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Here are the finalists nominated for a 2021 National Book Award

A selection of the 2021 National Book Award finalists
Courtesy of the National Book Awards
A selection of the 2021 National Book Award finalists

Sweater, on. Tea, steeping. Blanket, splayed. As we enter the cozy vibes of autumn, all that's missing from this picture is a good book. If you need help picking one, the National Book Foundation just announced its finalists for this year's awards.

A handful of the short-listed writers named have been honored previously by the National Book Awards, including newly minted MacArthur "genius" Hanif Abdurraqib, three-time finalist Lauren Groff and young-adult book author Kekla Magoon.

Alternately, there are writers on the list whose debut works are being honored, such as Robert Jones Jr. His book, The Prophets, is a love story about two enslaved men on a plantation.

The winners will be announced at a virtual ceremony on Nov. 17. Winners of a National Book Award receive $10,000. The full list is below.


Anthony Doerr, Cloud Cuckoo Land

Lauren Groff, Matrix

Laird Hunt, Zorrie

Robert Jones, Jr., The Prophets

Jason Mott, Hell of a Book


Hanif Abdurraqib, A Little Devil in America: Notes In Praise of Black Performance

Lucas Bessire, Running Out: In Search of Water on the High Plains

Grace M. Cho, Tastes Like War: A Memoir

Nicole Eustace, Covered with Night: A Story of Murder and Indigenous Justice in Early America

Tiya Miles, All That She Carried: The Journey of Ashley's Sack, a Black Family's Keepsake


Desiree C. Bailey, What Noise Against the Cane

Martín Espada, Floaters

Douglas Kearny, Sho

Hoa Nguyen, A Thousand times You Lose Your Treasure

Jackie Wang, The Sunflower Cast a Spell to Save Us from the Void

Translated Literature

Elisa Shua Dusapin, Winter in Sokcho. Translated by Aneesa Abbas Higgins

Ge Fei, Peach Blossom Paradise. Translated by Canaan Morse

Nona Fernández, The Twilight Zone. Translated by Natasha Wimmer

Benjamín Labatut, When We Cease to Understand the World. Translated by Adrian Nathan West

Samar Yazbek, Planet of Clay. Translated by Leri Price

Young People's Literature

Shing Yin Khor, The Legend of Auntie Po

Malinda Lo, Last Night at the Telegraph Club

Kyle Lukoff, Too Bright to See

Kekla Magoon, Revolution in Our Time: The Black Panther Party's Promise to the People

Amber McBride, Me (Moth)

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Andrew Limbong is a reporter for NPR's Arts Desk, where he does pieces on anything remotely related to arts or culture, from streamers looking for mental health on Twitch to Britney Spears' fight over her conservatorship. He's also covered the near collapse of the live music industry during the coronavirus pandemic. He's the host of NPR's Book of the Day podcast and a frequent host on Life Kit.

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