The book award season is upon us! This week the National Book Foundation unveiled the National Book Award longlist for Fiction, Nonfiction, Poetry, Translated Literature, and Young People's Literature. There are so many Amazon Book editor favorites in these lists—Brit Bennett's The Vanishing Half, Charles Yu's Interior Chinatown, Megha Majumdar's A Burning, Isabel Wilkerson's Caste, Karla Cornejo Villavicencio's The Undocumented Americans, Yu Miri's Tokyo Ueno Station, Marcella Pixley's Trowbridge Road, to name a few. So, if you're in need of a book recommendation, these fifty books are a great place to start.
The finalists in all five categories will be announced on October 6 and the winners will be named at the 71st annual National Book Award Ceremony on November 18. Congratulations to all of the authors longlisted!
The 2020 National Book Award Longlist: Fiction
The 2020 Fiction longlist includes three debuts among the ten titles as well as former National Book Award longlisted writers, the National Book Foundation’s "5 Under 35" prize winners, and writers that have earned recognition from numerous prizes, including the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Critics Circle Award, the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, and the PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize. Judges Roxane Gay (Chair), Cristina Henríquez, Laird Hunt, Rebecca Makkai, and Keaton Patterson selected these ten books from a total of 388 books submitted by publishers.
Rumaan Alam, Leave the World Behind. Ecco / HarperCollins Publishers.
Christopher Beha, The Index of Self-Destructive Acts. Tin House Books.
Brit Bennett, The Vanishing Half. Riverhead Books / Penguin Random House.
Randall Kenan, If I Had Two Wings. W. W. Norton & Company.
Megha Majumdar, A Burning. Alfred A. Knopf / Penguin Random House.
Lydia Millet, A Children’s Bible. W. W. Norton & Company.
Deesha Philyaw, The Secret Lives of Church Ladies. West Virginia University Press.
Douglas Stuart, Shuggie Bain. Grove Press / Grove Atlantic.
Vanessa Veselka, The Great Offshore Grounds. Alfred A. Knopf / Penguin Random House.
Charles Yu, Interior Chinatown. Pantheon Books / Penguin Random House.
The 2020 National Book Award Longlist: Nonfiction
A mix of debut works and veteran writers, the 2020 Nonfiction longlist addresses current social issues, explorations of history, works of memoir, biographies of icons, science writing, and more. The National Book Foundation received 609 submissions for this category, and the judges are Terry Tempest Williams (Chair), James Goodman, Yunte Huang, Hannah Oliver Depp, and David Treuer.
Michelle Bowdler, Is Rape a Crime?: A Memoir, an Investigation, and a Manifesto. Flatiron Books / Macmillan Publishers.
Karla Cornejo Villavicencio, The Undocumented Americans One World / Penguin Random House.
Jill Lepore, If Then: How the Simulmatics Corporation Invented the Future. Liveright / W. W. Norton & Company.
Les Payne and Tamara Payne, The Dead Are Arising: The Life of Malcolm X. Liveright / W. W. Norton & Company.
Claudio Saunt, Unworthy Republic: The Dispossession of Native Americans and the Road to Indian Territory. W. W. Norton & Company.
Jenn Shapland, My Autobiography of Carson McCullers. Tin House Books.
Jonathan C. Slaght, Owls of the Eastern Ice: A Quest to Find and Save the World’s Largest Owl. Farrar, Straus and Giroux / Macmillan Publishers.
Jerald Walker, How to Make a Slave and Other Essays. Mad Creek Books / The Ohio State University Press.
Frank B. Wilderson III, Afropessimism. Liveright / W. W. Norton & Company.
Isabel Wilkerson, Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents. Random House / Penguin Random House.
The 2020 National Book Award Longlist: Poetry
The 2020 Poetry longlist includes emerging voices, mid-career writers, and more traditionally established poets. Poets on this year’s list have received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, MacArthur Fellowships and more. All the poets on the 2020 longlist are newcomers to the National Book Awards. The judges for Poetry are Layli Long Soldier (Chair), Rigoberto González, John Hennessy, Diana Khoi Nguyen, and Elizabeth Willis.
