Welcome to Awards Season

Can you feel it in the air? Have you seen the announcements? Literary awards season* is upon us again!

On September 9th, the shortlist for the Man Booker prize was announced. On September 15th, the National Book Foundation finished announcing the 40 longlisted titles for the National Book Award in fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and young people’s literature categories. On September 20th Kirkus Reviews announced the 2016 finalists for the Kirkus Awards in fiction, nonfiction, and young readers’ literature. And on September 21st, the longlists for the Andrew Carnegie Medals for Excellence for fiction and nonfiction were announced.


If you look through all the lists, a few titles will stand out.

Imagine Me Gone by Adam Haslett and The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead are each nominated three times, for the National Book Award, Kirkus Award, and Andrew Carnegie Fiction Award. Coming in at two nominations each are The Sport of Kings by C.E. Morgan; Do Not Say We Have Nothing by Madeleine Thien; and Another Brooklyn by Jacqueline Woodson.

In the nonfiction category, The National Book Foundation, Kirkus Award, and Andrew Carnegie Medals seem to have a focus on books about social justice and America’s continuing legacy of inequality. Two books were multi-nominated, with both Kirkus and Carnegie nominating Patricia Bell-Scott’s The Firebrand and the First Lady: Pauli Murray, Eleanor Roosevelt, and the Struggle for Social Justice and Matthew Desmond’s Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City.


In young people’s literature, both the National Book Award and Kirkus nominated Burn Baby Burn by Meg Medina.  Jason Reynolds was also mentioned on both lists, but for different books – the National Book Award highlighted Ghost, with Kirkus nominating As Brave As You.

Finally, on September 22nd the MacArthur Foundation announced their 2016 class of MacArthur Geniuses, which includes writers Maggie Nelson, Claudia Rankine, and Gene Luen Yang.

I know my to-read list just got immeasurably longer. What will you be looking forward to reading?

*There are, of course, awards for most genres and types of writing given out through the calendar year. In the summer The Hugo Awards celebrated excellent science fiction, and the Nebula Awards honored excellent fantasy. The Private Eye Writers of America gave out their Shamus Awards for best private eye novels and short stories in September. This post focuses on the literary awards mentioned because so many of the longlists are announced in rapid succession.

~ posted by Andrea G.

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