Skip to main content
You have permission to edit this article.
Edit
2020 National Book Awards finalists focus on BIPOC life, urgent issues

2020 National Book Awards finalists focus on BIPOC life, urgent issues

  • 0
Subscribe for $1 a month

This year's National Book Awards finalists suit the current moment to a tee.

Featuring stories about climate change, police violence against Black people and queer love stories, 25 works were chosen by the National Book Foundation on Tuesday in five categories: fiction, nonfiction, poetry, translated literature and young people's literature. Among the finalists are two writers previously recognized by the foundation - Lydia Millet, who made the awards longlist in 2016, and Charles Yu, a 2007 "5 Under 35" honoree. Eight of the 25 finalists are first-time authors.

When The Times asked authors to track what they do in isolation back in May, Yu wrote a "quarantine diary" for the paper. "Words bring us together, and that social cohesion is what we will need to get through the coming months," he wrote. "(That and 'Ozark.')"

Yu's most recent book, "Interior Chinatown" - a "portrait of Asian American identity" - is among the 2020 fiction finalists. Joining him are authors Rumaan Alam, Lydia Millet, Deesha Philyaw and Douglas Stuart, for work on everything from the multifaceted lives of Black women to the concept of safety in a time of global danger.

Reviewing Alam's novel "Leave the World Behind" for The Times, critic Mary Ann Gwinn called it "one of the saddest and most gripping books you will ever read."

The National Book Awards ceremony will go virtual this year on Nov. 18, streaming on YouTube and the Foundation's website, www.nationalbook.org. The event will award two lifetime achievement honors: Walter Mosley will be recognized with the Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters and Carolyn Reidy will posthumously receive the Literarian Award for Outstanding Service to the American Literary Community.

Carolyn Reidy, the late president and CEO of Simon & Schuster, will be awarded the Literarian Award at the 2020 National Book Award in November.

See the full list of finalists below.

Fiction

Rumaan Alam, "Leave the World Behind"

Lydia Millet, "A Children's Bible"

Deesha Philyaw, "The Secret Lives of Church Ladies"

Douglas Stuart, "Shuggie Bain"

Charles Yu, "Interior Chinatown"

Nonfiction

Karla Cornejo Villavicencio, "The Undocumented Americans"

Les Payne and Tamara Payne, "The Dead Are Arising: The Life of Malcolm X"

Claudio Saunt, "Unworthy Republic: The Dispossession of Native Americans and the Road to Indian Territory"

Jenn Shapland, "My Autobiography of Carson McCullers"

Jerald Walker, "How to Make a Slave and Other Essays"

Poetry

Mei-mei Berssenbrugge, "A Treatise on Stars"

Tommye Blount, "Fantasia for the Man in Blue"

Don Mee Choi, "DMZ Colony"

Anthony Cody, "Borderland Apocrypha"

Natalie Diaz, "Postcolonial Love Poem"

Translated literature

Anja Kampmann, "High as the Waters Rise"

Jonas Hassen Khemiri, "The Family Clause"

Yu Miri, "Tokyo Ueno Station"

Pilar Quintana, "The Bitch"

Adania Shibli, "Minor Detail"

Young people's literature

Kacen Callender, "King and the Dragonflies"

Traci Chee, "We Are Not Free"

Candice Iloh, "Every Body Looking"

Victoria Jamieson and Omar Mohamed, "When Stars Are Scattered"

Gavriel Savit, "The Way Back"

Visit the Los Angeles Times at www.latimes.com

Watch more

  • 0

Brian Carp gives a preview inside the 3,000-capacity Factory at the District in Chesterfield. The venue will feature many genres of music, and officials aim to open in early 2021.

Stay up-to-date on what's happening

* I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site constitutes agreement to its user agreement and privacy policy.

Related to this story

Most Popular

Get up-to-the-minute news sent straight to your device.

Topics

News Alerts

Blues News

Breaking News

Cardinals News

Daily 6

National Breaking News

Sports