Marlon James is among the 25 finalists for the 2019 National Book Awards’. The categories are Fiction, Nonfiction, Poetry, Translated Literature, and Young People’s Literature.
James won the 2015’s Man Booker Prize for Fiction for A Brief History of Seven Killings (One World), and was shortlisted for the $10,000 fiction award for his new 600+-page book Black Leopard, Red Wolf (Riverhead Books/ Penguin Random House), the first volume in his “Dark Star Trilogy” which dives into African mythology and folklore.
James will compete for the prestigious American award against three other Penguin Random House stablemates, Kali Fajardo-Anstine, for short story collection Sabrina & Corina: Stories (One World / Penguin Random House) and Julia Phillips’s thriller Disappearing Earth (Alfred A. Knopf / Penguin Random House), Laila Lalami, for The Other Americans (Pantheon Books / Penguin Random House) about the suspicious death of a Moroccan immigrant. Susan Choi, is also in the running for her coming-of-age novel Trust Exercise (Henry Holt and Company/ Macmillan Publishers).
Non-fiction finalists include Tressie McMillan Cottom’s Thick: And Other Essays (The New Press) exploring the experience of black womanhood in America. Sarah M Broom’s memoir The Yellow House (Grove Press / Grove Atlantic), about a family in New Orleans before and after Hurricane Katrina. It is up against the life story of a man who served four decades in solitary confinement for a crime he didn’t commit, Solitary by Albert Woodfox with Leslie George ((Grove Press / Grove Atlantic), Also competing in this category are Carolyn Forché’s What You Have Heard is True: A Memoir of Witness and Resistance (Penguin Press / Penguin Random House) and David Treuer’s The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee: Native America from 1890 to the Present (Riverhead Books / Penguin Random House).
The translated literature category recognises work translated from Arabic, French, Hungarian, Japanese, and Finnish, including from László Krasznahorkai and Yoko Ogawa.
The the 2019 National Book Awards publishers submitted a total of 1,712 books: 397 Fiction, 600 Nonfiction, 245 Poetry, 145 Translated Literature, and 325 in Young People’s Literature. Five finalists in each category were selected by a panel of literary experts, advanced from the longlists announced in September. Each finalist gets prize of $1,000, a medal, and a judge’s citation. Winners receive $10,000 and a bronze sculpture.
The winners to be announced on 20th November in New York City.