The 2017 National Book Award Finalists Are Revealed

The shortlists in Fiction, Nonfiction, Poetry and Young People's Literature are mixed between fresh faces and established heavy hitters.

Heartfelt and politically timely works including Lisa Ko’s The Leavers, Masha Gessen’s The Future Is History and Danez Smith’s Don’t Call Us Dead number among the 20 books named to the National Book Awards shortlists on Wednesday.

The National Book Foundation revealed its five finalists in each category ― Fiction, Nonfiction, Poetry and Young People’s Literature ― on CBS This Morning.

The shortlists, like the longlists, are mixed between fresh faces and established heavy hitters. Jesmyn Ward, who won the Fiction award in 2011 for her novel Salvage the Bones, has made the shortlist again with her new book, Sing, Unburied, Sing; the Fiction shortlist also features two debut authors, Ko and Carmen Maria Machado. 

Several big names didn’t make the cut from the 10-book longlists to the shortlists, including debut young adult novelist Angie Thomas’s bestselling The Hate U Give and past National Book nominee Jennifer Egan’s latest, Manhattan Beach.

The winners will be crowned on Nov. 15 during the 68th Annual National Book Awards Ceremony. The evening will also honor writer Annie Proulx, who will be awarded the Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters, and Scholastic chairman, president and CEO Dick Robinson, who will be given the Literarian Award for Outstanding Contribution to the American Literary Community.


Elliot Ackerman, Dark at the Crossing

Knopf / Penguin Random House

Lisa Ko, The Leavers

Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill / Workman Publishing

Min Jin Lee, Pachinko

Grand Central Publishing / Hachette Book Group

Carmen Maria Machado, Her Body and Other Parties: Stories

Graywolf Press

Jesmyn Ward, Sing, Unburied, Sing

Scribner / Simon & Schuster


Erica Armstrong Dunbar, Never Caught: The Washingtons’ Relentless Pursuit of Their Runaway Slave, Ona Judge

37 INK / Atria / Simon & Schuster

Frances FitzGerald, The Evangelicals: The Struggle to Shape America

Simon & Schuster

Masha Gessen, The Future Is History: How Totalitarianism Reclaimed Russia

Riverhead Books / Penguin Random House

David Grann, Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI

Doubleday / Penguin Random House

Nancy MacLean, Democracy in Chains: The Deep History of the Radical Right’s Stealth Plan for America

Viking / Penguin Random House


Frank Bidart, Half-light: Collected Poems 1965-2016

Farrar, Straus and Giroux / Macmillan Publishers

Leslie Harrison, The Book of Endings

University of Akron Press

Layli Long Soldier, WHEREAS

Graywolf Press

Shane McCrae, In the Language of My Captor

Wesleyan University Press

Danez Smith, Don’t Call Us Dead: Poems

Graywolf Press

Young People’s Literature

Elana K. Arnold, What Girls Are Made Of

Carolrhoda Lab / Lerner Publishing Group

Robin Benway, Far from the Tree

HarperTeen / HarperCollinsPublishers

Erika L. Sánchez, I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter

Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers / Penguin Random House

Rita Williams-Garcia, Clayton Byrd Goes Underground

Amistad / HarperCollinsPublishers

Ibi Zoboi, American Street

Balzer + Bray / HarperCollinsPublishers



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