US National Book Award 2020 Longlist Out

The National Book Awards are a set of annual US literary awards that aims to celebrate the best writing in the country. They were established in 1950 and since 1989, they have been overseen by the National Book Foundation. A panel of judges selects 10 books for the longlist and 5 for the shortlist.

Two acclaimed debut novels and a story collection whose author died last month are among the 10 fiction contenders for this year’s National Book Award.

Here is this year’s longlist for fiction:

A Burning by Megha Majumdar

The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett

​Interior Chinatown by Charles Yu

The Secret Lives of Church Ladies by Deesha Philyaw

Leave the World Behind by Rumaan Alam

Shuggie Bain by Douglas Stuart

The Index of Self-Destructive Acts by Christopher Beha

The Great Offshore Grounds by Vanessa Veselka

A Children’s Bible by Lydia Millet

​If I Had Two Wings by Randall Kenan

The non-fiction list consists of:

Michelle Bowdler, “Is Rape a Crime?: A Memoir, an Investigation, and a Manifesto”

Karla Cornejo Villavicencio, “The Undocumented Americans”

Jill Lepore, “If Then: How the Simulmatics Corporation Invented the Future”

Les Payne and Tamara Payne, “The Dead Are Arising: The Life of Malcolm X”

Claudio Saunt, “Unworthy Republic: The Dispossession of Native Americans and the Road to Indian Territory”

Jenn Shapland, “My Autobiography of Carson McCullers”

Jonathan C. Slaght, “Owls of the Eastern Ice: A Quest to Find and Save the World’s Largest Owl”

Jerald Walker, “How to Make a Slave and Other Essays”

Frank B. Wilderson III, “Afropessimism”

Isabel Wilkerson, “Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents

All 10 of the writers longlisted for poetry are first-time nominees, and two of them are debut authors: Tommye Blount, whose “Fantasia for the Man in Blue” breaks up its title poem about police violence against Black people into a quartet threaded throughout the book, and Anthony Cody, whose “Borderland Apocrypha” uses elements of documentary to write about experiences at the U.S.-Mexico border.

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Rick Barot, “The Galleons”

Mei-mei Berssenbrugge, “A Treatise on Stars”

Lillian-Yvonne Bertram, “Travesty Generator”

Tommye Blount, “Fantasia for the Man in Blue”

Victoria Chang, “Obit”

Don Mee Choi, “DMZ Colony”

Anthony Cody, “Borderland Apocrypha”

Eduardo C. Corral, “Guillotine”

Natalie Diaz, “Postcolonial Love Poem”

Honorée Fanonne Jeffers, “The Age of Phillis”

Perumal Murugan’s “The Story of a Goat” is one of the nominees in the translated literature category. The novel, translated from the Tamil by N. Kalyan Raman, is Murugan’s first since he renounced writing in 2015 after being pilloried by right-wing Hindu groups.

Shokoofeh Azar, “The Enlightenment of the Greengage Tree”
Translated from the Persian by Anonymous

Linda Boström Knausgård, “The Helios Disaster”
Translated from the Swedish by Rachel Willson-Broyles

Anja Kampmann, “High as the Waters Rise”
Translated from the German by Anne Posten

Jonas Hassen Khemiri, “The Family Clause”
Translated from the Swedish by Alice Menzies

Fernanda Melchor, “Hurricane Season”
Translated from the Spanish by Sophie Hughes

Yu Miri, “Tokyo Ueno Station”
Translated from the Japanese by Morgan Giles

Perumal Murugan, “The Story of a Goat”
Translated from the Tamil by N. Kalyan Raman

Cho Nam-Joo, “Kim Jiyoung, Born 1982”
Translated from the Korean by Jamie Chang

Pilar Quintana, “The Bitch”
Translated from the Spanish by Lisa Dillman

Adania Shibli, “Minor Detail”
Translated from the Arabic by Elisabeth Jaquette

Kacen Callender, “King and the Dragonflies”

Traci Chee, “We Are Not Free”

Evette Dionne, “Lifting as We Climb: Black Women’s Battle for the Ballot Box”

Eric Gansworth, “Apple (Skin to the Core)”

Candice Iloh, “Every Body Looking”

Victoria Jamieson and Omar Mohamed, “When Stars Are Scattered”

Marcella Pixley, “Trowbridge Road”

John Rocco, “How We Got to the Moon: The People, Technology, and Daring Feats of Science Behind Humanity’s Greatest Adventure”

Gavriel Savit, “The Way Back”

Aiden Thomas, “Cemetery Boys”

The shortlists of finalists for the National Book Awards in each category are scheduled to be announced on Oct. 6. The winners, normally announced at an event in New York City, will be unveiled this unusual year during a virtual ceremony on Nov. 18.

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