As the days get shorter and the autumnal chill slowly sets in on campus, it’s the perfect time to curl up with a book from the Literatures and Languages Library. Can’t decide on one? Luckily, fall is peak season for some national and international book awards. Two major prizes recently announced their shortlists, or the finalists in the running for the top place. The Booker Prize shortlist was announced in Mid-September and the finalists for the National Book Award were just announced on October 4th. And you can find many of the shortlisted titles at the Literatures and Languages Library!
The Booker Prize has been active since 1969 and is awarded annually to a work of fiction which the judges believe will be relevant well into the future. While the book must be written in English and published in the UK or Ireland, the authors may have any nationality and origin. This prize is announced in multiple rounds, with the longlist announced in the summer and shortlist announced in the fall. This year, the winner will be announced on October 17th.
In addition to the notoriety that comes with winning a major prize in literature, each author of a shortlisted work receives £2,500 and the author of the winning work is awarded £50,000.
The Booker Prize Shortlist consists of six works of fiction. This year’s list includes both the shortest work ever nominated as well as the oldest author to be considered for the prize. They are:
Small Things Like These by Claire Keegan
The Seven Moons of Maali Almeida by Shehan Karunatilaka
Oh William! by Elizabeth Strout
The National Book Awards have been around since 1950, when they were established to celebrate the best writing in the United States. There are currently five categories, which include Fiction, Nonfiction, Poetry, Translated Literature, and Young People’s Literature. For each category, ten books are selected for the longlist. This list is narrowed down to five Finalists, from which a winner is chosen. This year, the winners, who each receive $10,000 and a bronze sculpture, will be announced on November 16th.
To be eligible for the Fiction, Nonfiction, Poetry, or Young People’s Literature Awards, the author must either be a U.S. citizen or have been approved by a petition process and their book must have been published by a U.S. publisher located in the United States. The Translated Literature Award does not require either the author or translator to hold U.S. citizenship and the original work does not need to be newly published, but the translated work must be in English and must have been published within the eligibility year.
The finalists for the Fiction, Poetry, and Translated Literature are listed here, but be sure to look at the winners for Nonfiction and Young People’s Literature as well!
Finalists for Fiction:
The Rabbit Hutch by Tess Gunty
The Haunting of Hajji Hotak and Other Stories by Jamil Jan Kochai
The Birdcatcher by Gayl Jones
All This Could Be Different by Sarah Thankam Mathews
The Town of Babylon by Alejandro Varela
Finalists for Poetry:
Look at This Blue by Allison Adelle Hedge Coke
Punks: New & Selected Poems by John Keene
Balladz by Sharon Olds
Best Barbarian by Roger Reeves
The Rupture Tense by Jenny Xie
Finalists for Translated Literature:
A New Name: Septology VI-VII by Jon Fosse, translated from the Norwegian by Damion Searls (click here for the original in Norwegian)
Kibogo by Scholastique Mukasonga, translated from the French by Mark Polizzotti (click here for the original in French)
Jawbone by Mónica Ojeda, translated from the Spanish by Sarah Booker (click here for the original in Spanish)
Seven Empty Houses by Samanta Schweblin, translated from Spanish by Megan McDowell (click here for the original in Spanish)
Scattered All Over the Earth by Yoko Tawada, translated from the Japanese by Margaret Mitsutani