American writers with roots in Ireland, Pakistan and Uganda have been named as fiction finalists for the National Book Awards, announced  Wednesday.

Irish-born novelist Colum McCann was nominated for Let the Great World Spin, a novel about a sprawling cast of characters in 1970s New York City, and Daniyal Mueenuddin, who now lives on a farm in the Punjab region, was nominated for his debut short-story collection In Other Rooms, Other Wonders.

Also nominated were:

  • Marcel Theroux of Uganda, for Far North.
  • Bonnie Jo Campbell of Michigan, for American Salvage.
  • Jayne Anne Phillips of California, for Lark and Termite.

The nonfiction nominees dealt with history and the natural world and included:

  • The First Tycoon, a biography of Cornelius Vanderbilt, by T.J. Stiles.
  • Following the Water: A Hydromancer’s Notebook, by David M. Carroll.
  • Remarkable Creatures: Epic Adventures in the Search for the Origins of the Species by Sean B. Carroll.
  • Fordlandia: The Rise and Fall of Henry Ford’s Forgotten Jungle City by Greg Grandin.
  • The Poison King: The Life and Legend of Mithradates, Rome’s Deadliest Enemy by Adrienne Mayor.

Carroll's book about evolution is joined by a young readers' biography of Darwin, Deborah Heiligman's Charles and Emma: The Darwins’ Leap of Faith.

Other books for children nominated:

  • Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice, by Philip Hoose.
  • Stitches by David Small.
  • Lips Touch: Three Times by Laini Taylor.
  • Jumped by Rita Williams-Garcia.

Winners of the $10,000 award will be announced at a Nov. 18 ceremony in New York hosted by humourist Andy Borowitz.