‘Between the World and Me’ and ‘A Little Life’ Lead the National Book Awards Finalists


The candidates for the National Book Awards have once again been narrowed, and it’s now down to the finalists. Hanya Yanagihara’s A Little Life‘s place on this list won’t surprise anyone — it has, after all, already been shortlisted for both the Man Booker and the Kirkus prizes, with its ability, as Jon Michaud described it in the New Yorker, to “drive you mad, consume you, and take over your life.”Meanwhile, Angela Flournoy — also a fiction finalist — has likewise been receiving high honors this year, as she was named one of The National Book Foundation’s 5 Under 35 for The Turner House.

In nonfiction, Ta-Nehisi Coates’ Between the World and Me continues to garner accolades, and NPR predicts that “it would be tough to consider [it] anything less than a favorite to win the nonfiction prize.” Pulitzer Prize winning poet Tracy K. Smith’s memoir, Ordinary Light — which The Guardian called “a powerful meditation on being a daughter and, by the end, on being a mother, too” — is also nominated. Read the full list (whose categories include Fiction, Nonfiction, Poetry and Young People’s Literature) below.


— Karen E. Bender, Refund —Angela Flournoy, The Turner House —Lauren Groff, Fates and Furies —Adam Johnson, Fortune Smiles —Hanya Yanagihara, A Little Life


—Ta-Nehisi Coates, Between the World and Me —Sally Mann, Hold Still —Sy Montgomery, The Soul of an Octopus —Carla Power, If the Oceans Were Ink: An Unlikely Friendship and aJourney to the Heart of the Quran —Tracy K. Smith, Ordinary Light


—Ross Gay, Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude —Terrance Hayes, How to Be Drawn —Robin Coste Lewis, Voyage of the Sable Venus —Ada Limón, Bright Dead Things —Patrick Phillips, Elegy for a Broken Machine

Young People’s Literature

—Ali Benjamin, The Thing About Jellyfish —Laura Ruby, Bone Gap —Steve Sheinkin, Most Dangerous: Daniel Ellsberg and the Secret History of the Vietnam War —Neal Shusterman, Challenger Deep —Noelle Stevenson, Nimona