There are only 20 books left in contention for the 2016 National Book Awards. The National Book Foundation has whittled its list down from 40, and announced five finalists in each of four categories: fiction, nonfiction, poetry and young people’s literature.
Many of the honorees listed below are not exactly strangers to the realm of literary laurels. Rita Dove is a former U.S. poet laureate and has been writing poetry for three decades. Jacqueline Woodson has actually won the National Book Award for young people’s literature before, for 2014’s Brown Girl Dreaming.
The list isn’t made up of only returning favorites, though. Among the newcomers are Solmaz Sharif, who is nominated for his first book of poetry, and Nicola Yoon, who has been nominated for her second novel, The Sun is Also a Star. Colson Whitehead is also nominated for the first time for his novel The Underground Railroad.
Winners in each category will be announced in New York City on Nov. 16. Each winner receives a medal, a statue and $10,000. One winner has already been decided: Robert A. Caro has won the National Book Award for distinguished contribution to American letters, which is the NBF’s version of a lifetime achievement award. Check out the full shortlist below to see which books are in contention in each category.
Chris Bachelder, The Throwback Special
Paulette Jiles, News of the World
Karan Mahajan, The Association of Small Bombs
Colson Whitehead, The Underground Railroad
Jacqueline Woodson, Another Brooklyn
Arlie Russell Hochschild, Strangers in Their Own Land: Anger and Mourning on the American Right
Ibram X. Kendi, Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America
Viet Thanh Nguyen, Nothing Ever Dies: Vietnam and the Memory of War
Andrés Reséndez, The Other Slavery: The Uncovered Story of Indian Enslavement in America
Heather Ann Thompson, Blood in the Water: The Attica Prison Uprising of 1971 and Its Legacy
Daniel Borzutzky, The Performance of Becoming Human
Rita Dove, Collected Poems 1974 – 2004
Peter Gizzi, Archeophonics
Jay Hopler, The Abridged History of Rainfall
Solmaz Sharif, Look
Young People’s Literature
Kate DiCamillo, Raymie Nightingale
John Lewis, Andrew Aydin & Nate Powell, March: Book Three
Grace Lin, When the Sea Turned to Silver
Jason Reynolds, Ghost
Nicola Yoon, The Sun Is Also a Star