Lauren Groff, a National Book Award finalist, was nominated Tuesday in the fiction category for her third consecutive novel “Matrix.” Anthony Doerr’s multi-generational epic “Cloud Cuckoo Land,” which he has been writing since the Pulitzer Prize-winning work “All the Light We Cannot see”, also made the list.
Groff was a finalist for “Fates and Furies,” her marital saga, in 2015 and 2018, respectively. She joins a select group of authors like Rachel Carson and Vladimir Nabokov who have been cited three times in a row.
Other fiction finalists announced Tuesday include Laird Hunt’s “Zorrie”, an orphan’s story set in rural Indiana; Robert Jones Jr., a debut novelist’s “The Prophets,” a love story involving two enslaved men from the American South; Jason Mott’s meta-tale “Hell of a Book”, about a book tour as well as the author’s Southern childhood.
The long-lists were 10 in fiction, and there were four other categories that were competitive — poetry, translation, young people’s literature, nonfiction and poetry. Awards judges reduced each list to five Tuesdays after releasing the lists. Each winner will receive $10,000 and the ceremony will take place online on Nov. 17.
Already, two honorary winners have been announced: Karen Tei Yamashita, author and playwright, will be presented with a lifetime achievement medal in recognition of her Distinguished Contribution to American Letters. Nancy Pearl (author-librarian) will receive the Literarian Award for Outstanding Service to America’s Literary Community.
The judges, which include critics, authors and booksellers alike, selected nearly 1,900 books from publishers. The National Book Foundation, a non-profit organization, presents the awards.
Nonfiction: Hanif Abdurraqib’s “A Little Devil In America: Notes In Praise of Black Performance,” Lucas Bessire’s “Running Out” and Grace M. Cho’s “Tastes Like War” are the finalists. Nicole Eustace’s “Covered with Night” is a story of murder and Indigenous Justice in Early America. Tiya Miles’s book “All That She Carried, The Journey of Ashley’s Sack, a Black Family keepsa Black Family Keeps Sack, a Black Family.
Shing Yin Khar’s gra(hic novel “The Legend of Auntie Pou” was a finalist in young people’s literature. Also included were Malinda Lo’s “Last Night at the Telegraph Club,” Kyle Lukoff’s “Too Bright to See,” Kekla Magion’s nonfiction book “Revolution in Our Time : The Black Panther Party’s Promise to the People”, Amber McBride’s “Me (Moth)”
Desiree C. Bailey’s poem “What Noise Against the Cane,” Martin Espada’s “Floaters,” Douglas Kearney’s “Sho,” Hoa Naguyen’s “A Thousand Times You Lose Your Treasure” and Jackie Wang’s “The Sunflower Cast a Spell To Save Us From the Void” are the poetry finalists.
The finalists for translation were Elisa Shua dusapin’s “Winter in Sokcho,” translated from French by Anesa Abbas higgins; Ge Fei’s “Peach Blossom Parise” translated from Cantonese and Canaan Morse; Nona Florandez’s”The Twilight Zone,” translated by Natasha Wimmer; Benjamin Labatut’s “When we Cease to understand the World,” translated from Spanish by Adrian Nathan West, and Samar Yazbek’s [Planet of Clay] translated from Arabic by Leri price.
Notable works that made it to the long-lists but not into the final five are Honore Fanonne Jeffers’ debut novel, “The Love Songs of W.E.B.” and Richard Powers’ “Bewilderment”. Du Bois; Richard Powers’s “Bewilderment; Louis Menand’s nonfiction Cold War cultural historian “The Free World.”