Pachinko is a National Book Awards Finalist for Fiction

By Colin Dwyer

It began with more than 1,500 books.

With all the works submitted by publishers, the judges for this year’s National Book Awards have had their hands (and bookshelves) full the past few months. But that daunting number of contenders winnowed further Wednesday, as the National Book Foundation announced the finalists for its literary prize — just five works each in four categories: fiction, nonfiction, poetry and young people’s literature.

You can find those shortlists below, paired with links to NPR’s previous coverage for readers to get to know those nominees better.

For now, at least, there are two winners whose names we won’t have to wait on: Annie Proulx, who has already won a National Book Award for The Shipping News, will be honored this year with the Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters, the NBF’s version of a lifetime achievement award. And Dick Robinson, president and CEO of Scholastic, will be receiving the Literarian Award for Outstanding Service to the American Literary Community.

The rest of this year’s winners will be announced on Nov. 15 in New York City.

Fiction

Elliot Ackerman: Dark at the CrossingLisa Ko: The LeaversMin Jin Lee: PachinkoCarmen Maria Machado: Her Body and Other Parties: StoriesJesmyn Ward: Sing, Unburied, Sing

Nonfiction

Erica Armstrong Dunbar: Never Caught: The Washingtons’ Relentless Pursuit of Their Runaway Slave, Ona JudgeFrances FitzGerald: The Evangelicals: The Struggle to Shape AmericaMasha Gessen: The Future Is History: How Totalitarianism Reclaimed RussiaDavid Grann: Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBINancy MacLean: Democracy in Chains: The Deep History of the Radical Right’s Stealth Plan for America

Poetry

Frank Bidart: Half-light: Collected Poems 1965-2016Leslie Harrison: The Book of EndingsLayli Long Soldier: WHEREASShane McCrae: In the Language of My CaptorDanez Smith: Don’t Call Us Dead: Poems

Young People’s Literature

Elana K. Arnold: What Girls Are Made OfRobin Benway: Far from the TreeErika L. Sánchez: I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican DaughterRita Williams-Garcia: Clayton Byrd Goes UndergroundIbi Zoboi: American Street