Here are all the finalists for the 2019 National Book Awards

Laila Lalami
L.A. writer Laila Lalami’s “The Other Americans” is a fiction finalist for the 2019 National Book Awards.
(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

The 2019 National Book Awards longlists are no more, and the full list of finalists is officially here.

The National Book Foundation on Tuesday announced 25 works up for awards in five categories: fiction, nonfiction, poetry, translated literature and young people’s literature. Four of the nominated authors have received prior honors from the foundation, while another four will make their National Book Awards debuts when the ceremony takes place Nov. 20 in New York City.

Writers Akwaeke Emezi, Toi Derricotte, Jason Reynolds and Laura Ruby have all garnered recognition from the organization before, with their 2019 selections touching on themes including the misadventures of children on their journeys home from school (Reynolds’ “Look Both Ways”) and the plight of siblings neglected at an orphanage (Ruby’s “Thirteen Doors, Wolves Behind Them All”).

Los Angeles author Laila Lalami, whose book “The Other Americans” was a Los Angeles Times Book Club selection over the summer, was nominated in the fiction category.


Growing up in Rabat, Morocco, author Laila Lalami loved “Adventures of Tintin” comic books and identified with Tintin, a young reporter who solves crimes.

July 31, 2019

Other topics explored across the genres include the Rwandan genocide (Scholastique Mukasonga’s “The Barefoot Woman”), high school love (Susan Choi’s “Trust Exercise”) and climate change (Arthur Sze’s “Sight Lines”).

The National Book Awards ceremony and benefit dinner will be hosted by LeVar Burton, host of “Reading Rainbow” and costar of “Star Trek: The Next Generation,” and will include lifetime achievement awards presented to Edmund White and Oren J. Teicher. White will receive the Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters, while Teicher will accept the Literarian Award for Outstanding Service to the American Literary Community.

See the full list of finalists below.


Susan Choi, “Trust Exercise”
Kali Fajardo-Anstine, “Sabrina & Corina: Stories”
Marlon James, “Black Leopard, Red Wolf”
Laila Lalami, “The Other Americans”
Julia Phillips, “Disappearing Earth”


Sarah M. Broom, “The Yellow House”
Tressie McMillan Cottom, “Thick: And Other Essays”
Carolyn Forché, “What You Have Heard Is True: A Memoir of Witness and Resistance”
David Treuer, “The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee: Native America From 1890 to the Present”
Albert Woodfox with Leslie George, “Solitary”


Jericho Brown, “The Tradition”
Toi Derricotte, “‘I’: New and Selected Poems”
Ilya Kaminsky, “Deaf Republic”
Carmen Giménez Smith, “Be Recorder”
Arthur Sze, “Sight Lines”

Translated literature

Khaled Khalifa, “Death Is Hard Work,” translated from Arabic by Leri Price
László Krasznahorkai, “Baron Wenckheim’s Homecoming,” translated from Hungarian by Ottilie Mulzet
Scholastique Mukasonga, “The Barefoot Woman,” translated from French by Jordan Stump
Yoko Ogawa, “The Memory Police,” translated from Japanese by Stephen Snyder
Pajtim Statovci, “Crossing,” translated from Finnish by David Hackston

Young people’s literature

Akwaeke Emezi, “Pet”
Jason Reynolds, “Look Both Ways: A Tale Told in Ten Blocks”
Randy Ribay, “Patron Saints of Nothing”
Laura Ruby, “Thirteen Doorways, Wolves Behind Them All”
Martin W. Sandler, “1919 The Year That Changed America”