The short list--the finalists--has been released, and "Bright Dead Things," published by Milkweed Edition, is still in the running. So is "Fates and Furies," the much-lauded novel by Lauren Groff, and "Fortune Smiles," the remarkable short story collection by Adam Johnson, as well as the essay collection by Ta-Nahesi Coates. Face it, the whole short list is daunting!

The award winners will be announced Nov. 18. Here are the final 20:


Karen E. Bender, Refund, published by Counterpoint Press

Angela Flournoy, The Turner House, published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Lauren Groff, Fates and Furies, published by Riverhead Books/Penguin Random House

Adam Johnson, Fortune Smiles, published by Random House

Hanya Yanagihara, A Little Life, published by Doubleday/Penguin Random House


Ta-Nehisi Coates, Between the World and Me, published by Spiegel & Grau/Penguin Random House

Sally Mann, Hold Still, published by Little, Brown, a division of Hachette Book Group

Sy Montgomery, The Soul of an Octopus, published by Atria Books, a division of Simon & Schuster

Carla Power, If the Oceans Were Ink: An Unlikely Friendship and a Journey to the Heart of the Quran, published by Henry Holt and Company, a division of Macmillan

Tracy K. Smith, Ordinary Light, published by Alfred A. Knopf


Ross Gay, Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude, published by the University of Pittsburgh Press

Terrance Hayes, How to Be Drawn, published by Penguin

Robin Coste Lewis, Voyage of the Sable Venus, published by Alfred A. Knopf

Ada Limón, Bright Dead Things, published by Milkweed Editions

Patrick Phillips, Elegy for a Broken Machine, published by Alfred A. Knopf


Ali Benjamin, The Thing About Jellyfish, published by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Laura Ruby, Bone Gap, published by Balzer + Bray, a division of HarperCollins Children's Books

Steve Sheinkin, Most Dangerous: Daniel Ellsberg and the Secret History of the Vietnam War,

published by Roaring Brook Press

Neal Shusterman, Challenger Deep, published by HarperCollins Children's Books

Noelle Stevenson, Nimona, published by HarperTeen/HarperCollins Children's Books

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Save the date: The Twin Cities Book Festival is Oct. 17

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Twin Cities Book Festival was a solid day of words, laughter and wisdom