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On Books

Laurie Hertzel is senior editor for books at the Star Tribune, where she has worked since 1996.

Minneapolis writer Lesley Arimah is a finalist for prestigious Kirkus Prize


Lesley Nneka Arimah. Star Tribune photo by Glen Stubbe

Lesley Nneka Arimah. Star Tribune photo by Glen Stubbe


Lesley Nneka Arimah's stunning debut collection, "What It Means When a Man Falls From the Sky," is a finalist for the prestigious Kirkus Prize in fiction. The prize, which is in its fourth year, carries an honorarium of $50,000 for each winner and is given by Kirkus Reviews. Books that received starred reviews in Kirkus throughout the year are eligible for the prizes, which are given in three categories: fiction, nonfiction, and children's literature. This year, 610 children's books, 369 books of fiction and 293 books of nonfiction were considered.

Books published by Minneapolis' Graywolf Press and Coffee House Press are also finalists. Winners will be announced in Austin, Texas, on Nov. 2.

Here is the list:



 The Gulf: The Making of an American Sea by Jack E. Davis (Liveright/Norton)
• The Seeds of Life: From Aristotle to da Vinci, from Sharks' Teeth to Frogs' Pants, the Long and Strange Quest to Discover Where Babies Come from by Edward Dolnick (Basic)
• Priestdaddy: A Memoir by Patricia Lockwood (Riverhead)
• Tell Me How It Ends: An Essay in 40 Questions by Valeria Luiselli (Coffee House)
• The Cooking Gene: A Journey Through African-American Culinary History in the Old South by Michael Twitty (Amistad/HarperCollins)
• Henry David Thoreau: A Life by Laura Dassow Walls (Univ. of Chicago) 


Picture Books:

  • Walk With Me by Jairo Buitrago, illustrated by Rafael Yockteng and translated by Elisa Amado (Groundwood)
  • Me Tall, You Small by Lilli L’Arronge and translated by Madeleine Stratford (Owlkids)

Middle Grade:

·         Bronze and Sunflower by Cao Wenxuan, translated by Helen Wang, and illustrated by Meilo So (Candlewick)
·         It All Comes Down to This by Karen English (Clarion)

Young Adult:

·         The Marrow Thieves by Cherie Dimaline (DCB)
·         The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas (Balzer + Bray)

Graywolf Press has 5th title on National Book Award longlists with today's reveal of fiction list

Carmen Maria Machado. Photo by Tom Storm Photography.

Carmen Maria Machado. Photo by Tom Storm Photography.

"Her Body and Other Parties," a story collection by Carmen Maria Machado and published by Minneapolis' Graywolf Press, is one of ten books longlisted for the National Book Award in fiction, announced today. It is one of five titles published by Graywolf to be longlisted--one in nonfiction, and three in poetry.

Machado will be at the Graywolf Press literary salon on Sept. 27, along with poets Danez Smith and Lalyi Long Soldier, both of whom were longlisted for the National Book Award in poetry. Here is the link for tickets.

Here is the full longlist for fiction, with links to Star Tribune reviews, when available. (Some books have not yet been published.)
Elliot Ackerman, “Dark at the Crossing” (Knopf)

Daniel Alarcón, “The King Is Always Above the People: Stories” (Riverhead Books) (Star Tribune review forthcoming)

Charmaine Craig, “Miss Burma” (Grove Press / Grove Atlantic)

Jennifer Egan, “Manhattan Beach” (Scribner) (review forthcoming)

Lisa Ko, “The Leavers” (Algonquin Books)

Min Jin Lee, “Pachinko” (Grand Central Publishing)

Carmen Maria Machado, “Her Body and Other Parties: Stories” (Graywolf Press) (review forthcoming)

Margaret Wilkerson Sexton, “A Kind of Freedom” (Counterpoint Press)

Jesmyn Ward, “Sing, Unburied, Sing” (Scribner)

Carol Zoref, “Barren Island” (New Issues Poetry & Prose)

Finalists will be announced Oct. 4, and winners will be honored Nov. 15 at a ceremony in New York.

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