The National Book Foundation announced the long list nominees for 2021 National Book Prizes.
Among the nominees for fiction is Lauren Groff, whose book “The Matrix” received one rave review (out of four) of USA TODAY. Critic Steph Cha called the historic book, about a prioress of an impoverished medieval abbey, “a relentless display of Groff’s frightening talent.” Groff had previously been nominated for her 2015 novel “Fates and Furies”.
First-time novelist Robert Jones Jr. is also on the list for “The Prophets,” a historical novel about two gay men enslaved on a plantation in the prewar south.
“’The Prophets’ is full of otherworldly and extremely artistic tales, and readers are sure to lose themselves in a radiant romance. ” reads ★★★★ review for USA TODAY. “But most importantly, Jones adds to the growing body of literature that reinvents slavery.”
Previously nominated author Anthony Doerr, whose 2014 novel “All the Light We Can’t See” was on this year’s shortlist, returns with his new novel, “Cloud Cuckoo Land.”
On Thursday, the nominees for the non-fiction were announced. Among them is Ohio poet and essayist Hanif Abdurraqib, whose book “A Little Devil in America: Notes in Praise of Black Performance” meditates on black artistic performance in the United States and how it is inextricably linked. woven into the fabric of American culture.
In a ★★★ (of four) review of the book for USA TODAY, Darryl Robertson writes: “Abdurraqib digs into historical, musical and personal chests to unearth layered performance moments, such as dancing in a basement on the east side of Columbus, Ohio, to the music and videos of Whitney Houston; conversations with elders at a local barbecue in Memphis; and Joséphine Baker working as a spy for the French army.
Clint Smith is also nominated for his book “How the Word Is Passed: A Reckoning with the History of Slavery Across America”. In a 1/2 (of four) review of the book for USA TODAYChris Vognar writes: “By visiting ancient plantations, cemeteries and seaside communities and dealing with Confederate monuments, prison conditions and nostalgia for the lost cause, Smith, editor at The Atlantic, aims to show how what happened just over 150 years ago can That doesn’t stop me from casting a shadow over what is happening now, especially not when for the price of a bus ticket you can be brought back to the scene of the crime.
For the full list of nominees, including children’s literature, translated literature and poetry, visit nationalbook.org. The finalists for the five categories will be announced on October 5 and the winners will be announced on November 17. The National Book Foundation plans to host the winners’ event in person this year after making last year’s ceremony virtual due to the pandemic.
Last year’s winners were Charles Yu for fiction for his novel “Interior Chinatown”; Les Payne and Tamara Payne for their non-fiction book “The Dead are Arising: The Life of Malcolm X”; Kacen Callender for children’s literature with “The King and the Dragonflies”; Yu Miri for “Tokyo Ueno Station”, translated from Japanese by Morgan Giles, for translated literature; and by Don Mee Choi for poetry with “DMZ Colony”.
Longlist 2021 nominees for fiction
- Anthony doerr, “Land of the cuckoo clock”
- Lauren Groff, “Matrix”
- Jakob Guanzon, “Abundance”
- Laird hunt, “Zorrie”
- Honorée Fanonne Jeffers, “The love songs of WEB Du Bois”
- Robert Jones Jr., “The Prophets”
- Katie Kitamura, “Privacy”
- Elizabeth mccracken, “The Museum of Remembrance”
- Jason mott, “The hell of a book”
- Richard Powers, “Perplexity”
Longlist 2021 nominees for non-fiction
- Hanif Abdurraqib, “A Little Devil in America: Notes in Praise of Black Performance”
- Lucas bessire, “Escape: in search of water on the high plains”
- Grace M. Cho, “The taste of war: a memoir”
- Scott Ellsworth, “The Ground Breaking: An American City and Its Quest for Justice”
- Nicole eustache, “Covered With Night: A History of Murder and Indigenous Justice in Early America”
- Heather McGhee, “The Sum of Us: What Racism Costs Everyone and How We Can Thrive Together”
- Louis menand, “The Free World: Art and Thought in the Cold War”
- Tiya miles, “Everything She Wore: The Trip of Ashley’s Bag, A Keepsake of the Black Family”
- Clint smith, “How the Word Gained: A Review of the History of Slavery Across America”
- Deborah Willis, “The Black Soldier of the Civil War: A Visual History of Conflict and Citizenship”