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2018 National Book Award Finalists Announced

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Pierce Alquist

Senior Contributor

Pierce Alquist is a transplanted New Yorker living and working in the publishing scene in Boston. Don’t worry if she fooled you, the red hair is misleading. She’s a literature in translation devotee and reviewer and lover of small, independent presses. A voracious traveler and foodie, you can find her in her kitchen making borscht or covered in red pepper paste as she perfects her kimchi recipe.

The 2018 National Book Award finalists have been announced!

The National Book Foundation has announced its shortlists for the 2018 National Book Awards: 25 finalists in total in five categories—fiction, nonfiction, poetry, translated literature, and young people’s literature. The winner in each category will be announced at the 69th National Book Awards Ceremony held at Cipriani Wall Street in New York City on Wednesday, November 14. The ceremony will also be live-streamed online in its entirety.

The shortlists are as follows:


A Lucky Man by Jamel Brinkley (Graywolf)

Florida by Lauren Groff (Riverhead)

Where the Dead Sit Talking by Brandon Hobson (Soho)

The Great Believers by Rebecca Makkai (Viking)

The Friend by Sigrid Nunez (Riverhead)


The Indian World of George Washington: The First President, the First Americans, and the Birth of the Nation by Colin G. Calloway (Oxford UP)

American Eden: David Hosack, Botany, and Medicine in the Garden of the Early Republic by Victoria Johnson (Liveright)

Heartland: A Memoir of Working Hard and Being Broke in the Richest Country on Earth by Sarah Smarsh (Scribner)

The New Negro: The Life of Alain Locke by Jeffrey C. Stewart (Oxford UP)

We the Corporations: How American Businesses Won Their Civil Rights by Adam Winkler (Liveright)


Wobble by Rae Armantrout (Wesleyan UP)

American Sonnets for My Past and Future Assassin by Terrance Hayes (Penguin)

Ghost Of by Diana Khoi Nguyen (Omnidawn)

Indecency by Justin Phillip Reed (Coffee House)

Eye Level by Jenny Xie (Graywolf)

Translated Literature:

Disoriental by Négar Djavadi and translated by Tina Kover (Europa)

Love by Hanne Ørstavik and translated by Martin Aitken (Archipelago)

Trick by Domenico Starnone and translated by Jhumpa Lahiri (Europa Editions)

The Emissary by Yoko Tawada and translated by Margaret Mitsutani (New Directions)

Flights by Olga Tokarczuk and translated by Jennifer Croft (Riverhead)

Young People’s Literature:

The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo (HarperTeen)

The Assassination of Brangwain Spurge by M.T. Anderson and Eugene Yelchin (Candlewick)

The Truth as Told by Mason Buttle by Leslie Connor (HarperCollins/Tegen)

The Journey of Little Charlie by Christopher Paul Curtis (Scholastic Press)

Hey, Kiddo by Jarrett J. Krosoczka (Scholastic/Graphix)

And predictions on who the winners will be? Did a favorite of yours get left off the list? We’d love to know!