US National Book Awards: The 2023 Finalists

In News by Porter Anderson

Twenty-five writers now are shortlisted, five in each category of the 74th National Book Awards competition.

Image: National Book Foundation

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

Each of Five Winners Receives US$10,000
As Publishing Perspectives readers know, the United States’ National Book Foundation refers to its many shortlisted writers and works as finalists, rather than shortlists. You can quickly review all five of our 2023 longlists here.

Having released those five longlists last month, the foundation today (October 3) has issued its set of five finalists. Winners are to be named at the 74th National Book Awards ceremony at Cipriani Wall Street in New York City on November 15.

Winners of the National Book Awards receive US$10,000, a bronze medal, and statue; finalists receive US$1,000 and a bronze medal; winners and finalists in the Translated Literature category will split the prize evenly between authors and translators.

Publishers submitted a total 1,931 books for this year’s National Book Awards.

Because our purview is the international trade book publishing industry—and thus our readership of publishing executives, rights directors, literary agents working in international rights sales, and scouts is so keenly focused on translation—we will present the Translated Literature finalists first in our report today.

The 2023 Translated Literature Finalists

The jurors for the translation category this year are Geoffrey Brock, Arthur Malcolm Dixon, Cristina Rodriguez, T. Denean Sharpley Whiting, and Jeremy Tiang (chair).

Their selections highlight work originally published in Korean, French, Portuguese, Spanish, and Dutch. And—in reference to an issue frequently discussed here and in the international literary translation arena—the five books longlisted here all appear to have their translators duly credited on their covers.

Publisher interest in this category, added to the program in 2018, continues to grow. P\ublishers submitted a total 154 books for this category, up from 146 last year.

Our coverage of the Translated Literature longlist is here.

Author Title Original Language Translator Publisher / Imprint
Bora Chung Cursed Bunny Korean Anton Hur Hachette Book Group / Algonquin Books
David Diop Beyond the Door of No Return French Sam Taylor Macmillan Publishers / Farrar, Straus, and Giroux
Stênio Gardel The Words That Remain Portuguese Bruna Dantas Lobato New Vessel Press
Pilar Quintana Abyss Spanish Lisa Dillman World Editions
Astrid Roemer On a Woman’s Madness Dutch Lucy Scott Two Lines Press
The 2023 Fiction Finalists

Jurors in this year’s Fiction category for the National Book Awards are Steph Cha, Calvin Crosby, Silas House, Mat Johnson (chair), and Helena María Viramontes. Publishers submitted 496 books in this category.

Our coverage of the Fiction longlist is here.

Author Title Publisher / Imprint
Nana Kwame Adjei Chain-Gang All-Stars Penguin Random House / Pantheon Books
Aaliyah Bilal Temple Folk Simon & Schuster
Paul Harding This Other Eden WW Norton
Hanna Pylväinen The End of Drum-Time Macmillan / Henry Holt
Justin Torres Blackouts Macmillan / Farrar, Straus, and Giroux
The 2023 Nonfiction Finalists

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 nonfiction books for the 2023 prize, making it by far the most heavily contested category of the five.

Our coverage of the Nonfiction longlist is here.

Author Title Publisher / Imprint
Ned Blackhawk The Rediscovery of America: Native Peoples and the Unmaking of US History Yale University Press
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
The 2023 Poetry Finalists

Jurors in this year’s Poetry category for the National Book Awards are Rick Barot, Heid E. Erdrich (chair), Jonathan Farmer, Raina J. León, and Solmaz Sharif.

Publishers submitted a total of 295 books for consideration in this category this year.

Our coverage of the Poetry longlist is here.

Author Title Publisher / Imprint
John Lee Clark How To Communicate WW Norton
Craig Santos Perez From Unincorporated Territory [åmot] Omnidawn
Evie Schockley Suddenly We Wesleyan University Press
Brandon Som Tripas University of Georgia Press / Georgia Review Books
Monica Youn From From Graywolf Press
The 2023 Young People’s Literature Finalists

The jurors for Young People’s Literature this year are Sarah Park Dahlen, Kyle Lukoff, Claudette S. McLinn (chair), Justin A. Reynolds, and Sabaa Tahir.

Publishers submitted a total of 328 books in the 2023 Young People’s Literature category, a notably increase from the 296 submissions made in this category in 2022.

Our coverage of the Young People’s Literature longlist is here.

Author Title Publisher / Imprint
Kenneth M. Cadow Gather Candlewick Press
Huda Fahmy Huda F Cares? Penguin Random House / Dial Books for Young Readers
Vashti Harrison Big Hachette Book Group / Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Katherine Marsh The Lost Year: A Survival Story of the Ukrainian Famine Macmillan Publishers / Roaring Brook Press
Dan Santat A First Time for Everything Macmillan Publishers / First Second

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 2023 National Book Awards:
US National Book Foundation: Poet Rita Dove Wins the 2023 Medal for Distinguished Contribution
US National Book Foundation: Bookseller Paul Yamazaki Wins the 2023 Literarian Medal


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

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.