Here Are This Year’s National Book Awards Finalists


Even though we love TV (it’s true! we do! some of it anyway) we are not really the type of people who get excited about Emmy nominations. Maybe it’s because the people who are nominated are already at a place in their career where wealth beyond our wildest dreams is already their reality. Yeah, maybe that. And even though we love movies (it’s true! we do! some of it anyway), we don’t get that excited about Academy Award nominations because the same damn (white, male) people always tend to crowd the stage at the end of the night for the best picture win, because they’re the money and power behind the whole damned industry, and it’s never more clear than during those awards shows.

But! This doesn’t mean we don’t like awards, because we do. We think they’re just great in those times when someone really deserving earns a ton of acclaim and, frequently, cash money. And so! We are super, super-excited about the announcement of the National Book Award Finalists this year, because not only are all these authors insanely talented and deserving of all the accolades that they will receive, but also… no, actually, that’s the reason: They are all insanely talented and deserving of the accolades they will receive—and in many cases, have already received.

If not all the names on this list are as familiar to you as that of nominee Ta-Nehesi Coates, spend some time getting acquainted with them today. We’re linked to past articles of ours featuring all these writers, so that might be a good place to start! Happy reading.

Here’s the full list, via NPR:

Karen E. Bender, Refund
Angela Flournoy, The Turner House
Lauren Groff, Fates and Furies
Adam Johnson, Fortune Smiles
Hanya Yanagihara, A Little Life

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


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