By Porter Anderson, Editor-in-Chief | @Porter_Anderson
Three of 10 Titles Are DebutsAs we continue to publish the longlists released by the United States’ National Book Foundation for this year’s National Book Awards, we look today at the longlist for fiction.
Of course, fiction tends to have the broadest interest in book and publishing competitions. One of the most useful elements of the National Book Foundation’s Fiction category (one of five) in its program is the fact that much of the content honored here is literary.
Reflecting the value of fiction as one of five categories in the National Book awards, publishers submitted a total of 415 books for the 2021 competition.
Three of the 10 National Book Award nominees in this category are debut publications. Those are the novels by Jakob Guanzon, Honorée Fanonne Jeffers, and Robert Jones Jr.
You’ll recognize Richard Powers’ Bewilderment (WW Norton) as one of the three American-authored shortlisted novels for Booker Prize for Fiction in the United Kingdom (which names its winner two weeks ahead of the National Book Awards this year, on November 3).
Previous attention from the National Book Awards program has gone to Powers, who was longlisted in 2014, a finalist in 1993, and a winner in 2006 for The Echo Maker. Author Lauren Goff has been named a finalist in 2015 and in 2018. Elizabeth McCracken was longlisted in 2014 and a finalist in 1996. And Anthony Doerr was a finalist in 2014.
Honorée Fanonne Jeffers was longlisted in 2020, but in the Poetry category rather than Fiction, for her collection The Age of Phillis.
Jurors in this category this year are Luis Alberto Urrea (Chair), Alan Michael Parker, Emily Pullen, Margaret Wilkerson Sexton, and Charles Yu, whose biting satire Interior Chinatown (Penguin Random House / Pantheon) won the fiction award last year, and whose acceptance speech was an extraordinary blend of profound surprise and charismatic grace.
As Publishing Perspectives readers know, winners in all categories will be announced live at the National Book Awards Ceremony on November 17.
Fiction 2021 Longlist
|Author||Title||Publisher / Imprint|
|Anthony Doerr||Cloud Cuckoo Land||Simon & Schuster / Scribner|
|Lauren Groff||Matrix||Penguin Random House / Riverhead Books|
|Jakob Guanzon||Abundance||Graywolf Press|
|Laird Hunt||Zorrie||Bloomsbury Publishing|
|Honorée Fanonne Jeffers||The Love Songs of WEB Du Bois||HarperCollins / Harper|
|Robert Jones Jr.||The Prophets||Penguin Random House / GP Putnam’s Sons|
|Katie Kitamura||Intimacies||Penguin Random House / Riverhead Books|
|Elizabeth McCracken||The Souvenir Museum: Stories||HarperCollins: Ecco|
|Jason Mott||Hell of a Book||Penguin Random House / Dutton|
|Richard Powers||Bewilderment||WW Norton & Company|
As always, the jury’s decisions are made independently of the National Book Foundation staff and board of directors and deliberations are strictly confidential.
More on the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on international book publishing is here.