Gayl Jones, Tommie Smith among finalists for National Book Award

Gayl Jones The Birdcatchera short, lyrical novel about a writer’s journey to Ibiza and the gifted, unstable couple she stays with is a finalist for fiction at the National Book Awards.

The nonprofit National Book Foundation on Tuesday announced five finalists in each of the five competition categories — fiction, non-fiction, poetry, young adult fiction and translated books — selected from the 10 longlists last month.

The nominees include activist and former Olympic Games gold medalist Tommie Smith, a young adult fiction nominee Victory. Stand!: Raise my fist for justice, co-authored with Derrick Barnes and Dawud Anyabwile. Sharon Olds, whose previous awards include the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Prize, is a finalist for poetry balladzand His name is George Floydby Robert Samuels and Toluse Olorunnipa, is nominated for Nonfiction.

Jones, author of the acclaimed Corregidora and six other earlier novels, is the most established author in a category that includes three debut novels.

Translated Book nominees include 2018 winners, Japanese author Yoko Tawada and translator Margaret Mitsutani for the novel Scattered all over the world.

The winners, each receiving $10,000, will be announced in person for the first time since the coronavirus pandemic began on November 16 during a benefit dinner in Manhattan. The previously announced honorary awards will be presented to cartoonist Art Spiegelman and Tracie D. Hall, executive director of the American Library Association.

The nominees in each category are selected by five-person panels whose judges include authors, editors, booksellers and other members of the literary community. The publishers submitted a total of 1,772 works, including 607 non-fiction and 463 works of fiction.

Of the 25 books nominated on Tuesday, 10 were published by Penguin Random House – the country’s largest trade book publisher – and one by Simon & Schuster, which Penguin is trying to buy. The US Department of Justice has sued to block the merger, claiming the new entity would reduce competition and reduce the number of authors. A judicial decision is expected in autumn.

Fiction also nominated The Birdcatcher comprise three literary debuts: Tess Gunty’s The rabbit hutchSarah Thankam Mathews All this could be different and Alejandro Varelas The city of Babylon. Jamil Jan Kochai is a finalist for his second fiction book, The Haunting of Hajji Hotak and Other Stories.

In nonfiction, finalists along with My name is George Floyd are Meghan O’Rourkes The Invisible Kingdom: Reinventing Chronic IllnessImani Perrys South to America: A Journey Below the Mason-Dixon to Understand the Soul of a NationDavid Quammens Breathless: The scientific race to defeat a deadly virus and the memoirs of Ingrid Rojas Contreras The man who could move clouds.

In addition to Victory. Stand!: Raise my fist for justiceKelly Barnhill is among the young adult fiction finalists The ogre and the orphansSonora Reyes The Lesbiana Guide to Catholic SchoolSabaa Tahirs all my anger and Lisa Yees Maizy Chen’s last chance.

Poetry finalists as well balladz are Allison Adelle Hedge Coke’s Look at that blueJohn Keenes punksRoger Reeves’ Best Barbarian and Jenny Xies The fracture form.

Next to Scattered all over the world in translated literature Jon Fosses A new name: Septology VI-VII is a nominee, with translation from Norwegian by Damion Searls. The other finalists are Scholastique Mukasongas Kibogo, translated from the French by Mark Polizzotti; Monica Ojedas jawbone, translated from Spanish by Sarah Booker; and Samanta Schweblins Seven empty housesTranslated from Spanish by Megan McDowell.

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