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The 2017 National Book Award Finalists

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Liberty Hardy

Senior Contributing Editor

Liberty Hardy is an unrepentant velocireader, writer, bitey mad lady, and tattoo canvas. Turn-ons include books, books and books. Her favorite exclamation is “Holy cats!” Liberty reads more than should be legal, sleeps very little, frequently writes on her belly with Sharpie markers, and when she dies, she’s leaving her body to library science. Until then, she lives with her three cats, Millay, Farrokh, and Zevon, in Maine. She is also right behind you. Just kidding! She’s too busy reading. Twitter: @MissLiberty

Forty books entered, 20 books came out: Here are the 2017 National Book Award finalists.

American Street

Young People’s Literature

What Girls Are Made Of by Elana K. Arnold

Far from the Tree by Robin Benway

I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter by Erika L. Sánchez

Clayton Byrd Goes Underground by Rita Williams-Garcia

American Street by Ibi Zoboi

The judges this year are:

  • Suzanna Hermans
  • Brendan Kiely
  • Kekla Magoon
  • Meg Medina
  • Alex Sanchez


don't call us dead by danez smithHalf-Light: Collected Poems 1965-2016 by Frank Bidart

The Book of Endings by Leslie Harrison

Whereas by Layli Long Soldier

In the Language of My Captor by Shane McCrae

Don’t Call Us Dead by Danez Smith

The judges this year are:

  • Gregory Pardlo
  • Jane Mead
  • Nick Flynn
  • Monica Youn
  • Richard Siken



the evangelicalsNever Caught: The Washingtons’ Relentless Pursuit of Their Runaway Slave, Ona Judge by Erica Armstrong Dunbar

The Evangelicals: The Struggle to Shape America by Frances FitzGerald

The Future Is History: How Totalitarianism Reclaimed Russia by Masha Gessen

Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the F.B.I. by David Grann

Democracy in Chains: The Deep History of the Radical Right’s Stealth Plan for America by Nancy MacLean

The judges this year are:

Steve Bercu

Jeff Chang

Paula J. Giddings

Ruth Franklin

Valeria Luiselli



sing unburied singDark at the Crossing by Elliot Ackerman

The Leavers by Lisa Ko

Pachinko by Min Jin Lee

Her Body and Other Parties: Stories by Carmen Maria Machado

Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward

The judges this year are:

  • Alexander Chee
  • Dave Eggers
  • Annie Philbrick
  • Karolina Waclawiak
  • Jacqueline Woodson


The winners will be announced on November 15th. Last week, the NBA Foundation also announced its picks for the 5 Under 35 award.