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

Graywolf Press's "Grief is the Thing With Feathers" a finalist for John Leonard Prize

Max Porter's novel "Grief is the Thing With Feathers" a finalist for John Leonard Prize

Max Porter's novel "Grief is the Thing With Feathers" a finalist for John Leonard Prize

The finalists for the National Book Critics Circle John Leonard Award--which goes to the best debut book in any genre--have been announced, and Minneapolis publisher Graywolf Press has a book in the running. All six finalists are novels. 

"Grief is the Thing With Feathers," by Max Porter, a novel in dialogue about grief and healing, was published in June by Graywolf.

Nathan Hill, who teaches at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul (but is currently on leave), is also a finalist for his novel, "The Nix."

Here is the full list, with links to Star Tribune reviews.

The Mothers, by Brit Bennett (Riverhead) 
The Girls, by Emma Cline (Random House) 
Here Comes the Sun, by Nicole Dennis-Benn (Liveright) 
Homegoing, by Yaa Gyasi (Knopf) 
The Nix, by Nathan Hill (Knopf) 
Grief Is the Thing with Feathers, by Max Porter (Graywolf) 

The list of six finalists was winnowed down from 136 nominees.

The winner will be announced in March 2017 at the annual National Book Critics Circle award ceremony in New York City.

Graywolf Press's "Grief is the Thing With Feathers" a finalist for John Leonard Prize

Max Porter's novel "Grief is the Thing With Feathers" a finalist for John Leonard Prize

Max Porter's novel "Grief is the Thing With Feathers" a finalist for John Leonard Prize

The finalists for the National Book Critics Circle John Leonard Award--which goes to the best debut book in any genre--have been announced, and MInneapolis publisher Graywolf Press has a book in the running.

Nathan Hill, who teaches at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul (but is currently on leave), is a finalist for his novel, "The Nix."

All six finalists are novels. Here is the list, with links to Star Tribune reviews.

The Mothers, by Britt Bennett (Riverhead) 
The Girls, by Emma Cline (Random House) 
Here Comes the Sun, by Nicole Dennis-Benn (Liveright) 
Homegoing, by Yaa Gyasi (Knopf) 
The Nix, by Nathan Hill (Knopf) 
Grief Is the Thing with Feathers, by Max Porter (Graywolf) 

The list of six finalists was winnowed down from 136 nominees.

The winner will be announced in March 2017 at the annual National Book Critics Circle award ceremony in New York City.

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