National Book Awards 2018 Longlist: Fiction

In News by Porter Anderson

The 10 books longlisted for the 2018 National Book Awards in fiction feature five titles from imprints of Penguin Random House and one each from Graywolf, McSweeney’s, Soho Press, Workman, and Simon & Schuster.

The National Book Awards’ 2018 longlisted titles in fiction

By Porter Anderson, Editor-in-Chief | @Porter_Anderson

Contemporary Issues and Narratives
The final longlist of five categories announced this week by the National Book Foundation for the 2018 National Book Awards is in fiction.

On Wednesday (September 12), the foundation announced longlisted titles in its new category of work translated into fiction and in young people’s literature. And on Thursday (September 13), the longlists announced were in nonfiction and poetry.

Finalists are to be named on October 10. The winners are to be announced November 14 at the invitation-only awards ceremony in New York City. Per the foundation’s arrangement with The New Yorker, it releases its lists first to the magazine, and then to the rest of the news media.

Of special interest to Publishing Perspectives readers, the list named today (September 14) includes Gun Love by PEN International president Jennifer Clement.

In our interview with her at London Book Fair in April, Clement referred with “tremendous hope” to the Parkland students who have parlayed the murders at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School into perhaps the most potent opposition the National Rifle Association and American gun culture in general have ever faced.

In fiction, publishers submitted a total 368 books for the consideration of the jury, which comprises Chris Bachelder, Laila Lalami (chair), Min Jin Lee, Laurie Muchnick, and Chinelo Okparanta.

In each of the categories in the National Book Awards program, jurors work independently of the foundation and their deliberations are strictly confidential.

Big Lead for PRH: Five of 10 Titles

The longlist is alphabetized by author:

  • Jamel BrinkleyA Lucky Man, Graywolf Press
  • Jennifer ClementGun Love, Hogarth / Penguin Random House
  • Lauren GroffFlorida, Riverhead Books / Penguin Random House
  • Daniel GumbinerThe Boatbuilder, McSweeney’s
  • Brandon HobsonWhere the Dead Sit Talking, Soho Press
  • Tayari JonesAn American Marriage, Algonquin Books / Workman Publishing
  • Rebecca MakkaiThe Great Believers, Viking Books / Penguin Random House
  • Sigrid Nunez, The Friend, Riverhead Books / Penguin Random House
  • Tommy OrangeThere There, Alfred A. Knopf / Penguin Random House
  • Nafissa Thompson-Spires, Heads of the Colored People, Atria Books / 37 INK / Simon & Schuster

In points of interest provided by the National Book Foundation in its media messaging about this longlist:

  • The fiction longlist includes one title by a previous National Book Award honoree, Groff, who was a finalist in 2015
  • Other authors on the longlist have been honored with Whiting Awards, the O. Henry Award, the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award, Pushcart Prizes, and the Guggenheim Fellowship, and their work has appeared in The New YorkerThe New York TimesHarper’sTin House, and The Best American Short Stories, among many other outlets
  • Florida is featured in two of the longlisted titles, one being Groff’s book that takes its title from the state’s name and Clement’s Gun Love; Groff’s book is a story collection
  • Societal challenges figure into titles including Jones’ An American Marriage, about an unwarranted arrest; Gumbiner’s The Boatbuilder, which turns on a story of the opioid crisis; black masculinity and identity in the contemporary world of New York City in the nine stories in Brinkley’s A Lucky Man; the African-American middle class is the context of the political dynamics in Thompson-Spires’ Heads of the Colored People
  • Two of the longlisted titles look at Native American experience–Hobson’s Where the Dead Sit Talking and Orange’s There There, and the AIDS crisis is examined in Makkai’s The Great Believers

More from Publishing Perspectives on the National Book Awards is here, and on awards programs in general is here

And our Summer Magazine is ready for your free download and is themed on politics and publishing.

It includes our extensive preview of Frankfurter Buchmesse. Download the PDF here.

About the Author

Porter Anderson

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Porter Anderson is a non-resident fellow of Trends Research & Advisory, and he has been named International Trade Press Journalist of the Year in London Book Fair's International Excellence Awards. He is Editor-in-Chief of Publishing Perspectives. He formerly was Associate Editor for The FutureBook at London's The Bookseller. Anderson was for more than a decade a senior producer and anchor with, CNN International, and CNN USA. As an arts critic (National Critics Institute), he was with The Village Voice, the Dallas Times Herald, and the Tampa Tribune, now the Tampa Bay Times. He co-founded The Hot Sheet, a newsletter for authors, which now is owned and operated by Jane Friedman.