Women dominate the US National Book Award’s shortlist

Great job everyone.
Great job everyone.
Image: Flickr/Stan Wiechers, CC BY-SA 2.0
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Yesterday (Oct. 14) the National Book Foundation announced their shortlist for one of the biggest literary prizes in the US, and women are making a strong showing.

Of the 20 writers (down from the long-listed 40), 13 are women. In fiction and non-fiction, female writers outnumber the men 4-1. This is slightly up from last year’s list, which was more evenly split at 9 women and 11 men. See the full list below.


  • Karen E. Bender, Refund: Stories (Counterpoint Press)
  • Angela Flournoy, The Turner House (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
  • Lauren Groff, Fates and Furies (Riverhead Books/Penguin Random House)
  • Adam Johnson, Fortune Smiles: Stories (Random House)
  • Hanya Yanagihara, A Little Life (Doubleday/Penguin Random House)


  • Ta-Nehisi Coates, Between the World and Me (Spiegel & Grau/Penguin Random House)
  • Sally Mann, Hold Still (Little, Brown/Hachette Book Group)
  • Sy Montgomery, The Soul of an Octopus (Atria/Simon & Schuster)
  • Carla Power, If the Oceans Were Ink: An Unlikely Friendship and a Journey to the Heart of the Quran (Henry Holt and Company)
  • Tracy K. Smith, Ordinary Light (Alfred A. Knopf)


  • Ross Gay, Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude (University of Pittsburgh Press)
  • Terrance Hayes, How to Be Drawn (Penguin/Penguin Random House)
  • Robin Coste Lewis, Voyage of the Sable Venus (Alfred A. Knopf)
  • Ada Limón, Bright Dead Things (Milkweed Editions)
  • Patrick Phillips, Elegy for a Broken Machine (Alfred A. Knopf)

Young people’s literature

  • Ali Benjamin, The Thing About Jellyfish (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers)
  • Laura Ruby, Bone Gap (Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins Children’s Books)
  • Steve Sheinkin, Most Dangerous: Daniel Ellsberg and the Secret History of the Vietnam War (Roaring Brook Press/Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group)
  • Neal Shusterman, Challenger Deep (HarperCollins Children’s Books)
  • Noelle Stevenson, Nimona (HarperTeen/HarperCollins Children’s Books)

The winners will be announced on Nov. 18.

Image by Stan Wiechers on Flickr, licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.