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Lauren Groff, Ta-Nehisi Coates Lead Longlists For National Book Awards

It's not often that you'll get the National Book Awards confused for that other NBA, but at least in this respect they're the same: They don't go picking their winners lightly — or quickly. Since 2013, in a bid to raise its profile, the prestigious literary prize has been unveiling and then whittling its lists of nominees over multiple rounds, over multiple months.

The first of these rounds wrapped up Thursday, as the National Book Foundation rolled out its longlist of 10 nominees for the fiction prize.

Among them are Hanya Yanagihara's A Little Life and Bill Clegg's Did You Ever Have a Family, two of the Americans who made this year's longlist for the formerly Brit-centric Man Booker Prize. (And Yanagihara made that award's shortlist, which was unveiled Tuesday.) Joining them are T. Geronimo Johnson's Welcome to Braggsville, which is a favorite of Fresh Air's Maureen Corrigan, and Lauren Groff's Fates and Furies, which is also the centerpiece of this month's Morning Edition book club.

And that's just four of the nominees — out of 40 total across four categories. The longlists for the NBA's three other categories were announced earlier this week: nonfiction, poetry and young people's literature. Among the notables there are journalist Ta-Nehisi Coates and photographer Sally Mann (both for nonfiction) and poet Terrance Hayes.

The full longlists for all four categories are below.

Over the next two months, the National Book Awards will winnow these lists to half their original number (shortlists announced Oct. 14), and ultimately decide the winners in each category in a ceremony Nov. 18.

Though one winner, at least, has already been decided: At the ceremony, novelist Don DeLillo will be awarded the Medal of Distinguished Contribution to American Letters — the National Book Foundation's version of a lifetime achievement award.

National Book Awards Longlist


  • Jesse Ball, A Cure for Suicide
  • Bill Clegg, Did You Ever Have a Family
  • Karen E. Bender, Refund
  • Angela Flournoy, The Turner House
  • Lauren Groff, Fates and Furies
  • Adam Johnson, Fortune Smiles
  • T. Geronimo Johnson, Welcome to Braggsville
  • Edith Pearlman, Honeydew
  • Hanya Yanagihara, A Little Life
  • Nell Zink, Mislaid


  • Cynthia Barnett, Rain
  • Ta-Nehisi Coates, Between the World and Me
  • Martha Hodes, Mourning Lincoln
  • Sally Mann, Hold Still
  • Sy Montgomery, The Soul of an Octopus
  • Susanna Moore, Paradise of the Pacific
  • Michael Paterniti, Love and Other Ways of Dying: Esssays
  • Carla Power, If the Oceans Were Ink: An Unlikely Friendship and a Journey to the Heart of the Quran
  • Tracy K. Smith, Ordinary Light
  • Michael White, Travels in Vermeer: A Memoir


  • Ross Gay, Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude
  • Amy Gerstler, Scattered at Sea
  • Marilyn Hacker, A Stranger's Mirror
  • Terrance Hayes, How to Be Drawn
  • Jane Hirshfield, The Beauty
  • Robin Coste Lewis, Voyage of the Sable Venus
  • Ada Limón, Bright Dead Things
  • Patrick Phillips, Elegy for a Broken Machine
  • Rowan Ricardo Phillips, Heaven
  • Lawrence Raab, Mistaking Each Other for Ghosts

Young People's Literature

  • Becky Albertalli, Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda
  • M.T. Anderson, Symphony for the City of the Dead: Dmitri Shostakovich and the Siege of Leningrad
  • Ali Benjamin, The Thing About Jellyfish
  • Rae Carson, Walk on Earth a Stranger
  • Gary Paulsen, This Side of Wild: Mutts, Mares, and Laughing Dinosaurs
  • Laura Ruby, Bone Gap
  • Ilyasah Shabazz, with Kekla Magoon, X: A Novel
  • Steve Sheinkin, Most Dangerous: Daniel Ellsberg and the Secret History of the Vietnam War
  • Neal Shusterman, Challenger Deep
  • Noelle Stevenson, Nimona
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