The 2021 National Book Awards finalists

The National Book Awards Foundation has announced the finalists in the Fiction, Non-Fiction, Poetry, Translated Literature and Children’s Literature categories. The prizes will be awarded at a ceremony to be held online on November 17.

In the fiction category, the National Book Foundation selected Lauren Groff, author of Matrix, published in the United States by Riverhead. Nominated for the third consecutive time, she joins the authors Vladimir Nabokov and Rachel Carson, which were also cited three times. Anthony Doerr, Pulitzer Prize winner, adds to the category, with the epic Cloud Cuckoo Land (Scriber). Laird Hunt, author of The night road (Actes Sud) and good people (Actes Sud) was chosen to Zorrie (Bloomsbury). In addition, we find in this 2021 edition the novel The Prophets of Robert Jones, Jr., published in the United States by GP Putnam’s Sons and in France by Grasset under the title The prophets in the month of September. Jason Mott is also in the running, with his novel hell of a book (Duton).

Five translations available in France

In the Translated Literature category, Spanish authors predominate. We find Benjamin Labatut for When We Cease to Understand the World (New York Review Books), translated from Spanish by Adrian Nathan West, and Nona Fernandez for The Twilight Zone (Graywolf Press), translated from Spanish by Natasha Wimmer. The two works are available respectively at Seuil (under the title blind lights) and at Stock (under the title The fourth dimension). A young girl with peach complexion of the Chinese novelist Ge Fei (Gallimard, 2012), The Syrian walker Samar Yazbek (Stock, 2018) are also selected. The Franco-Swiss author??????? Elisa Shua Dusapin completes the category, with Winter in Sokcho, published in French by Zoé and in Folio under the title Winter in Sokcho.

In the Children’s Literature category, the author of How I Became Malcolm X (Bayard Jeunesse, 2017), Kekla Magoon appears in the selection with The Way Back.

The National Book Awards 2021 selection:


  • Cloud Cuckoo Land, by Anthony Doerr (Scribner)
  • Matrix, by Lauren Groff (Riverhead)
  • Zorrie, by Laird Hunt (Bloomsbury)
  • The Prophets, by Robert Jones, Jr. (GP Putnam’s Sons)
  • Hell of a Book, by Jason Mott (Dutton)


  • ???????A Little Devil in America: Notes in Praise of Black Performance, by Hanif Abdurraqib (Random House)
  • Running Out: In Search of Water on the High Plains, by Lucas Bessire (Princeton University Press)
  • Tastes Like War: A Memoir, by Grace M. Cho (Feminist Press)
  • Covered with Night: A Story of Murder and Indigenous Justice in Early America, by Nicole Eustace (Liveright)
  • All That She Carried: The Journey of Ashley’s Sack, a Black Family Keepsake, by Tiya Miles (Random House)???????


  • What Noise Against the Cane by Desiree C. Bailey (Yale University Press)
  • floaters by Marti?n Espada (WW Norton)
  • Sho by Douglas Kearney (Wave Books)
  • A Thousand Times You Lose Your Treasure by Hoa Nguyen (Wave Books)
  • The Sunflower Cast A Spell To Save Us From The Void by Jackie Wang (Nightboat Books)

Translated Literature

  • Winter in Sokcho by Elisa Shua Dusapin, translated from French by Aneesa Abbas Higgins (Open Letter)
  • Peach Blossom Paradise by Ge Fei, translated from Chinese by Canaan Morse (New York Review Books)
  • The Twilight Zone by Nona Ferna?ndez, translated from Spanish by Natasha Wimmer (Graywolf Press)
  • When We Cease to Understand the World by Benjami?n Labatut, translated from Spanish by Adrian Nathan West (New York Review Books)
  • Planet of Clay by Samar Yazbek, translated from Arabic by Leri Price (World Editions)

Youth Literature

  • The Legend of Auntie Po by Shing Yin Khor (Kokila/PRH)
  • Last Night at the Telegraph Club by Malinda Lo (Dutton Books for Young Readers/PRH)
  • Too Bright to See by Kyle Lukoff (Dial Books for Young Readers/PRH)
  • Revolution in Our Time: The Black Panther Party’s Promise to the People by Kekla Magoon (Candlewick Press)
  • Me (Moth) by Amber McBride (Feiwel and Friends/Macmillan)

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The 2021 National Book Awards finalists