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Here are the 2021 National Book Award Finalists.

Emily Temple

October 5, 2021, 10:15am

Today, the National Book Foundation announced the twenty-five finalists for the 2021 National Book Awards—five each in the categories of fiction, nonfiction, translated literature, poetry, and young people’s literature. This year’s winners will be announced live on Wednesday, November 17th at the National Book Awards Ceremony, which this year will again be held online. Winners will receive $10,000 and a bronze medal and statue; Finalists will receive $1,000 and a bronze medal. This year, the National Book Foundation’s Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters will be presented to Karen Tei Yamashita, and the Foundation’s Literarian Award for Outstanding Service to the American Literary Community will be presented to Nancy Pearl.

Here are the twenty-five finalists:


Anthony Doerr, Cloud Cuckoo Land
Scribner / Simon & Schuster

Lauren Groff, Matrix
Riverhead Books / Penguin Random House

Laird Hunt, Zorrie
Bloomsbury Publishing

Robert Jones, Jr., The Prophets
G. P. Putnam’s Sons / Penguin Random House

Jason Mott, Hell of a Book
Dutton / Penguin Random House



Hanif Abdurraqib, A Little Devil in America: Notes in Praise of Black Performance
Random House / Penguin Random House

Lucas Bessire, Running Out: In Search of Water on the High Plains
Princeton University Press

Grace M. Cho, Tastes Like War: A Memoir
Feminist Press at the City University of New York

Nicole Eustace, Covered with Night: A Story of Murder and Indigenous Justice in Early America
Liveright / W. W. Norton & Company

Tiya Miles, All That She Carried: The Journey of Ashley’s Sack, a Black Family Keepsake
Random House / Penguin Random House



Desiree C. Bailey, What Noise Against the Cane
Yale University Press

Martín Espada, Floaters
W. W. Norton & Company

Douglas Kearney, Sho
Wave Books

Hoa Nguyen, A Thousand Times You Lose Your Treasure
Wave Books

Jackie Wang, The Sunflower Cast A Spell To Save Us From The Void
Nightboat Books



Elisa Shua Dusapin, Winter in Sokcho
Translated from the French by Aneesa Abbas Higgins
(Open Letter)

Ge Fei, Peach Blossom Paradise
Translated from the Chinese by Canaan Morse
(New York Review Books)

Nona Fernández, The Twilight Zone
Translated from the Spanish by Natasha Wimmer
(Graywolf Press)

Benjamín Labatut, When We Cease to Understand the World
Translated from the Spanish by Adrian Nathan West
(New York Review Books)

Samar Yazbek, Planet of Clay
Translated from the Arabic by Leri Price
(World Editions)



Shing Yin Khor, The Legend of Auntie Po
(Kokila / Penguin Random House)

Malinda Lo, Last Night at the Telegraph Club
(Dutton Books for Young Readers / Penguin Random House)

Kyle Lukoff, Too Bright to See
(Dial Books for Young Readers / Penguin Random House)

Kekla Magoon, Revolution in Our Time: The Black Panther Party’s Promise to the People
(Candlewick Press)

Amber McBride, Me (Moth)
(Feiwel and Friends / Macmillan Publishers)

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