The 25 acclaimed novels, poetry, and nonfiction on the US National Book Award shortlist

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The annual celebration of the best new American literature is getting closer, and the judges are whittling down their top picks. Today the US National Book Awards named its shortlists in fiction, nonfiction, poetry, translation, and young people’s literature.

The winning books will be announced on Nov. 14. Each winner receives a $10,000 cash prize, except in the case of the winning work in translation, where author and translator split the award money.

Here are all the finalists:


  • A Lucky Man, by Jamel Brinkley
  • Florida, by Lauren Groff
  • Where the Dead Sit Talking, by Brandon Hobson
  • The Great Believers, by Rebecca Makkai
  • The Friend, by Sigrid Nunez


  • The Indian World of George Washington: The First President, the First Americans, and the Birth of the Nation, by Colin G. Calloway
  • American Eden: David Hosack, Botany, and Medicine in the Garden of the Early Republic, by Victoria Johnson
  • The Tangled Tree: A Radical New History of Life, by David Quammen
  • Heartland: A Memoir of Working Hard and Being Broke in the Richest Country on Earth, by Sarah Smarsh
  • The New Negro: The Life of Alain Locke, by Jeffrey C. Stewart
  • We the Corporations: How American Businesses Won their Civil Rights, by Adam Winkler


  • Wobble, by Rae Armantrout
  • American Sonnets for my Past and Future Assassin, by Terrance Hayes
  • Ghost of, by Diana Khoi Nguyen
  • Indecency, by Justin Phillip Reed
  • Eye Level, by Jenny Xie

Literature in translation

  • Disoriental, by Négar Djavadi, translated by Tina Kover
  • Love, by Hanne Ørstavik, translated by Martin Aitken
  • Trick, by Domenico Starnone, translated by Jhumpa Lahiri
  • The Emissary, by Yoko Tawada, translated by Margaret Mitsutani
  • Flights, by Olga Tokarczuk, translated by Jennifer Croft

Young people’s literature

  • The Poet X, by Elizabeth Acevedo
  • The Assassination of Brangwain Spurge, by M. T. Anderson and Eugene Yelchin
  • The Truth as Told by Mason Buttle, by Leslie Connor
  • The Journey of Little Charlie, by Christopher Paul Curtis
  • Hey, Kiddo, by Jarrett J. Krosoczka