--SAY NOTHING by Patrick Radden Keefe --THE NEED by Helen Phillips --THE OTHER AMERICANS by Laila Lalami
Credit: Doubleday; Pantheon; Simon & Schuster

The nominees for the biggest award in books are in.

Over the past week, the National Book Foundation has announced the longlists for each of the five National Book Award categories: Fiction, Nonfiction, Young People’s Literature, Translated Literature, and Poetry. These recognize the best in 2019 American books. Next month, the lists will be halved to recognize the 25 finalists, and the awards will be held in New York in November.

In Fiction, several debut novels are recognized including Fleishman Is in Trouble by Taffy Brodesser-Akner, Disappearing Earth by Julia Phillips, and On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong. They’re placed alongside past award-winning heavyweights: Pulitzer Prize finalists Laila Lalami and Susan Choi; Booker Prize winner Marlon James; and Colson Whitehead, whose last novel The Underground Railroad won both the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize.

The eclectic mix in Nonfiction represents rigorous reportage, such as Patrick Radden Keefe’s Say Nothing, as well as introspective memoir. Among YA candidates, Laurie Halse Anderson stands out; the beloved Speak author made an acclaimed return to form with her poetic memoir SHOUT. And in Translated Literature, Olga Tokarczuk makes the Top 10 for the second year in a row (and in as many years as the category has existed): Last year, she was cited for Flights, which was one of EW’s Best Books of 2018, and now returns for Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead.

Check out the full lists below.


  • Taffy Brodesser-Akner, Fleishman Is in Trouble
    Random House / Penguin Random House
  • Susan Choi, Trust Exercise
    Henry Holt & Company / Macmillan Publishers
  • Kali Fajardo-Anstine, Sabrina & Corina: Stories
    One World / Penguin Random House
  • Marlon James, Black Leopard, Red Wolf
    Riverhead Books / Penguin Random House
  • Laila Lalami, The Other Americans
    Pantheon Books / Penguin Random House
  • Kimberly King Parsons, Black Light: Stories
    Vintage / Penguin Random House
  • Helen Phillips, The Need
    Simon & Schuster
  • Julia Phillips, Disappearing Earth
    Alfred A. Knopf / Penguin Random House
  • Ocean Vuong, On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous
    Penguin Press / Penguin Random House
  • Colson Whitehead, The Nickel Boys
    Doubleday / Penguin Random House


  • Hanif Abdurraqib, Go Ahead in the Rain: Notes to A Tribe Called Quest
    University of Texas Press
  • Sarah M. Broom, The Yellow House
    Grove Press / Grove Atlantic
  • Tressie McMillan Cottom, Thick: And Other Essays
    The New Press
  • Carolyn Forché, What You Have Heard is True: A Memoir of Witness and Resistance
    Penguin Press / Penguin Random House
  • Greg Grandin, The End of the Myth: From the Frontier to the Border Wall in the Mind of America
    Metropolitan Books / Macmillan Publishers
  • Patrick Radden Keefe, Say Nothing: A True Story of Murder and Memory in Northern Ireland
    Doubleday / Penguin Random House
  • Iliana Regan, Burn the Place: A Memoir
    Agate Midway / Agate Publishing, Inc.
  • Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, Race for Profit: How Banks and the Real Estate Industry Undermined Black Homeownership
    The University of North Carolina Press
  • David Treuer, The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee: Native America from 1890 to the Present
    Riverhead Books / Penguin Random House
  • Albert Woodfox with Leslie George, Solitary
    Grove Press / Grove Atlantic


  • Kwame Alexander; illustrations by Kadir Nelson, The Undefeated
    Versify / Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Laurie Halse Anderson, SHOUT
    Viking Books for Young Readers / Penguin Random House
  • Akwaeke Emezi, Pet
    Make Me a World / Penguin Random House
  • Cynthia Kadohata, A Place to Belong
    With illustrations by Julia Kuo
    Atheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy Books / Simon & Schuster
  • Jason Reynolds, Look Both Ways: A Tale Told in Ten Blocks
    Atheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy Books / Simon & Schuster
  • Randy Ribay, Patron Saints of Nothing
    Kokila / Penguin Random House
  • Laura Ruby, Thirteen Doorways, Wolves Behind Them All
    Balzer + Bray / HarperCollins Publishers
  • Martin W. Sandler, 1919: The Year That Changed America
    Bloomsbury Children’s Books / Bloomsbury Publishing
  • Hal Schrieve, Out of Salem
    Triangle Square / Seven Stories Press
  • Colleen AF Venable and Ellen T. Crenshaw, Kiss Number 8
    First Second Books / Macmillan Publishers


  • Naja Marie Aidt, When Death Takes Something from You Give It Back: Carl’s Book
    Translated by Denise Newman
    Coffee House Press
  • Eliane Brum, The Collector of Leftover Souls: Field Notes on Brazil’s Everyday Insurrections
    Translated by Diane Grosklaus Whitty
    Graywolf Press
  • Nona Fernández, Space Invaders
    Translated by Natasha Wimmer
    Graywolf Press
  • Vigdis Hjorth, Will and Testament
    Translated by Charlotte Barslund
    Verso Fiction / Verso Books
  • Khaled Khalifa, Death is Hard Work
    Translated by Leri Price
    Farrar, Straus and Giroux / Macmillan Publishers
  • László Krasznahorkai, Baron Wenckheim’s Homecoming
    Translated by Ottilie Mulzet
    New Directions
  • Scholastique Mukasonga, The Barefoot Woman
    Translated by Jordan Stump
    Archipelago Books
  • Yoko Ogawa, The Memory Police
    Translated by Stephen Snyder
    Pantheon Books / Penguin Random House
  • Pajtim Statovci, Crossing
    Translated by David Hackston
    Pantheon Books / Penguin Random House
  • Olga Tokarczuk, Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead
    Translated by Antonia Lloyd-Jones
    Riverhead Books / Penguin Random House


  • Dan Beachy-Quick, Variations on Dawn and Dusk
    Omnidawn Publishing
  • Jericho Brown, The Tradition
    Copper Canyon Press
  • Toi Derricotte, “I”: New and Selected Poems
    University of Pittsburgh Press
  • Camonghne Felix, Build Yourself a Boat
    Haymarket Books
  • Ilya Kaminsky, Deaf Republic
    Graywolf Press
  • Ariana Reines, A Sand Book
    Tin House Books
  • Mary Ruefle, Dunce
    Wave Books
  • Carmen Giménez Smith, Be Recorder
    Graywolf Press
  • Arthur Sze, Sight Lines
    Copper Canyon Press
  • Brian Teare, Doomstead Days
    Nightboat Books

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