All through this week the National Book Foundation is announcing the Longlists for the 2016 National Book Awards in Poetry, Nonfiction, Fiction, and Young People’s Literature. Today the long list for the National Book Award for Fiction was revealed. Five finalists will be chosen from this list in October, with the winner to be announced in November. See the Longlist for Young People’s Literature here, Poetry here and Nonfiction here.
The 2016 National Book Award for Fiction Longlist:
Garth Greenwell, What Belongs to You (Farrar, Straus and Giroux/Macmillan)
Adam Haslett, Imagine Me Gone (Little, Brown and Company/Hachette Book Group)
Paulette Jiles, News of the World (William Morrow/HarperCollins Publishers)
Karan Mahajan, The Association of Small Bombs (Viking Books / Penguin Random House)
Elizabeth McKenzie, The Portable Veblen (Penguin Press/Penguin Random House)
Lydia Millet, Sweet Lamb of Heaven (W.W. Norton & Company)
Brad Watson, Miss Jane (W.W. Norton & Company)
Colson Whitehead, The Underground Railroad (Doubleday/Penguin Random House)
Jacqueline Woodson, Another Brooklyn (Amistad/HarperCollins Publishers)
Some detaila about the selections from the National Book Foundation’s announcement:
“The year’s Longlist is told from and about locations all around the world. Authors hail from and titles explore locations that range from Alaska, New Delhi, Bulgaria, and even a reimagined United States.”
“Colson Whitehead’s Underground Railroad follows Cora, a fugitive slave, as she escapes the south on a literal underground railroad in a speculative historical fiction that reckons with the true legacy of liberation and escape. In a very different journey, former Pulitzer Prize finalist Lydia Millet’s Sweet Lamb of Heaven follows a mother as she traverses the country with her daughter, fleeing her powerful husband. What Belongs to You, a debut novel by Garth Greenwell, finds its American narrator in Sofia, Bulgaria attempting to reconcile the shame and desire bound up in his own sexuality. National Book Award Winner Jacqueline Woodson, in her first adult novel in 20 years, depicts a young woman from Tennessee who has resettled in Brooklyn with her grieving family.
“The perennial themes of love, marriage, and family are also deftly explored in three of the longlisted titles. In Elizabeth McKenzie’s The Portable Veblen, a soon-to-be married couple must navigate personal values, economic pressures, and politics as their wedding day approaches. Former Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award Finalist Adam Haslett explores how mental illness afflicts a family over multiple generations in Imagine Me Gone. Chris Bachelder’s The Throwback Special chronicles a group of men who has obsessively met to reenact a tragic football play for nearly seventeen years as they confront middle age, marriage, and fatherhood in this exploration of the American male psyche.
“Looking towards the historical, former National Book Award Finalist Brad Watson’s Miss Jane explores the life of a woman with a genital birth defect in rural Mississippi during the early 20th century. Paulette Jiles’ News of the World depicts post-Civil War America from the perspective of a retired Army captain who must deliver a young orphan, kidnapped by a Native American tribe, to her relatives on the other side of Texas.
“The Association of Small Bombs by Karan Mahajan takes us to New Delhi, India, where a community is devastated by the losses brought on by an act of terrorism. The novel shows the reader both sides of a terrorist attack—how the loss of even just a few lives can change the fates of others and gives us a window into how someone might become capable of committing such atrocities.”