Women dominate the US National Book Award’s shortlist


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.

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