Christopher Paul Curtis, Lauren Groff, Tommy Orange longlisted for U.S. 2018 National Book Awards

The nominees for the 2018 National Book Awards have been revealed.
(From left): Christopher Paul Curtis, Lauren Groff and Tommy Orange are longlisted for 2018 National Book Awards. ( Seibert)

Longlists for the 2018 National Book Awards have been released, with The Journey of Little Charlie by American-Canadian writer Christopher Paul Curtis nominated in the young people's literature category, and Florida by Lauren Groff and There There by Tommy Orange appearing among the fiction nominees. The National Book Awards are American literary awards given annually to the best American literature of the year.

Young people's literature 

(Scholastic Canada)

Curtis, who grew up in Flint, Mich. and now lives in Windsor, Ont., is a Newbery Medal-winning author of historical fiction for children. The Journey of Little Charlie follows a 12-year-old boy who agrees to track down thieves in order to settle his debts with a cruel man named Cap'n Buck. But when Charlie discovers the thieves he's hunting are people who escaped from slavery, his conscience intervenes.

The jury for the young people's literature category includes Robin Benway, Lamar Giles, Grace Worcester Greene, Valerie Koehler and Mitali Perkins.

The full young people's literature longlist:

  • The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo
  • The Assassination of Brangwain by M.T. Anderson and Eugene Yelchin
  • We'll Fly Away by Bryan Bliss
  • The Truth as Told by Mason Buttle by Leslie Connor
  • The Journey of Little Charlie by Christopher Paul Curtis
  • Hey, Kiddo by Jarrett J. Krosoczka 
  • A Very Large Expanse of Sea by Tahereh Mafi
  • Blood Water Paint by Joy McCullough
  • Boots on the Ground: America's War in Vietnam by Elizabeth Partridge
  • What the Night Sings by Vesper Stamper


There There marks a debut from Orange, who writes about a woman's sober return to her family, all of whom are grappling with their own demons.

Groff's collection of short fiction Florida exposes the complexities of human nature as it comes into contact with the natural world. Her previous novel Fates and Furies was nominated for the National Book Award in 2015.

The jury for this prize includes Laila Lalami, Chris Bachelder, Min Jin Lee, Laurie Muchnick and Chinelo Okparanta.

The full fiction longlist:

  • A Lucky Man by Jamel Brinkley
  • Gun Love by Jennifer Clement
  • Florida by Lauren Groff
  • The Boatbuilder by Daniel Gumbiner
  • Where the Dead Sit Talking by Brandon Hobson
  • An American Marriage by Tayari Jones
  • The Great Believers by Rebecca Makai
  • The Friend by Sigrid Nunez
  • There There by Tommy Orange
  • Heads of the Colored People by Nafissa Thompson-Spires


The nonfiction longlist of 10 includes Sarah Smarsh's Heartlanda memoir of her impoverished childhood in Kansas, as well as Rebecca Solnit's Call Them by Their True Names, a collection of essays tackling subjects like misogyny and police violence.

The nonfiction jury is comprised of Annette Gordon-Reed, Rachel Cass, John Freeman, Sarah Manguso and Andrés Reséndez.

The full nonfiction longlist:

  • One Person, No Vote: How Voter Suppression Is Destroying Our Democracy by Carol Anderson
  • The Indian World of George Washington: The First Person, the First Americans, and the Birth of a Nation by Colin G. Calloway
  • Directorate S: The C.I.A. and America's Secret Wars in Afghanistan and Pakistan by Steve Coll
  • Brothers of the Gun: A Memoir of the Syrian Civil War by Marwan Hisham and Molly Crabapple
  • American Eden: David Hosack, Botany and Medicine in the Garden of the Early Republic by Victoria Johnson
  • The Tangled Tree: A Radical New History of Life by David Quammen
  • Heartland: A Memoir of Working Hard and Being Broke in the Richest Country on Earth by Sarah Smarsh
  • Call Them by Their True Names: American Crises (and Essays) by Rebecca Solnit
  • The New Negro: The Life of Alain Locke by Jeffrey C. Stewart
  • We the Corporations: How American Businesses Won Their Civil Rights by Adam Winkler


The poetry longlist features Terrance Hayes, who previously won the award in 2010 for the book Lighthead. He is nominated this year for American Sonnets for My Past and Future Assassin.

The poetry jury includes Mary Jo Bang, Ken Chen, Elise Paschen, Danez Smith and Stephen Sparks.

The full poetry longlist:

  • Wobble by Rae Armantrout
  • feeld by Jos Charles
  • Be With by Forrest Gander
  • American Sonnets for My Past and Future Assassin by Terrance Hayes
  • Museum of the Americas by J. Michael Martinez
  • Ghost Of by Diana Khoi Nguyen
  • Indecency by Justin Phillip Reed
  • lo terciario / the tertiary by Raquel Salas Rivera
  • Monument: Poems New and Selected by Natasha Trethewey
  • Eye Level by Jenny Xie

Translated literature

On the translated literature list, Olga Tokarczuk is longlisted for her Man Booker International Prize-winning book Flightstranslated from Polish by Jennifer Croft. A novel told in fragments, Flights is a series of imaginative stories such as one about a Dutch antaomist who dissects his amputated leg and a Polish woman who returns home to poison her childhood sweetheart.

The jury for the translated fiction category includes Harold Augenbraum, Karen Maeda Allman, Sinan Antoon, Susan Bernofsky and Álvaro Enrigue.

The full translated literature longlist:

  • Disoriental by Négar Djavadi, translated by Tina Kover
  • Comemadre by Roque Larraquy, translated by Heather Cleary
  • The Beekeeper: Rescuing the Stolen Women of Iraq by Dunya Mikhail, translated by Max Weiss and Dunya Mikhail
  • One Part Woman by Perumal Murugan, translated by Aniruddhan Vasudevan
  • Love by Hanne Ørstavik, translated by Martin Aitken
  • Wait, Blink: A Perfect Picture of Inner Life by Gunnhild Øyehaug, translated by Kari Dickson
  • Trick by Domenico Starnone, translated Jhumpa Lahiri
  • The Emissary by Yoko Tawada, translated by Margaret Mitsutani
  • Flights by Olga Tokarczuk, translated by Jennifer Croft
  • Aetherial Worlds by Tatyana Tolstaya, published by Anya Migdal​

The finalists of the awards will be announced on Oct. 10, followed by the winners on Nov. 14.


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