It's here, it's here! After several long days of waiting, the 2017 National Book Award longlist for Fiction is finally here, and the 10 books that made the judges' cut should be your new TBR. These are the best of the best, book nerds, so get ready to read them all.
A whopping 80 percent of the books on the 2017 National Book Award longlist for Fiction have women authors, and 70 percent come from writers of color. That's a marked increase in diversity over last year's longlist, which featured only four women writers and three writers of color among the 10 nominees.
Another Brooklyn author Jacqueline Woodson chaired this year's panel of judges, which includes Alexander Chee (The Queen of the Night), Dave Eggers (The Circle), American Booksellers Association board-member Annie Philbrick, and Karolina Waclawiak (How to Get into the Twin Palms). Woodson won the 2014 National Book Award for Young People's Literature with Brown Girl Dreaming, and Eggers' novel, A Hologram for the King, was a National Book Award for Fiction finalist in 2012.
Another Brooklyn, $10, Amazon | The Queen of the Night, $9, Amazon | The Circle, $12, Amazon | How to Get into the Twin Palms, $9, Amazon | Brown Girl Dreaming, $8, Amazon | A Hologram for the King, $10, Amazon
If you're looking for some great, digestible fiction, you can't go wrong with the two short-story collections on the 2017 National Book Award longlist for Fiction: Daniel Alarcón's The King Is Always Above the People and Carmen Maria Machado's Her Body and Other Parties. If you want to preview these collections, you can read the title story in Alarcón's book and one of Machado's novellas over at Granta.
The titles on the 2017 National Book Award longlist for Fiction are:
- Dark at the Crossing by Elliot Ackerman
- The King Is Always Above the People by Daniel Alarcón
- Miss Burma by Charmaine Craig
- Manhattan Beach by Jennifer Egan
- The Leavers by Lisa Ko
- Pachinko by Min Jin Lee
- Her Body and Other Parties by Carmen Maria Machado
- A Kind of Freedom by Margaret Wilkerson Sexton
- Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward
- Barren Island by Carol Zoref
By far, the biggest standout on the 2017 National Book Award longlist for Fiction is Jesmyn Ward's new novel, Sing, Unburied, Sing. The follow-up to Ward's 2011 National Book Award-winner, Salvage the Bones, Sing, Unburied, Sing just hit stores on Sep. 5, which means most people haven't had a chance to read it yet. Set after Hurricane Katrina in the same small, Mississippi town, Ward's 2017 nominee follows a pair of young siblings, raised by their grandparents, whose mother packs them up and hits the road when their father's prison sentence ends.
Can Sing, Unburied, Sing bring home a second National Book Award for Fiction for Ward? We'll have to wait until November to find out.