National Books Awards has Revealed Nominees for this Year’s Awarding Ceremony

The National Books Awards will recognize another batch of literature this year, and the contenders have already been revealed.

The event should highlight this year’s up-and-coming authors, while numerous others are making a comeback.

Yoko Tawada and her translator Margaret Mistutani, for example, were nominated for Translated Literature after winning the National Book Award in the same group in 2018.

Meanwhile, Gayl Jones, Scholastique Mukasonga, and Sharon Olds are among the nominees. Jones is nominated in the Fiction category for “The Birdcatcher,” Mukasonga in the Translated Literature category for “Kibogo,” and Olds in the Poetry Category for “Balladz.”

For their debut novels, writers Sarah Tess Gunty (The Rabbit Hutch), Alejandro Varela (The Town of Babylon), and Sarah Thankam Mathews (All This Could Be Different) were all included in the Fiction category.

The National Books Awards have also opted to reward all finalists in the Young People’s Literature Category, the organization’s first sort of effort.

Among the contenders is Tommie Smith, who is recognized not just as an athlete in the United States but also for publicly condemning racial discrimination during the 1968 Summer Olympics in Mexico.

The National Book Awards are gearing up and will share the winners on November 16 in New York City. Lifetime achievement awards will also be handed to Art Spiegelman and Traci D. Hall.

Hall is the American Library Association’s first African American female executive director.

The National Books Awards will also award the category winners monetary prizes totaling $10,000. The entire list of finalists and the books they have written is shown below.

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Tess Gunty, The Rabbit Hutch

Gayl Jones, The Birdcatcher

Jamil Jan Kochai, The Haunting of Hajji Hotak and Other Stories

Sarah Thankam Mathews, All This Could Be Different

Alejandro Varela, The Town of Babylon



Meghan O’Rourke, The Invisible Kingdom: Reimagining Chronic Illness

Imani Perry, South to America: A Journey Below the Mason-Dixon to Understand the Soul of a Nation

David Quammen, Breathless: The Scientific Race to Defeat a Deadly Virus

Ingrid Rojas Contreras, The Man Who Could Move Clouds: A Memoir

Robert Samuels and Toluse Olorunnipa, His Name Is George Floyd: One Man’s Life and the Struggle for Racial Justice

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Allison Adelle Hedge Coke, Look at This Blue

John Keene, Punks: New & Selected Poems

Sharon Olds, Balladz

Roger Reeves, Best Barbarian

Jenny Xie, The Rupture Tense


Translated Literature

Jon Fosse, A New Name: Septology VI-VII. Translated by Damion Searls

Scholastique Mukasonga, Kibogo. Translated by Mark Polizzotti

Mónica Ojeda, Jawbone. Translated by Sarah Booker

Samanta Schweblin, Seven Empty Houses. Translated by Megan McDowell

Yoko Tawada, Scattered All Over the Earth. Translated by Margaret Mitsutani


Young People’s Literature

Kelly Barnhill, The Ogress and the Orphans

Sonora Reyes, The Lesbiana’s Guide to Catholic School

Tommie Smith, Derrick Barnes and Dawud Anyabwile, Victory. Stand!: Raising My Fist for Justice

Sabaa Tahir, All My Rage

Lisa Yee, Maizy Chen’s Last Chance