20 finalists announced for the 2016 National Book Awards

Categories include fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and young people's literature

Last Thursday, the National Book Foundation announced the 20 finalists for the 2016 National Book Awards, Colin Dwyer reports for NPR.

The finalists span four genres—fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and young people's literature—and include veteran and first-time nominees alike.

Prominent authors who have won awards in the past include Jacqueline Woodson, Viet Thanh Nguyen, and Rita Dove, while first and second-time finalists include Solmaz Sharif and Nicola Yoon.

On November 16, one winner will be selected from each category. Prizes for the four overall winners will consist of $10,000, a medal, a statue, and tremendous praise.

 One additional winner, however, has already been announced for "distinguished contribution to American letters." The title goes to Robert A. Caro, who wrote the acclaimed biographies The Years of Lyndon Johnson: The Path to Power and The Power Broker: Robert Moses and the Fall of New York.

 The finalists in each category and their book titles are:


  • Chris Bachelder, The Throwback Special;
  • Paulette Jiles, News of the World;
  • Karan Mahajan, The Association of Small Bombs;
  • Colson Whitehead, The Underground Railroad; and
  • Jacqueline Woodson, Another Brooklyn.


  • Arlie Russel Hochschild, Strangers in Their Own Land: Anger and Mourning on the American Right;
  • Ibram X. Kendi, Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America;
  • Viet Thanh Nguyen, Nothing Ever Dies: Vietnam and the Memory of War;
  • Andrés Reséndez, The Other Slavery: The Uncovered Story of Indian Enslavement in America; and
  • Heather Ann Thompson, Blood in the Water: The Attica Prison Uprising of 1971 and Its Legacy.

Also see: Redefine your library's role for a digital age


  • Daniel Borzutzky, The Performance of Becoming Human;
  • Rita Dove, Collected Poems 1974 – 2004;
  • Peter Gizzi, Archeophonics;
  • Jay Hopler, The Abridged History of Rainfall; and
  • Solmaz Sharif, Look.

Young People's Literature:

  • Kate DiCamillo, Raymie Nightingale;
  • John Lewis, Andrew Aydin & Nate Powell, March: Book Three;
  • Grace Lin, When the Sea Turned to Silver;
  • Jason Reynolds, Ghost; and
  • Nicola Yoon, The Sun is Also a Star (Dwyer, NPR, 10/6).

Read more: 3 ways to optimize and reallocate library space



Next in Today's Briefing

Everyone's a little bit biased, sometimes

Next Briefing

  • Manage Your Events
  • Saved webpages and searches
  • Manage your subscriptions
  • Update personal information
  • Invite a colleague