Thomas Pynchon, George Packer and others are finalists for National Book Award

The contenders for the fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and young people's literature prizes are now narrowed down to five.

Thomas Pynchon's 'The Bleeding Edge' and 'The Book of Ages' by Jill Lepore are two of the National Book Award finalists.

The contenders for the 2013 National Book Award for fiction are now narrowed down to five, with authors including Thomas Pynchon, Jhumpa Lahiri, and George Saunders making the cut.

Pynchon was nominated for his novel “Bleeding Edge,” while Lahiri’s “The Lowland” and Saunders’ short story collection “Tenth of December” were selected. Writer Rachel Kushner made the list for her novel “The Flamethrowers” and James McBride received a nod for his book “The Good Lord Bird.”

Meanwhile, authors including George Packer and Jill LePore made the nonfiction nominees list. LePore received the nod for her work “Book of Ages,” while Packer’s book “The Unwinding” also made the list as well as Wendy Lower’s “Hitler’s Furies,” Lawrence Wright’s “Going Clear,” and Alan Taylor’s “The Internal Enemy.”

For the young people’s literature prize, authors Meg Rosoff of “Picture Me Gone,” Cynthia Kadohata of “The Thing About Luck,” Tom McNeal of “Far Far Away,” Gene Luen Yang of “Boxers & Saints,” and Kathi Appelt of “The True Blue Scouts of Sugar Man Swamp” will be competing for the award.

The poetry contenders are “Stay, Illusion” by Lucie Brock-Broido, “Black Aperture” by Matt Rasmussen, “Metaphysical Dog” by Frank Bidart, “The Big Smoke” by Adrian Matejka, and “Incarnadine” by Mary Szybist. As pointed out by Publishers Weekly, all but Bidart are first-time NBA nominees. 

Last year, author Louise Erdrich took the fiction prize for “The Round House,” while “Behind the Beautiful Forevers” by Katherine Boo won the nonfiction award.

Excerpts of the nominees are available via free e-books for the first time on the National Book Award website. The winners for each category will be announced next month.

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