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Here are the longlist nominees for the 2021 National Book Awards

Author Lauren Groff.
Lauren Groff’s “Matrix,” which reinvents the life of a mysterious medieval nun, is on the National Book Awards longlist.
(Eli Sinkus)

Stories about a woman defying the medieval patriarchy, two enslaved Black men finding love and a father and son mourning their mother and the Earth are among the works on the longlist for the 2021 National Book Award for Fiction.

The 10 nominees for the prize, announced Friday by the National Book Foundation, include Lauren Groff for “Matrix,” Richard Powers for “Bewilderment,” Anthony Doerr for “Cloud Cuckoo Land,” Honorée Fanonne Jeffers for “The Love Songs of W.E.B. Du Bois” and Robert Jones Jr. for “The Prophets.”

Forty other authors were listed earlier this week in the categories of poetry, nonfiction, translated literature and young people’s literature.

The cover for Richard Powers' novel, "Bewilderment."
Richard Powers’ novel, “Bewilderment,” made the National Book Awards longlist as well as the Booker Prize shortlist this week.
(W.W. Norton & Co.)
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Among these were Hanif Abdurraqib for “A Little Devil in America: Notes in Praise of Black Performance,” a reflection on how Black creativity is perceived, consumed and ultimately exploited; Threa Almontaser, whose poetry collection “The Wild Fox of Yemen” contrasts family histories in Yemen with Muslim American stories after 9/11; Elvira Navarro for the surrealist short story collection “Rabbit Island,” translated from Spanish by Christina MacSweeney; and Shing Yin Khor for her YA graphic novel “The Legend of Auntie Po,” a retelling of the Paul Bunyan myth by a Chinese American teenager.

This year’s National Book Awards longlists recognize writers ranging from previous winners and finalists to debut authors.

There’s a bumper crop of major fiction by notable authors this fall. Several of them, including Pulitzer Prize winners Doerr and Powers and Obama favorite Groff, made the longlist, but others, including Jonathan Franzen, Colm Toíbín and Sally Rooney, failed to make the cut.

Finalists in all categories will be revealed Oct. 5, and the winners will be honored in person — after a 2020 pandemic hiatus — at the 72nd National Book Awards ceremony Nov. 17.

See the full list below.

Sally Rooney, Anthony Doerr, Maggie Nelson, Richard Powers, Jonathan Franzen — the list goes on. Four critics on kicking off a big, bookish fall.

Fiction

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Nonfiction

Scott Ellsworth talks about ‘The Ground Breaking,’ a new follow-up to “Death in a Promised Land,” his pioneering 1982 exposé of atrocities in Tulsa.

Poetry

  • Threa Almontaser, “The Wild Fox of Yemen”
  • Baba Badji, “Ghost Letters”
  • Forrest Gander, “Twice Alive”
  • Jackie Wang, “The Sunflower Cast a Spell to Save Us From the World”
  • Martín Espada, “Floaters”
  • Douglas Kearney, “Sho”
  • Desiree C. Bailey, “What Noise Against the Cane”
  • CM Burroughs, “Master Suffering”
  • Andrés Cerpa, “The Vault”
  • Hoa Nguyen, “A Thousand Times You Lose Your Treasure”

COVID-19 canceled in-person author readings. Now the world is reopening. We ask five L.A. poets for their takes on what lies ahead.

Translated Literature

  • Ge Fei, “Peach Blossom Paradise,” translated from Chinese by Canaan Morse
  • Nona Fernández, “The Twilight Zone,” translated from Spanish by Natasha Wimmer
  • Judith Schalansky, “An Inventory of Losses,” translated from German by Jackie Smith
  • Maria Stepanova, “In Memory of Memory,” translated from Russian by Sasha Dugdale
  • Bo-Young Kim, “On the Origin of Species and Other Stories,” translated from Korean by Joungmin Lee Comfort and Sora Kim-Russell
  • Maryse Condé, “Waiting for the Waters to Rise,” translated from French by Richard Philcox
  • Elisa Shua Dusapin, “Winter in Sokcho,” translated from French by Aneesa Abbas Higgins
  • Elvira Navarro, “Rabbit Island,” translated from Spanish by Christina MacSweeney
  • Benjamín Labatut, “When We Cease to Understand the World,” translated from Spanish by Adrian Nathan West
  • Samar Yazbek, “Planet of Clay,” translated from Arabic by Leri Price

In her story collection “Rabbit Island,” Elvira Navarro picks up where Kafka and Borges left off to expose Europe’s creeping (and creepy) anxieties.

Young People’s Literature

  • Shing Yin Khor, “The Legend of Auntie Po”
  • Anna-Marie McLemore, “The Mirror Season”
  • Malinda Lo, “Last Night at the Telegraph Club”
  • Kyle Lukoff, “Too Bright to See”
  • Amber McBride, “Me (Moth)”
  • Safia Elhillo, “Home Is Not a Country”
  • Carole Boston Weatherford, “Unspeakable: The Tulsa Race Massacre”
  • Kekla Magoon, “Revolution in Our Time: The Black Panther Party’s Promise to the People”
  • Paula Yoo, “From a Whisper to a Rallying Cry: The Killing of Vincent Chin and the Trial that Galvanized the Asian American Movement”
  • Darcie Little Badger, “A Snake Falls to Earth”

The following literary works are still in the running for the 2021 Booker Prize for Fiction, which will be awarded at a ceremony in November.


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