LBJ biography, Mideast memoir among book award finalists

NEW YORK, Oct 10 (Reuters) - Books about war-torn Iraq andpost-World War II Eastern Europe, Lyndon Johnson and Mumbai wereamong 20 finalists announced on Wednesday for the annualNational Book Awards, among the most prestigious in U.S.publishing.

The National Book Foundation, which administers the awards,nominated five writers in each of four categories: fiction,nonfiction, poetry and young people's literature.

The finalists for the nonfiction prize included former NewYork Times reporter Anthony Shadid, who received a posthumousnomination for "House of Stone: A Memoir of Home, Family, and aLost Middle East," and Robert Caro for the fourth volume in hismonumental biography of former U.S. President Johnson, "ThePassage of Power: The Years of Lyndon Johnson, Volume 4."

Both writers are Pulitzer Prize winners. Shadid died of anasthma attack while reporting in eastern Syria in February aged43.

Nominees for fiction included well-known authors such asJunot Díaz for "This Is How You Lose Her" and Dave Eggers for "AHologram for the King."

Louise Erdrich for "The Round House," Ben Fountain for"Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk," and Kevin Powers for "TheYellow Birds" were the other fiction finalists.

Nonfiction nominees also included Anne Applebaum for "IronCurtain: The Crushing of Eastern Europe, 1945-1956," KatherineBoo for "Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope ina Mumbai Undercity," and Domingo Martinez for "The Boy Kings ofTexas."

Winners will be chosen by panels of four or five judges, whoinclude writers Brad Gooch and Susan Orlean for nonfiction andStacey D'Erasmo and Janet Peery on the fiction side.

The poetry finalists included David Ferry for "Bewilderment:New Poems and Translations," Cynthia Huntington for "HeavenlyBodies," Tim Seibles for "Fast Animal," Alan Shapiro for "Nightof the Republic" and Susan Wheeler for "Meme."

The young people's literature finalists wereWilliam Alexander for "Goblin Secrets," Carrie Arcos for "Out ofReach," Patricia McCormick for "Never Fall Down," Eliot Schreferfor "Endangered" and Steve Sheinkin for "Bomb: The Race toBuild- and Steal-the World's Most Dangerous Weapon."

The four winning writers each receive a $10,000 prize.

The awards will be presented on Nov. 14 at a gala ceremonyin New York at which novelist Elmore Leonard and New York Timespublisher Arthur O. Sulzberger Jr. will also receive lifetimeachievement honors.

(Reporting by Chris Michaud, editing by Christine Kearney; andPeter Galloway)