Lepore, Bidart and Lahiri are Nation Book Award finalists

Finalists for the 2013 National Book Awards were released Wednesday, a list that includes a fair number of writers who are local — or at least localish. Jhumpa Lahiri, nominated in the fiction category for her novel “The Lowland,’’ received a master’s degree in creative writing from Boston University and often sets her stories in and around Cambridge. (Also nominated for fiction: Thomas Pynchon
for “Bleeding Edge,’’ James McBride
for “The Good Lord Bird,’’ Rachel Kushner
for “The Flamethrowers,’’ and George Saunders
for “Tenth of December.’’) Among the finalists in nonfiction: Harvard professor and Cambridge resident Jill Lepore
for “Book of Ages: The Life and Opinions of Jane Franklin’’ and George Packer
— a former Cambridge resident — for his book “The Unwinding: An Inner History of the New America.’’ (Fun fact: Packer penned a novel called “Central Square’’ back in 1998.) Alan Taylor, nominated for “The Internal Enemy: Slavery and War in Virginia, 1772-1832,’’ earned his PhD at Brandeis and taught at BU. The poetry category boasts a couple of local names as well, perhaps none so well known as Frank Bidart, nominated for “Metaphysical Dog.’’ Bidart teaches at Wellesley College.


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