Here Are the 2016 National Book Award Finalists

Colson Whitehead, Karan Mahajan, and Rita Dove have moved to the last round

About a month ago, we posted the National Book Award Fiction Longlist, and today the wait to hear who the winners are is over. The National Book Foundation just announced the finalists in all of the categories, and noted how “memory, childhood, and the legacy of race in America are preoccupations that propelled works in each of the categories for this year’s finalists.” Nobody is surprised to see Colson Whitehead’s The Underground Railroad on the fiction list. The novel, which is arguably the most celebrated book of the year, takes the reader through a slave fugitive’s harrowing journey to the North.

Will Whitehead’s book be able clinch the ultimate prize? Stay tuned for November 16th when the winners of each category will be announced at the National Book Awards ceremony!

For now, here’s the list of the 20 finalists. Congratulations to all of the authors!



  • Arlie Russell Hochschild, Strangers in Their Own Land: Anger and Mourning on the American Right
  • Ibram X. Kendi, Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America
  • Viet Thanh Nguyen, Nothing Ever Dies: Vietnam and the Memory of War
  • Andrés Reséndez, The Other Slavery: The Uncovered Story of Indian Enslavement in America
  • Heather Ann Thompson, Blood in the Water: The Attica Prison Uprising of 1971 and Its Legacy


  • Daniel Borzutzky, The Performance of Becoming Human
  • Rita Dove, Collected Poems 1974–2004
  • Peter Gizzi, Archeophonics
  • Jay Hopler, The Abridged History of Rainfall
  • Solmaz Sharif, Look

Young People’s Literature

  • Kate DiCamillo, Raymie Nightingale
  • John Lewis, Andrew Aydin & Nate Powell, March: Book Three
  • Grace Lin, When the Sea Turned to Silver
  • Jason Reynolds, Ghost
  • Nicola Yoon, The Sun Is Also a Star

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