US National Book Awards 2022 Longlist: Nonfiction

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The titles on the National Book Awards’ newly released nonfiction longlist were chosen from an initial pool of 607 submitted books.

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

See also:
US National Book Awards 2022 Longlist: Poetry
US National Book Awards 2022 Longlist: Translation
US National Book Awards 2022 Longlist: Young People’s Literature
‘Maus’ Author Art Spiegelman Honored by US National Book Foundation
ALA’s Tracie Hall Receives the National Book Award’s Literarian Award

Fourth of Five Categories’ Longlists
The United States’ National Book Foundation—with a prize ceremony set for November 16—today (September 15) continues announcing its longlists for the 2022 National Book Awards. As you know, the foundation likes to release its five category longlists separately across three days.

Finalists—the shortlisted entries—are to be named October 4.

This, the fourth of five longlists provided to members of the news media is for the National Book Award for nonfiction. Before this nonfiction list, we’ve had the program’s 10-book lists in young people’s literature; translated literature, and poetry. Following this afternoon’s nonfiction list will be Friday’s (September 16) fiction list.

Just for the record, so far, the translated literature and young people’s literature lists have drawn the most interest from our international readership.

The nonfiction longlist features both debut and established writers, and includes works of  memoir, science writing, biographies of American political figures, explorations of United States and international history, and  more.

A majority of the longlisted authors are newcomers to the National Book Awards and the National Book  Foundation. There are two exceptions:

David Quammen was longlisted for the National Book Award for nonfiction in 2018, and Kelly Lytle Hernández was a 2019-2020 Literature for Justice committee member and wrote a 2020-2021 Literature for Justice selected title.

This year’s nonfiction longlist includes two Guggenheim  Fellows and a MacArthur Fellow. In addition, these longlisted authors have variously been honored by the  California Book Awards, the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, the PEN/Jacqueline Bograd Weld Award, and the  Pulitzer Prize.

Publishers submitted a total of 607 books for the 2022 National Book Award for nonfiction.

The judges in nonfiction are Carol Anderson, Melissa Febos, Thor Hanson, Janet Webster Jones, and Oscar Villalon (chair).

Poetry 2022 Longlist
Writer Title Publisher / Imprint
Anna Badkhen Bright Unbearable Reality: Essays New York Review of Books
John A. Farrell Ted Kennedy: A Life Penguin Random House / Penguin Press
Natalie Hodges Uncommon Measure: A Journey Through Music, Performance, and the Science of Time Bellevue Literary Press
Kelly Lytle Hernández Bad Mexicans: Race, Empire, and Revolution in the Borderlands WW Norton & Company
Meghan O’Rourke The Invisible Kingdom: Reimagining Chronic Illness Penguin Random House / Riverhead Books
Imani Perry South to America: A Journey Below the Mason-Dixon to Understand the Soul of a Nation HarperCollins / Ecco
David Quammen Breathless: The Scientific Race To Defeat a Deadly Virus Simon & Schuster
Ingrid Rojas Contreras The Man Who Could Move Clouds: A Memoir Penguin Random House / Doubleday
Robert Samuels and Toluse Olorunnipa  His Name Is George Floyd: One Man’s Life and the Struggle for Racial Justice Penguin Random House / Viking Books
Kathryn Schulz Lost & Found: A Memoir
Penguin Random House / Random House

As always, the jury’s decisions are made independently of the National Book Foundation staff and board of directors and deliberations are strictly confidential.

This is the fourth of five categories. The last to be announced–on Friday (September 16) is the longlist in fiction.

This is Publishing Perspectives’ 164th report on awards-related news published in the 171 days since our 2022 operations began on January 3.

National Book Awards trophies. Image: NBA


More from Publishing Perspectives on the National Book Awards in the United States is here and more on the huge field of international book awards and prizes is here. More from us on the United States’ market is here

More from us on the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on international book publishing is 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.com, 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.

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