NEW YORK — A story collection by Lauren Groff, an Italian novel translated by Jhumpa Lahiri and poetry by Terrance Hayes were among the finalists announced Wednesday for the National Book Awards.
Judges selected by the National Book Foundation chose five nominees in each of five categories — fiction, nonfiction, poetry, young people's literature and translation — narrowed from longlists of 10 authors that came out last month. Winners will be revealed Nov. 14 during a dinner ceremony in Manhattan, when honorary awards will be given to Isabel Allende and to Doron Weber of the Sloan Foundation.
Groff, a fiction finalist in 2015 for the novel "Fates and Furies," was nominated Wednesday for "Florida." Others in fiction include Jamal Brinkley for his debut book of stories "A Lucky Man," Brandon Hobson for "Where the Dead Sit Talking," Rebecca Makkai for "The Great Believers" and Sigrid Nunez for "The Friend." In a year when few literary works had commercial success, two of the most talked about novels appeared on the longlist, but not in the final five: Tommy Orange's debut novel "There There" and Tayari Jones' "An American Marriage," which Oprah Winfrey selected for her book club.
Lahiri, a Pulitzer Prize winner and former National Book Award fiction finalist, is among the nominees in the newly created translation category. She was cited for her work on Domenico Starnone's "Trick." Others chosen were Tina Kover, who translated Negar Djavadi's "Disoriental" from the French; Martin Aitken, who translated Hanne Orstavik's "Love" from the Norwegian; Margaret Mitsutani, who translated Yoko Tawada's "The Emissary" from the Japanese; and Jennifer Croft, who worked on the English edition of the acclaimed Polish author Olga Tokarczuk's "Flights."
In nonfiction, books touched upon everything from American Indians in the 18th century to poverty and capitalism in the country today. The nominees are Colin G. Calloway for "The Indian World of George Washington: The First President, the First Americans, and the Birth of the Nation," Victoria Johnson for "American Eden: David Hosack, Botany, and Medicine in the Garden of the Early Republic," Sarah Smarsh's "Heartland: A Memoir of Working Hard and Being Broke in the Richest Country on Earth," Jeffrey C. Stewart for "The New Negro: The Life of Alain Locke," and Adam Winkler for "We the Corporations: How American Businesses Won Their Civil Rights."
Hayes, a National Book Award winner in 2010 for "Lighthead," is in the poetry category this year for "American Sonnets for My Past and Future Assassin." Other finalists are Pulitzer winner Rae Armantrout for "Wobble," Diana Khoi Nguyen for "Ghost Of," Justin Phillip Reed for "Indecency" and Jenny Xie for "Eye Level."
In young people's literature, finalists drew upon various narrative forms, from poetry to pictures, from fiction to nonfiction. Elizabeth Acevedo was a nominee for her novel in verse "The Poet X," the story of a Dominican teen and her immersion in slam poetry. M. T. Anderson, a National Book Award winner in 2006 for "The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation, Volume I: The Pox Party," collaborated with Eugene Yelchin on the illustrated "The Assassination of Brangwain Spurge." Other finalists were Leslie Connor for "The Truth as Told by Mason Buttle," Christopher Paul Curtis for "The Journey of Little Charlie" and Jarrett J. Krosoczka for his graphic memoir "Hey, Kiddo."
Awards judges, who include writers, critics and other members of the literary community, chose from more than 1,600 books submitted by publishers. Winners in the competitive categories each receive $10,000. In translation, the prize money is divided between the author and translator.