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SF State alumnae nominated for 2018 National Book Award

October 4, 2018

SF State alumnae nominated for 2018 National Book Award

SF State alumnae, poet Rae Armantrout and writer Rebecca Solnit, are among six Bay Area authors nominated for the 2018 National Book Award, according to KQED.

The National Book Foundation released its longlist of nominees last month, which included four other Californian authors with Bay Area connections.

The awards covered five different categories: fiction, nonfiction, poetry, young people’s literature, and for the first time since the 1980s, translated literature. 

With 546 entries submitted in the nonfiction category by publishers, a panel of judges selected 10 as the final contenders for the award. One of them being SF state alumna Rebecca Solnit.

Solnit, a Novato native, graduated from SF State with her bachelor’s in 1981 and completed her master’s in journalism at UC Berkeley in 1984. Solnit has written for print and online publications such as The Guardian and Harper’s Magazine, where she is best known for her Easy Chair column. She is longlisted for her nonfiction work on “Call Them by Their True Names: American Crises,” which examines the politics of our time through essays and memoirs. The essays look at divisive issues facing the U.S. today, such as global warming, politics, gentrification and police brutality.

Armantrout graduated with a bachelor’s from UC Berkeley in 1971 and her master’s from SF State in 1975. She is noted for being one of the first of the avant-garde Language poets in San Francisco. The pulitzer-prize winning poet hails from Vallejo.

Her book, “Wobble,” has been longlisted in the poetry category. Having been a previous National Book Award finalist for the poetry award, Armantrout’s work in “Wobble” represents a wide swath of American life and experience.

“Wobble,” a book filled with poems, is described as intimate, personal and dark. It describes the failings of humanity, both societal and personal, and how it has played a part in humanity’s devastation.

“Wobble seeks to both playfully and forcefully evoke a wide variety of emotions,” said Mark Lee, marketing and communications manager for the National Book Foundation. “It evokes the devastation of a chaotic and unstoppable culture.”

Authors on the longlist for the poetry and nonfiction awards hail from all over — including Connecticut, Colorado, Illinois, Kansas, Mississippi and Puerto Rico. Other noted Bay Area authors on the longlist include: Tommy Orange, an Oakland native nominated for his debut fiction novel “There There,” Daniel Gumbiner, a UC Berkeley graduate with his debut fiction novel “The Boatbuilder” on the longlist, and Elizabeth Partridge, an author from Berkeley longlisted for her novel “Boots on the Ground: America’s War in Vietnam.

With a wealth of literary talent sweeping the Bay Area, it’s not hard to find admirers of the SF State graduates on the National Book Foundation’s list.

“I’m a huge fan of Rae Armantrout,” said sophmore Maiya Millane. “It makes me proud they’re being recognized for the work the both of them have put in.”

The finalists will be announced Oct. 10 and the winners will be honored on Nov. 14 at the National Book Foundation’s awards ceremony in New York City.

Sylvester is a student currently enrolled at San Francisco State University. An east bay native from the suburbs of Hayward, he is fascinated by both the media landscape that shapes the world around us, as well as the history of human conflict through the ages. He is currently a staff writer at the Golden Gate Xpress and has written for the Chabot Spectator. He is interested in pursuing a career in the public relations sphere with an emphasis on tech or government security. You'll most likely find him either on his 3rd iced vanilla latte typing the night away on a story, reading a book on British military doctrine in the 1800s, or listening to the new Travis Scott album at the loudest volume possible.