National Book Awards Short-List Finalists Announced

Which books are your favorites to win on November 18?


The National Book Awards have released their short-list, meaning each category has been reduced to just five selections, with 20 finalists in total. Favorites seem to be emerging in each category except for perhaps, poetry. Lauren Groff’s Fates and Furies has been one of the most critically acclaimed novels of the year. The non-fiction category is in a dead heat between Ta-Nehisi Coates’ Between the World and Me, his memoir on race in America, and photographer Sally Mann’s memoir Hold Still. For young people’s literature, Noelle Stevenson’s Nimona seems to be the favorite.

Winners will be named at the National Book Awards dinner on November 18—each will go home with a bronze statuette and $10,000 in prize money.

Which are your favorites? And who do you think will win?


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 a Journey 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