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The Journal Gazette

Thursday, October 05, 2017 1:00 am

Finalists for National Book Award announced

HILLEL ITALIE | Associated Press

Also: Library Lions winners revealed

Pulitzer Prize-winning novelists Michael Chabon and Colson Whitehead, former NBC anchorman Tom Brokaw, Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden and theater director Robert Wilson all have something in common: They have been cited by the New York Public Library as “Library Lions.”

The library told The Associated Press on Wednesday that the five honorees would be formally celebrated at a gala on Nov. 6. Library Lions are chosen for their contributions to a better informed and more “thoughtful” society, especially through their efforts on behalf of culture, knowledge and new ideas.

Previous recipients include Harry Belafonte, Elie Wiesel, Steve Martin and Oprah Winfrey.

NEW YORK – Jesmyn Ward, Masha Gessen and Frances Fitzgerald are among this year's finalists for the National Book Awards.

On Wednesday, the National Book Foundation announced short lists of five each in the categories of fiction, nonfiction, young people's literature and poetry. Winners will be announced at a Manhattan dinner ceremony on Nov. 15, when Annie Proulx and publisher Dick Robinson of Scholastic will receive honorary prizes.

Fifteen of the 20 nominees are women.

Ward was cited for her haunting, lyrical novel “Sing, Unburied, Sing,” her first work of fiction since winning the National Book Award for “Salvage the Bones.” The other fiction finalists include Elliot Ackerman's “Dark at the Crossing,” Min Jin Lee's “Pachinko” and a pair of debut works, Carmen Maria Machado's “Her Body and Other Parties: Stories” and Lisa Ko's “The Leavers.”

The nonfiction nominees mostly focused on democracy and racial justice. Gessen was nominated for “The Future is History,” a look into the rise of totalitarianism in her native Russia, and Fitzgerald for “The Evangelicals: The Struggle to Shape America.” The other finalists were Erica Armstrong Dunbar's “Never Caught: The Washingtons' Relentless Pursuit of Their Runaway Slave, Ona Judge,” David Grann's “Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI” and Nancy MacLean's “Democracy in Chains: The Deep History of the Radical Right's Stealth Plan for America.”

In poetry, the nominees were Frank Bidart's “Half-light: Collected Poems 1965-2016,” Leslie Harrison's “The Book of Endings,” Layli Long Soldier's “WHEREAS,” Shane McCrae's “In the Language of My Captor” and Danez Smith's “Don't Call Us Dead: Poems.” The finalists in young people's literature were Elana K. Arnold's “What Girls Are Made Of,” Robin Benway's “Far from the Tree,” Erika L. Sanchez's “I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter,” Rita Williams-Garcia's “Clayton Byrd Goes Underground” and Ibi Zoboi's “American Street.”