US National Book Awards 2023 Longlist: Nonfiction

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A majority of newcomers: Nine of the 10 longlisted nonfiction authors in 2023 are getting National Book Award attention for the first time.

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

See also:
US National Book Awards 2023 Longlist: Translation
US National Book Awards 2023 Longlist: Young People’s Literature

Nonfiction Submissions Totaled 638 Titles
In its second of three days of longlist releases, the United States’ National Book Foundation has today (September 14) released its 2023 10-title list in nonfiction.

Shortlists, called finalists in National Book Awards terminology, in all five categories are to be announced on October 3. Winners are to be named at the 74th National Book Awards ceremony at Cipriani Wall Street in New York City on November 15.

The full schedule of this week’s annual volley of categories’ longlists:

  • Wednesday (September 13): Young People’s Literature
  • Later Wednesday: Translated Literature
  • Thursday (September 14): Poetry
  • Later Thursday: Nonfiction
  • Friday (September 15): Fiction
The 2023 Nonfiction Longlist

Jurors in this year’s Nonfiction category for the National Book Awards are Hanif Abdurraqib, Ada Ferrer (chair), James Fugate, Sarah Schulman, and Sonia Shah.

Publishers submitted a total 638 books for the 2023 prize in nonfiction.

In this list’s mix of memoir, science writing, biography, and investigative work, author Viet Thanh Nguyen is the only writer to have had previous National Book Award attention, having been shortlisted for Nothing Ever Dies in 2016 in the same category. The MacArthur fellow won the Pulitzer for his book The Sympathizer.

This year’s longlisted authors in nonfiction have been previously honored by the Orwell Prize, the Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz Prize, the Windham-Campbell Literature Prize, and the Pulitzer Prize. Their work has appeared in the American Indian Culture and Research Journal, The American Historical ReviewThe Atlantic, ArtforumEbonyEssenceGQNational Geographic, the New York Review of Books, the New Yorker, The New York TimesSlate, and the Wall Street Journal, among others.

Author Title Publisher / Imprint
Ned Blackhawk The Rediscovery of America: Native Peoples and the Unmaking of US History Yale University Press
Jonathan Eig King: A Life Macmillan / Farrar, Straus, and Giroux
Viet Thanh Nguyen A Man of Two Faces: A Memoir, A History, A Memorial Grove Atlantic / Grove Press
Prudence Peiffer The Slip: The New York City Street That Changed American Art Forever HarperCollins / Harper
Donovan X. Ramsey When Crack Was King: A People’s History of a Misunderstood Era Penguin Random House / One World
Cristina Rivera Garza Liliana’s Invincible Summer: A Sister’s Search for Justice Penguin Random House / Hogarth
Christina Sharpe Ordinary Notes Macmillan / Farrar, Straus, and Giroux
Raja Shehadeh We Could Have Been Friends, My Father and I: A Palestinian Memoir Other Press
John Vaillant Fire Weather: A True Story from a Hotter World Penguin Random House / Knopf
Kidada E. Williams I Saw Death Coming: A History of Terror and Survival in the War Against Reconstruction Bloomsbury Publishing

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 from Publishing Perspectives on the National Book Awards is here and more on international book awards and prizes is here. More from us on nonfiction is here, and more on the United States’ market is here

About the Author

Porter Anderson

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Porter Anderson 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 (Fellow, 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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