National Book Awards ceremony will again be held online

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This combination of photos shows eight of the ten nominees on the National Book Awards fiction longlist, top row from left, Anthony Doerr's Cloud Cuckoo Land," Lauren Groff's Matrix," Laird Hunt's Zorrie, Robert Jones, Jr.'s The Prophets, bottom row from left, Katie Kitamura's Intimacies, Elizabeth McCracken's The Souvenir Museum," Jason Mott's Hell of a Book," and Richard Powers' Bewilderment." (Scribner/Riverhead/Bloomsbury/G.P. Putnam's Sons/Riverhead/Ecco/Dutton/W.W. Norton via AP)

NEW YORK – For the second straight year, the National Book Awards ceremony will be held online.

The National Book Foundation, which presents the awards each fall, announced Friday that it had decided to make the Nov. 17 event virtual because of the pandemic. The foundation initially hoped to return to the awards' longtime venue, Cipriani Wall Street in downtown Manhattan.

“Although we were cautiously optimistic about the opportunity to gather, the National Book Foundation Board and staff have carefully considered the options for this year’s National Book Awards and closely monitored best health and safety practices associated with COVID-19,” David Steinberger, the foundation's board chair, said in a statement.

“The National Book Awards have always been a unique — and sizeable — event, with authors, publishers, and guests traveling from all over the country to attend. Given the current reality of the ongoing global pandemic, this year’s National Book Awards Ceremony will be a fully virtual event to best protect the health and safety of the book community.”

Last week, the foundation announced longlists of 10 for the five competitive categories: fiction, nonfiction, young people's literature, poetry and translation. Honorary awards are planned for author-playwright Karen Tei Yamashita and author-librarian Nancy Pearl.