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Here is the longlist for the 2021 Aspen Words Literary Prize.

Rasheeda Saka

November 10, 2020, 10:14am

Today, Aspen Words announced the longlist for the 2021 Aspen Words Literary Prize, which honors a piece of fiction that speaks to our contemporary moment. The Award, which comes with a $35,000 cash prize, is one of the largest literary prizes in the United States and one of the few focused exclusively on fiction with a social impact. Previous winners include Tayari Jones, Christi Lefteri, and Mohsin Hamid.

According to the press release, the longlist includes 13 novels—five of which are debut titles—and 2 short story collections. For the first time, the longlist also includes titles from the following smaller publishing presses: Catapult, Feminist Press, and Tin House.

“The books on this longlist examine subjects that cut across racial, economic, political and sexual divides,” said Aspen Words Executive Director Adrienne Brodeur. “In the pages of these books, we read about many of the issues that are playing out before our eyes during this time of social upheaval—climate collapse, government breakdown, racism and sexism. And therein lies the power of reading fiction: to create empathy and allow us to imagine better ways of existing.”

The finalists will be announced on February 17, 2021, and the winner will be revealed at a virtual awards celebration the week of April 19, 2021.

Congrats to all!


2021 Longlist for the Aspen Words Literary Prize

Tola Rotimi Abraham, Black Sunday

Susan Abulhawa, Against the Loveless World

Rumaan Alam, Leave the World Behind

Brit Bennett, The Vanishing Half

Diane Cook, The New Wilderness

Juliana Delgado Lopera, Fiebre Tropical

Awkaeke Emezi, The Death of Vivek Oji

Louise Erdrich, The Night Watchman

Danielle Evans, The Office of Historical Corrections: A Novella and Stories

Yaa Gyasi, Transcendent Kingdom

Randall Kenan, If I Had Two Wings: Stories

Lydia Millet, A Children’s Bible: A Novel

Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi, A Girl is a Body of Water

Brandon Taylor, Real Life

Bryan Washington, Memorial

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