Except for those in the book business, the annual presentation of the National Book Awards is pretty much a non-event, compared to awards like the Oscars or the Emmys. This evening's ceremonies in New York City aren't likely to be much different. But controversies over the nomination of the 9/11 Commission Report and five relatively unknown writers have drawn attention to the prize in 2004.
Laura Miller, book critic for the online magazine Salon.com
Charlotte Abbot, book news editor, Publisher's Weekly
Tom McGuane, former National Book Award judge; most recent book is Cadence of Grass
Sarah Shun-Lien Bynum, author of the nominated Madeleine Is Sleeping