Lauren Groff, Rebecca Makkai, more 2018 National Book Award finalists

After whittling hundreds of choices down to longlists of 10 last week, the National Book Awards have announced the finalists for their 2018 prizes.

In the Fiction category, previous Fates and Furies finalist Lauren Groff advances to the shortlist for her story collection Florida along with Rebecca Makkai (The Great Believers), Sigrid Nunez (The Friend), and Brandon Hobson (Where the Dead Sit Talking). Among those longlisted who did not make the final cut are breakout debut author Tommy Orange (There There) and American Marriage author Tayari Jones.

Among Nonfiction finalists, standouts include Sarah Smarsh’s pained memoir Heartland and Jeffrey C. Stewart’s Alain Locke biography The New Negro. Finalists were also announced for Poetry, Young People’s Literature, and Translated Literature, a new category which features among its shortlist Booker Prize-winning Flights and the Jhumpa Lahiri-translated Italian novel Trick.

Check out the finalists below. The National Book Awards for 2018 will be announced on Nov. 14.


Jamel Brinkley, A Lucky Man
Graywolf Press

Lauren Groff, Florida
Riverhead Books / Penguin Random House

Brandon Hobson, Where the Dead Sit Talking
Soho Press

Rebecca Makkai, The Great Believers
Viking Books / Penguin Random House

Sigrid Nunez, The Friend
Riverhead Books / Penguin Random House


Colin G. Calloway, The Indian World of George Washington: The First President, the First Americans, and the Birth of the Nation
Oxford University Press

Victoria Johnson, American Eden: David Hosack, Botany, and Medicine in the Garden of the Early Republic
Liveright / W. W. Norton & Company

Sarah Smarsh, Heartland: A Memoir of Working Hard and Being Broke in the Richest Country on Earth
Scribner / Simon & Schuster

Jeffrey C. Stewart, The New Negro: The Life of Alain Locke
Oxford University Press

Adam Winkler, We the Corporations: How American Businesses Won Their Civil Rights
Liveright / W. W. Norton & CompanY


Rae Armantrout, Wobble
Wesleyan University Press

Terrance Hayes, American Sonnets for My Past and Future Assassin
Penguin Books / Penguin Random House

Diana Khoi Nguyen, Ghost Of
Omnidawn Publishing

Justin Phillip Reed, Indecency
Coffee House Press

Jenny Xie, Eye Level
Graywolf Press


Négar Djavadi, Disoriental
Translated by Tina Kover
Europa Editions

Hanne Ørstavik, Love
Translated by Martin Aitken
Archipelago Books

Domenico Starnone, Trick
Translated by Jhumpa Lahiri
Europa Editions

Yoko Tawada, The Emissary
Translated by Margaret Mitsutani
New Directions Publishing

Olga Tokarczuk, Flights
Translated by Jennifer Croft
Riverhead Books / Penguin Random House


Elizabeth Acevedo, The Poet X
HarperTeen / HarperCollins Publishers

M. T. Anderson and Eugene Yelchin, The Assassination of Brangwain Spurge
Candlewick Press

Leslie Connor, The Truth as Told by Mason Buttle
Katherine Tegen Books / HarperCollins Publishers

Christopher Paul Curtis, The Journey of Little Charlie
Scholastic Press / Scholastic, Inc.

Jarrett J. Krosoczka, Hey, Kiddo
Graphix / Scholastic, Inc.

Related content:

  • There There, An American Marriage, more make National Book Awards longlist
  • This stunning novel about ’80s gay life will break your heart: EW review
  • Why Jhumpa Lahiri loves translating Italy’s ‘finest living writer’

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