Marlon James is among the National Book Awards' 25 finalists battling it out across categories of Fiction, Nonfiction, Poetry, Translated Literature, and Young People's Literature.
The Jamaican writer, who won 2015's Man Booker Prize for Fiction for A Brief History of Seven Killings (One World), was shortlisted as one of five finalists for the $10,000 fiction award for his new 600+-page book Black Leopard, Red Wolf (Riverhead Books/ Penguin Random House), the first volume in his fantastical "Dark Star Trilogy" steeped in African mythology and folklore.
James will compete for the prestigious American award against three PRH stablemates, two of which debuts - Kali Fajardo-Anstine, for short story collection Sabrina & Corina: Stories (One World / Penguin Random House) and Julia Phillips for literary thriller Disappearing Earth (Alfred A. Knopf / Penguin Random House), as well as Laila Lalami, for The Other Americans (Pantheon Books / Penguin Random House) about the suspicious death of a Moroccan immigrant. The final author in contention for the prize is Susan Choi, in the running for her coming-of-age novel Trust Exercise (Henry Holt and Company/ Macmillan Publishers).
The non-fiction finalists include Sarah M Broom's memoir The Yellow House (Grove Press / Grove Atlantic), about a family in New Orleans before and after Hurricane Katrina. It is up against the life story of a man who served four decades in solitary confinement for a crime he didn’t commit, Solitary by Albert Woodfox with Leslie George ((Grove Press / Grove Atlantic), as well as Tressie McMillan Cottom's Thick: And Other Essays (The New Press) exploring the experience of black womanhood in America. Also competing in this category are Carolyn Forché's What You Have Heard is True: A Memoir of Witness and Resistance (Penguin Press / Penguin Random House) and David Treuer's The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee: Native America from 1890 to the Present (Riverhead Books / Penguin Random House).
The translated literature category recognises work translated from Arabic, French, Hungarian, Japanese, and Finnish, including from László Krasznahorkai and Yoko Ogawa.
Publishers submitted a total of 1,712 books for this year’s National Book Awards: 397 in Fiction, 600 in Nonfiction, 245 in Poetry, 145 in Translated Literature, and 325 in Young People’s Literature. The five finalists in each category were selected by a panel of literary experts, advanced from the longlists announced in September. The full list of finalists can be viewed here. Each finalist receives a prize of $1,000, a medal, and a judge’s citation. Winners receive $10,000 and a bronze sculpture.
The winners will be announced on 20th November at a ceremony in New York City.