Rick Barot, The Galleons. Milkweed Editions.
Mei-mei Berssenbrugge, A Treatise on Stars. New Directions.
Lillian-Yvonne Bertram, Travesty Generator. Noemi Press.
Tommye Blount, Fantasia for the Man in Blue. Four Way Books.
Victoria Chang, Obit. Copper Canyon Press.
Don Mee Choi, DMZ Colony. Wave Books.
Anthony Cody, Borderland Apocrypha. Omnidawn Publishing.
Eduardo C. Corral, Guillotine. Graywolf Press.
Natalie Diaz, Postcolonial Love Poem. Graywolf Press.
Honorée Fanonne Jeffers, The Age of Phillis. Wesleyan University Press.
The 2020 National Book Award Longlist: Translated Literature
The National Book Award for Translated Literature, which was added as a fifth category in 2018, received a total of 130 submissions from publishers this year. The ten longlisted books were originally published in eight different languages: Arabic, German, Japanese, Korean, Persian, Spanish, Swedish, and Tamil. The judges for Translated Literature are Dinaw Mengestu (Chair), Heather Cleary, John Darnielle, Anne Ishii, and Brad Johnson. Many of the 2020 longlisted books have been celebrated and recognized by numerous international prizes, such as the International Man Booker Prize, the Stella Prize, the August Prize, the Akutagawak Prize, the German Book Prize, and the Colombian Biblioteca de Narrativa Prize.
Shokoofeh Azar, The Enlightenment of the Greengage Tree. Translated from the Persian by Anonymous; Europa Editions.
Linda Boström Knausgård, The Helios Disaster. Translated from the Swedish by Rachel Willson-Broyles;World Editions.
Anja Kampmann, High as the Waters Rise. Translated from the German by Anne Posten; Catapult.
Jonas Hassen Khemiri, The Family Clause. Translated from the Swedish by Alice Menzies; Farrar, Straus and Giroux / Macmillan Publishers.
Fernanda Melchor, Hurricane Season. Translated from the Spanish by Sophie Hughes; New Directions.
Yu Miri, Tokyo Ueno Station. Translated from the Japanese by Morgan Giles; Riverhead Books / Penguin Random House.
Perumal Murugan, The Story of a Goat. Translated from the Tamil by N. Kalyan Raman; Black Cat / Grove Atlantic.
Cho Nam-Joo, Kim Jiyoung, Born 1982. Translated from the Korean by Jamie Chang; Liveright / W. W. Norton & Company.
Pilar Quintana, The Bitch. Translated from the Spanish by Lisa Dillman; World Editions.
Adania Shibli, Minor Detail. Translated from the Arabic by Elisabeth Jaquette; New Directions.
The 2020 National Book Award Longlist: Young People's Literature
All of the finalists for the 2020 National Book Award for Young People’s Literature are first time nominees. Publishers submitted a total of 311 books for this category. The 2020 judges are Randy Ribay, Neal Shusterman, Ebony Elizabeth Thomas, Colleen AF Venable, and Joan Trygg.
Kacen Callender, King and the Dragonflies. Scholastic Press / Scholastic Inc.
Traci Chee, We Are Not Free. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
Evette Dionne, Lifting as We Climb: Black Women’s Battle for the Ballot Box. Viking Books for Young Readers / Penguin Random House.
Eric Gansworth, Apple (Skin to the Core). Levine Querido.
Candice Iloh, Every Body Looking. Dutton Books for Young Readers / Penguin Random House.
Victoria Jamieson and Omar Mohamed, When Stars Are Scattered. Dial Books for Young Readers / Penguin Random House.
Marcella Pixley, Trowbridge Road. Candlewick Press.
John Rocco, How We Got to the Moon: The People, Technology, and Daring Feats of Science Behind Humanity’s Greatest Adventure. Crown Books for Young Readers / Penguin Random House.
Gavriel Savit, The Way Back. Knopf Books for Young Readers / Penguin Random House.
Aiden Thomas, Cemetery Boys. Swoon Reads / Macmillan Publishers.
Congratulations to the authors, translators, and publishers of the 2020 National Book Award longlisted books!