Ken Kalfus, whose short story “Night and Day You Are the One” was recently bought by Universal, is on the shortlist for the National Book Awards.
Kalfus is nominated in the fiction category for “A Disorder Peculiar to the Country,” his black comedy about marital strife set against the backdrop of 9/11.
Politics and terrorism were themes of the kudos: Lawrence Wright was nominated for his investigative account of 9/11 and Rajiv Chandrasekaran was given the nom for his journalism about the Iraq war.
Established novelist Richard Powers and well-known nonfiction scribe Taylor Branch, both of whom have been previously nominated for NBA, were also on shortlist.
A total of 20 authors were shortlisted in four categories, including fiction, nonfiction, poetry and young people’s categories.
Awards take place at Gotham’s Marriott Marquis on Nov. 15.
Full list of fiction nominees is: Mark Z. Danielewski (“Only Revolutions”), Kalfus (“Disorder”), Powers (“The Echo Maker” ), Dana Spiotta (“Eat the Document”) and Jess Walter (“The Zero”). In nonfiction, Branch (“At Canaan’s Edge”), Chandrasekaran (“Imperial Life in the Emerald City”), Timothy Egan (“The Worst Hard Time: The Untold Story of Those Who Survived the Great American Dust Bowl”) and Peter Hessler (“Oracle Bones”) and Wright (“The Looming Tower) round out the list.
In February, Universal acquired rights to Kalfus’ short story “Night and Day You Are the One,” from his book “Thirst”; story is a Manhattan-set thriller following a man who can’t tell the difference between his dreams and reality.
Kalfus is also the author on whose work upcoming Picturehouse release “The Half Life of Timofey Berezin” is based.
In addition, poet Adrienne Rich and the New York Review of Books co-founders Robert Silvers and the late Barbara Epstein will receive lifetime achievement kudos.
Scribe Fran Lebowitz will host ceremony.