The finalists for the 2017 National Book Awards have arrived.
The National Book Awards serve roughly the same function in the book world that the Oscars do in the movie world: They’re part of what the publication calendar is built around, and why so many great books come out toward the end of the year. In 2017, however, the National Book Award finalists are bypassing many much-hyped and much-discussed big releases in favor of shining the light on some titles that haven’t made as much noise.
In so doing, they’ve dropped some of the early favorites for this year’s prize. Pulitzer-winner Jennifer Egan’s Manhattan Beach was widely reviewed and much discussed, but although it was on the longlist for fiction, it didn’t advance to the final round. The Hate U Give was the hottest YA debut of the year — and a movie adaptation stuffed to the gills with big names is already filming — but it, too, was cut after the longlist.
That doesn’t mean that this year’s National Book Awards will be all wild cards. Jesmyn Ward won the 2011 award for her book Salvage the Bones, and she’s back among the finalists this year for her recent book Sing, Unburied, Sing.
The full list of finalists is below. The winners will be announced on November 15.
- Elliot Ackerman, Dark at the Crossing
- Lisa Ko, The Leavers
- Min Jin Lee, Pachinko
- Carmen Maria Machado, Her Body and Other Parties: Stories
- Jesmyn Ward, Sing, Unburied, Sing
- Erica Armstrong Dunbar, Never Caught: The Washingtons’ Relentless Pursuit of Their Runaway Slave, Ona Judge
- Frances FitzGerald, The Evangelicals: The Struggle to Shape America
- Masha Gessen, The Future Is History: How Totalitarianism Reclaimed Russia
- David Grann, Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI
- Nancy MacLean, Democracy in Chains: The Deep History of the Radical Right’s Stealth Plan for America
- Frank Bidart, Half-light: Collected Poems 1965-2016
- Leslie Harrison, The Book of Endings
- Layli Long Soldier, WHEREAS
- Shane McCrae, In the Language of My Captor
- Danez Smith, Don’t Call Us Dead: Poems