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Clarification regarding the 2019 National Book Prize

In view of the controversy surrounding the results of this year’s National Book Prize (NBP), the National Book Council would like to provide clarifications on a number of questions that have been raised during the intense public discussion of the past few days.

The National Book Council confirms that according to the Regulations of the NBP, book titles are submitted for consideration according to a three tiered process; assessment for eligibility and long-listing; the shortlist announcement; and the announcement of the NBP  winners. The Regulations clearly allow the adjudication board to make the decision not to award the NBP to any of the titles shortlisted in a respective category.

At the same time, the National Book Council acknowledges that the present situation shows that there are some deficiencies in the commentary system.

It has never been the Council’s intention, and nor does it not condone, that comments by the adjudication board are published in traditional or social media. Neither does the Council feel that adjudicators should have to explain their decision to the media. While the Council remarks that it stands by the final decisions taken by boards of adjudication, it is also discussing the possibility of revising the process by which comments and feedback are submitted, as well as the introduction of new requirements for adjudicators such as the signing of non-disclosure agreements.