Shortlists for the National Book Awards went public Wednesday, halving the number of nominees to just 20 finalists. Among the books that have survived the second round of cuts, a few clear favorites are beginning to emerge — while others have been displaced by less familiar names.
On the fiction side, Hanya Yanagihara’s novel A Little Life adds to a stellar record so far this literary awards season. The tome — which NPR’s John Powers calls “a wrenching portrait of the enduring grace of friendship” — has already earned a spot on the shortlists for the Man Booker and Kirkus prizes.
Joining Yanagihara’s novel are Lauren Groff’s Fates and Furies — “a master class in best lines,” says reviewer Jason Sheehan — and Fortune Smiles, a globe-trotting collection of stories from Pulitzer Prize winner Adam Johnson. Karen E. Bender’s collection Refund and Angela Flournoy’s The Turner House round out the fiction list.
All of the writers on the fiction shortlist are first-time finalists for the National Book Award. Read more
See full list of finalists below
National Book Awards Finalists
Ta-Nehisi Coates, Between the World and Me
Sally Mann, Hold Still
Sy Montgomery, The Soul of an Octopus
Carla Power, If the Oceans Were Ink: An Unlikely Friendship and a Journey to the Heart of the Quran
Tracy K. Smith, Ordinary Light
Ross Gay, Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude
Terrance Hayes, How to Be Drawn
Robin Coste Lewis, Voyage of the Sable Venus
Ada Limón, Bright Dead Things
Patrick Phillips, Elegy for a Broken Machine
Young People’s Literature
Ali Benjamin, The Thing About Jellyfish
Laura Ruby, Bone Gap
Steve Sheinkin, Most Dangerous: Daniel Ellsberg and the Secret History of the Vietnam War
Neal Shusterman, Challenger Deep
Noelle Stevenson, Nimona