2015 National Book Award Shortlist

22 Oct 2015

Since its beginning in 1936, the National Book Awards have harvested a selection of premium stories written by the best current authors. In four areas (Fiction, Nonfiction, Poetry, and Young People’s Fiction) 5 panelists, made up of acclaimed writers, go through hundreds of books in the voting process. While these books are submitted by publishers, those on the judging panel can request certain books they deem worthy of the honor. With the longlist released in September, and the Shortlist released last week, it won’t be long before the finalist is announced at the NBA Ceremony on November 18. Read on to see the books still in the running, as well as the Longlist runner-ups for each category. Happy Reading!


Fiction Finalists:

Refund: Stories by Karen E. Bender: A collection of stories that revolve around money, what people do to receive or lose it, and how it impacts perceptions of worth.

The Turner House by Angela Flournoy: The fate of a home in Detroit that has seen decades of family members and many fires is to be decided by generations of its previous tenants.

Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff: Delve into the 24 year long marriage that lasted, not in spite of, but because of its secrets. Complex, intriguing, and emotionally binding.

Fortune Smiles: Stories by Adam Johnson: A collection of stories that offer a new look into the world with its new technologies, yet unshakable tendencies.

A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara: The story of four college friends who grow together to face obstacles that shake and shatter previous held conceptions of friendship, love, and life.



Nonfiction Finalists:

Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates: A powerful contemporary voice writes to his son in this long letter regarding the conception of race, the way it shaped our nation, and what can be done to alter it.

Hold Still by Sally Mann: A personal history of a Southern family presented in an entirely unique manner with letters, photographs, and much more than she thought to find.

The Soul of an Octopus by Sy Montgomery: One woman’s connection with an octopus inspired her to explore, investigate, and reveal the depths of the intelligent creatures we know so little about.

If the Oceans Were Ink: An Unlikely Friendship and a Journey to the Heart of the Quran by Carla Power: A journalist and a Sheikh spend a year reading, interpreting, and arguing the content of the Quran in different cultural settings around the world.

Ordinary Light by Tracy K. Smith: The personal story of one woman’s adaption of faith, life, and race in America as she encounters higher education and family grief.



Young People’s Fiction Finalists:


The Thing About Jellyfish by Ali Benjamin: A youth shaken by the death of her best friend sets off on a journey to prove her own theory regarding the passing of her friend and jellyfish.

Bone Gap by Laura Ruby: This story follows the life of a young Midwestern girl who was kidnapped and the only witness to the event who could not identify the perpetrator of the crime.

Most Dangerous: Daniel Elisberg and the Secret History of the Vietnam War by Steve Sheinkin: The story of the a government analyst who leaked the Pentagon papers to the NY Times in what would be known as one of the biggest expositions of US Government misdeeds to date.

Challenger Deep by Neal Shusterman: A youth troubled by his own odd behavior and mental health issues threads between life in school and life as an artist aboard a ship.

Nimona by Noelle Stevenson: Two villains team up to prove the heroes of the kingdom everyone praises aren’t the good people everyone thinks them to be.



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