s Trials, a biography of George Armstrong Custer. He has served as a historical adviser and on-screen expert for American Experience programs on PBS.

American Sphinx

1997: American Sphinx - Joseph J. Ellis

A leading scholar of American history, Joseph J. Ellis is a Pulitzer Prize winner for his biographies of our nation’s earliest presidents. Ellis is a distinguished professor and seasoned speaker who regales audiences with stories of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and other U.S. presidents.

Poetry Winners

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2015: - Robin Coste Lewis

Robin Coste Lewis is an electrifying new voice in contemporary poetry. Both tender and arresting in her poems, Lewis is also an astute cultural critic, alert to the complexities of race and the black female voice.

Young People’s Literature Winners

Brown Girl Dreaming

2014: Brown Girl Dreaming - Jacqueline Woodson

Jacqueline Woodson is a four-time Newbery Honor winner, a recipient of the NAACP Image Award, and was recently named the Young People’s Poet Laureate by the Poetry Foundation. She gives stirring lectures that delve into the inspiration behind her books and explore important issues of race, gender, and bullying.


Past Finalists

Rebecca Makkai (Fiction, 2018)

Jacqueline Woodson (Fiction, 2016)

Lauren Groff (Fiction, 2015, 2018)

Emily St. John Mandel (Fiction, 2014)

Junot Díaz (Fiction, 2012)

Téa Obreht (Fiction, 2011)

Lauren Redniss (Nonfiction, 2011)

Peter Carey (Fiction, 2010)

E. Lockhart (Young People’s Literature, 2008)

Jennifer Egan (Fiction, 2001)

Please contact us about booking any of the above speakers for your upcoming event. And if you want to stay updated on our speakers, remember to sign up for our e-newsletter.