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Here are the finalists for the 2020 National Book Awards.

Rasheeda Saka

October 6, 2020, 10:45am

Today, The Washington Post announced all of the finalists for the 2020 National Book Awards. The twenty-five finalists were selected from fifty longlisted writers across five genres—Young People’s Literature, Translated Literature, Poetry, Nonfiction, and Fiction—by a distinguished panel of literary experts. Of the finalists, two writers have been previously honored by the National Book Foundation: Lydia Millet, who was longlisted in 2016 for her novel Sweet Lamb of Heaven, and Charles Yu, who was a 2007 5 Under 35 honoree. Eight out of twenty-five titles are from debut writers.

The winner in each category will be announced live at the virtual National Book Awards Ceremony on November 18th. A hearty congrats to all!


Finalists for the 2020 National Book Awards


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


Karla Cornejo Villavicencio, The Undocumented Americans

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

Jenn Shapland, My Autobiography of Carson McCullers

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

Jerald Walker, How to Make a Slave and Other Essays


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


Anja Kampmann, High as the Waters
Translated from the German by Anne Posten

Jonas Hassen Khemiri, The Family Clause
Translated from the Swedish by Alice Menzies

Yu Miri, Tokyo Ueno Station
Translated from the Japanese by Morgan Giles

Pilar Quintana, The Bitch
Translated from the Spanish Lisa Dillman

Adania Shibli, Minor Detail
Translated from the Arabic by Elisabeth Jaquette


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

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