2020 National Book Awards Finalists

This year’s twenty five National Book Awards finalists sport titles which feature diverse stories and narratives. Five finalists have been chosen for each of the five categories: fiction, nonfiction, poetry, young people’s literature, and translated literature. The winners will be announced during an online ceremony taking place on November eighteenth.


Fiction finalists include Rumaan Alam’s novel, Leave the World Behind, Lydia Millet’s A Children’s Bible, Deesha Philyaw’s The Secret Lives of Church Ladies, Douglas Stuart’s Shuggie Bain, and Interior Chinatown by Charles Yu.

The nonfiction finalists are Mei-mei Berssenbrugge for A Treatise on Stars, Tommy Blount for Fantasia for the Man in Blue, Don Mee Choi for DMZ Colony, Anthony Cody for Borderland Apocrypha, and Natalie Diaz for Postcolonial Love Poem.

Young People’s literature finalists include Kacen Callender’s King and the Dragonflies, Traci Chee’s We Are Not Free, Candice Iloh’s Every Body Looking, When Stars are Scattered by Victoria Jamieson and Omar Mohamed, and The Way Back by Gavriel Savit.


The Washington Post stated the historical significance of these finalists’ work well:

“Books about race and the struggle for equality feature prominently among the finalists for the National Book Awards announced Tuesday. The 25 honored titles include a satire of Hollywood’s Asian American stereotypes, a history of the forced relocation of Native Americans, a biography of Malcolm X and a YA novel about the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II.”

Featured image via Vulture