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National Book Award Finalists Announced 9

Here’s a list of the finalists for the National Book Awards. Dallas author Samantha Mabry, whose novel ‘All the Wind in the World’ was long-listed in the category “young people’s literature,” did not make it to the next round. “All The Wind In The World” is a post-apocalyptic tale of two young people scrabbling to survive as farmworkers in the Maguey fields cultivated across the Southwest.  I had a great time chatting with her recently, and that conversation will air on KERA Friday.

It’s worth checking out the longlist of finalists. You can plot months of reading with it. The National Book Awards winners will be announced Nov. 15.



  • Elliot Ackerman, Dark at the Crossing
    (Knopf / Penguin Random House)
  • Lisa Ko, The Leavers
    (Algonquin Books / Workman Publishing)
  • Min Jin Lee, Pachinko
    (Grand Central Publishing / Hachette Book Group)
  • Carmen Maria Machado, Her Body and Other Parties: Stories
    (Graywolf Press)
  • Jesmyn Ward, Sing, Unburied, Sing
    (Scribner / Simon & Schuster)



  • Erica Armstrong Dunbar, Never Caught: The Washingtons’ Relentless Pursuit of Their Runaway Slave, Ona Judge
    (Atria / 37 INK / Simon & Schuster)
  • Frances FitzGerald, The Evangelicals: The Struggle to Shape America
    (Simon & Schuster)
  • Masha Gessen, The Future Is History: How Totalitarianism Reclaimed Russia
    (Riverhead Books / Penguin Random House)
  • David Grann, Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI
    (Doubleday / Penguin Random House)
  • Nancy MacLean, Democracy in Chains: The Deep History of the Radical Right’s Stealth Plan for America
    (Viking / Penguin Random House



  • Frank Bidart, Half-light: Collected Poems 1965-2016 (Farrar, Straus and Giroux / Macmillan Publishers)
  • Leslie Harrison, The Book of Endings (University of Akron Press)
  • Layli Long Soldier, WHEREAS (Graywolf Press)
  • Shane McCrae, In the Language of My Captor (Wesleyan University Press)
  • Danez Smith, Don’t Call Us Dead: Poems (Graywolf Press)



  • Elana K. Arnold, What Girls Are Made Of (Carolrhoda Lab / Lerner Publishing Group)
  • Robin Benway, Far from the Tree (HarperTeen / HarperCollins Publishers)
  • Erika L. Sánchez, I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter
    (Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers / Penguin Random House)
  • Rita Williams-Garcia, Clayton Byrd Goes Underground (Amistad / HarperCollins Publishers)
  • Ibi Zoboi, American Street (Balzer + Bray / HarperCollins Publishers)