Here are the finalists for the 2022 National Book Awards

25 titles have been shortlisted for the 2022 National Book Awards, the National Book Foundation announced Tuesday morning.

Selections from last month’s longlist, which included many debut authors, will compete in five genres: fiction, non-fiction, poetry, translated literature and young adult fiction.

In the fiction category, Tess Gunty’s debut novel The Rabbit Hutch, an epic story about a failed Indiana industrial town, meets Jamil Jan Kochai’s second book, the story collection The Haunting of Hajji Hotak; Gayl Jones’ new novel The Birdcatcher about black American artists in Ibiza; Sarah Thankam Mathew’s debut novel, All This Could be Different, about a young queer immigrant; and Alejandro Varela’s debut The Town of Babylon, about a gay Latinx professor’s contradictory return to suburban Long Island.

Books on science and race dominate the non-fiction shortlist. Meghan O’Rourke’s The Invisible Kingdom: Reimagining Chronic Illness and David Quammen’s Breathless: The Scientific Race to Defeat a Deadly Virus address the vulnerabilities of Western medicine and the global response to the COVID-19 pandemic, respectively.

South to America: A Journey Below the Mason-Dixon to Understanding the Soul of a Nation by Princeton University professor Imani Perry documents the region’s racial heritage; Robert Samuels and Toluse Olorunnipa bring deep historical and human context to their biography, His Name Is George Floyd: One Man’s Life and the Struggle for Racial Justice. Ingrid Rojas Contrera’s nominated memoir, The Man Who Could Move Clouds, tells of the exhumation of her grandfather, a shaman in Colombia.

Five authors and one translator have already received awards from the foundation in all categories, including 1998 fiction finalist Jones; 2019 Translation Lit finalist Scholastique Mukasonga; 2002 Poetry finalist Sharon Olds; 2018 non-fiction longlist David Quammen; and Yoko Tawada and Margaret Mitsutani, the author-translator team that won in 2018 for translated literature.

Winners, selected by independent judges, will be announced on November 16 at the 73rd Annual National Book Awards. The event will be held in person at Cipriani Wall Street in New York City for the first time since 2019. The ceremony will also be streamed live.

The celebrations will include the presentation of two lifetime achievement awards: Neil Gaiman will present Art Spiegelman with the Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters and Tracie D. Hall will be presented with the Literarian Award for Outstanding Service to the American Literary Community.

Here are this year’s 25 finalists:


  • Tess Gunty, “The Rabbit Hutch”
  • Gayl Jones, “The Birdcatcher”
  • Jamil Jan Kochai, “The Haunting of Hajji Hotak and Other Stories”
  • Sarah Thankam Mathews, “All This Could Be Different”
  • Alejandro Varela, “The City of Babylon”


  • Meghan O’Rourke, “The Invisible Kingdom: Chronic Disease Reimagined”
  • Imani Perry, “South to America: A Journey Below the Mason-Dixon to Understand the Soul of a Nation”
  • David Quammen, “Breathless: The Scientific Race to Fight a Deadly Virus”
  • Ingrid Rojas Contreras, “The Man Who Could Move Clouds: A Memoir”
  • Robert Samuels and Toluse Olorunnipa, “His Name is George Floyd: A Man’s Life and the Fight for Racial Justice”


  • Allison Adelle Hedge Coke, “Look at That Blue”
  • John Keene, “Punks: New and Selected Poems”
  • Sharon Olds, “Balladz”
  • Roger Reeves, “Best Barbarian”
  • Jenny XieThe Rupture Tempus

Translated Literature

  • Jon Fosse, “A New Name: Septology VI-VII.” Translated from the Norwegian by Damion Searls
  • Scholastique Mukasonga, “Kibogo”. Translated from the French by Mark Polizzotti
  • Monica Ojeda, “Jawbone”. Translated from Spanish by Sarah Booker
  • Samanta Schweblin, “Seven Empty Houses”. Translated from Spanish by Megan McDowell
  • Yoko Tawada, “Scattered Over the Whole Earth”. Translated from the Japanese by Margaret Mitsutani

youth literature

  • Kelly Barnhill, “The Ogre and the Orphans”
  • Sonora Reyes, The Lesbiana’s Guide to Catholic School”
  • Tommie Smith, Derrick Barnes and Dawud Anyabwile, “Victory. Stand!: Raise my fist for justice”
  • Sabaa Tahir, “All My Rage”
  • Lisa Yee, “Maizy Chen’s Last Chance” Here are the finalists for the 2022 National Book Awards

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