The finalists for the National Book Awards were announced on Wednesday, with writers Terrance Hayes, Lauren Groff and Elizabeth Acevedo all contending for the prestigious literary prizes.
Groff, previously nominated in 2015 for her novel “Fates and Furies,” made the cut this year for her short story collection “Florida.” That book is joined on the shortlist by another collection of stories, “A Lucky Man,” Jamel Brinkley’s debut book.
The novels “Where the Dead Sit Talking” by Brandon Hobson, “The Friend” by Sigrid Nunez and “The Great Believers” by Rebecca Makkai round out the fiction finalists. All, like those in other categories, made the cut from a 10-book longlist announced last month.
Two books from Oxford University Press made the nonfiction shortlist: Colin G. Calloway’s “The Indian World of George Washington: The First President, the First Americans, and the Birth of the Nation” and Jeffrey C. Stewart’s “The New Negro: The Life of Alain Locke.”
Other finalists in the category are Los Angeles author Adam Winkler’s “We the Corporations: How American Businesses Won Their Civil Rights,” Sarah Smarsh’s “Heartland: A Memoir of Working Hard and Being Broke in the Richest Country on Earth” and Victoria Johnson’s “American Eden: David Hosack, Botany, and Medicine in the Garden of the Early Republic.”
Two of the country’s best known poets made the shortlist this year: Terrance Hayes for “American Sonnets for My Past and Future Assassin” and Rae Armantrout for “Wobble.” Armantrout is a California native who teaches at UC San Diego; Hayes is a MacArthur Fellow and a previous National Book Award winner.The other books on the poetry shortlist — all published by independent presses — were Diana Khoi Nguyen’s “Ghost Of” (Omnidawn Publishing), Justin Phillip Reed’s “Indecency” (Coffee House Press) and Jenny Xie’s “Eye Level” (Graywolf Press).
This is the first year since 1983 that a National Book Award for Translated Literature will be awarded, and books published by independent presses dominated the new prize’s shortlist. Europa Editions landed two of its books on the list: Négar Djavadi’s “Disoriental” and Domenico Starnone’s “Trick,” the latter of which was translated by Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Jhumpa Lahiri. Rounding out the new prize’s list were Hanne Ørstavik’s ”Love” (Archipelago Books), Yoko Tawada’s “The Emissary” (New Directions Publishing) and Olga Tokarczuk’s “Flights” (Riverhead Books).
The young people’s literature shortlist included a novel written in verse (Elizabeth Acevedo’s “The Poet X”) and a graphic memoir (Jarrett J. Krosoczka’s “Hey, Kiddo”). Other finalists are M. T. Anderson and Eugene Yelchin’s “The Assassination of Brangwain Spurge,” Leslie Connor’s “The Truth as Told by Mason Buttle” and Christopher Paul Curtis’ “The Journey of Little Charlie.”
The announcement was made by National Book Foundation Executive Director Lisa Lucas on AM2DM, the Buzzfeed morning show that streams live on Twitter.
Winners of National Book Awards receive a medal, a statue and a $10,000 cash prize (in the translated literature category, the author and translator split the money).
Winners of the 69th National Book Awards, which will be streamed online on Facebook and the National Book Foundation website, will be announced at a ceremony in New York on Nov. 14.
The complete list of finalists is below:
“A Lucky Man,” Jamel Brinkley (Graywolf Press)
“Florida,” Lauren Groff (Riverhead Books)
“Where the Dead Sit Talking,” Brandon Hobson (Soho Press)
“The Great Believers,” Rebecca Makkai (Viking Books)
“The Friend,” Sigrid Nunez (Riverhead Books)
“The Indian World of George Washington: The First President, the First Americans, and the Birth of the Nation” by Colin G. Calloway (Oxford University Press)
“American Eden: David Hosack, Botany, and Medicine in the Garden of the Early Republic” by Victoria Johnson (Liveright)
“Heartland: A Memoir of Working Hard and Being Broke in the Richest Country on Earth” by Sarah Smarsh (Scribner)
“The New Negro: The Life of Alain Locke” by Jeffrey C. Stewart (Oxford University Press)
“We the Corporations: How American Businesses Won Their Civil Rights” by Adam Winkler (Liveright)
“Wobble” by Rae Armantrout (Wesleyan University Press)
“American Sonnets for My Past and Future Assassin” by Terrance Hayes (Penguin Books)
“Ghost Of” by Diana Khoi Nguyen (Omnidawn Publishing)
“Indecency” by Justin Phillip Reed (Coffee House Press)
“Eye Level” by Jenny Xie (Graywolf Press)
“Disoriental,” Négar Djavadi, translated from the French by Tina Kover (Europa Editions)
“Love,” Hanne Ørstavik, translated from the Norwegian by Martin Aitken (Archipelago)
“Trick,” Domenico Starnone, translated from the Italian by Jhumpa Lahiri (Europa Editions)
“The Emissary,” Yoko Tawada, translated from the Japanese by Margaret Mitsutani (New Directions)
“Flights,” Olga Tokarczuk, translated from the Polish by Jennifer Croft (Riverhead)
Young People’s Literature
“The Poet X,” Elizabeth Acevedo (HarperTeen)
“The Assassination of Brangwain Spurge,” M.T. Anderson and Eugene Yelchin (Candlewick)
“The Truth as Told by Mason Buttle,” Leslie Connor (Katherine Tegen Books)
“The Journey of Little Charlie,” Christopher Paul Curtis (Scholastic Press)
“Hey, Kiddo,” Jarrett J. Krosoczka (Graphix)