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National Book Award 2019 shortlists announced

In the US, the shortlists for the 2019 National Book Award have been announced.

The shortlisted titles are:


  • Trust Exercise (Susan Choi, Serpent’s Tail)
  • Sabrina & Corina: Stories (Kali Fajardo-Anstine, One World)
  • Black Leopard, Red Wolf (Marlon James, Michael Joseph)
  • The Other Americans (Laila Lalami, Bloomsbury)
  • Disappearing Earth (Julia Phillips, Scribner)


  • The Yellow House (Sarah M Broom, Grove Press)
  • Thick: And other essays (Tressie McMillan Cottom, The New Press)
  • What You Have Heard is True: A memoir of witness and resistance (Carolyn Forché, Penguin Press)
  • The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee: Native America from 1890 to the present (David Treuer, Corsair)
  • Solitary: Unbroken by four decades in solitary confinement. My story of transformation and hope. (Albert Woodfox with Leslie George, Text)


  • The Tradition (Jericho Brown, Copper Canyon)
  • “I”: New and selected poems (Toi Derricotte, University of Pittsburgh Press)
  • Deaf Republic (Ilya Kaminsky, Graywolf)
  • Be Recorder (Carmen Giménez Smith, Graywolf)
  • Sight Lines (Arthur Sze, Copper Canyon)

Translated literature

  • Death is Hard Work (Khaled Khalifa, trans by Leri Price, Faber)
  • Baron Wenckheim’s Homecoming (László Krasznahorkai, trans by Ottilie Mulzet, Tuskar Rock)
  • The Barefoot Woman (Scholastique Mukasonga, trans by Jordan Stump, Archipelago)
  • The Memory Police (Yoko Ogawa, trans by Stephen Snyder, Harvill Secker)
  • Crossing (Pajtim Statovci, trans by David Hackston, Pushkin Press)

Young people’s literature

  • Pet (Akwaeke Emezi, Make Me a World)
  • Look Both Ways: A tale told in ten blocks (Jason Reynolds, illus by Alexander Nabaum, Atheneum/Dlouhy)
  • Patron Saints of Nothing (Randy Ribay, Kokila)
  • Thirteen Doorways, Wolves Behind Them All (Laura Ruby, Balzer + Bray)
  • 1919: The year that changed America (Martin W Sandler, Bloomsbury).

The awards are administered by the US National Book Foundation. The shortlisted titles were chosen from longlists announced in September and the winners of each category receive $10,000, while each finalist receives $1000. The winners will be announced at a ceremony on 20 November.

Two lifetime achievement awards will also be awarded: writer Edmund White will receive the National Book Foundation’s Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters and outgoing American Booksellers Association CEO Oren J Teicher will receive the Literarian Award for Outstanding Service to the American Literary Community.


Category: Awards International news