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Current Book Awards & Nominees: 2018 / 2019
The 2019 Women's Prize for Fiction
The Women’s Prize for Fiction is the UK’s most prestigious annual book award celebrating & honouring women’s fiction. Founded in 1996, the Prize was set up to celebrate originality, accessibility & excellence in writing by women and to connect world-class writers with readers everywhere.
[more...]


The 2019 longlist for the Women's Prize for Fiction
  • The 2019 shortlist (best 6 titles) was announced Monday, April 29, 2019.
    • THE SILENCE OF THE GIRLS by Pat Barker
    • MY SISTER, THE SERIAL KILLER by Oyinkan Braithwaite
    • MILKMAN by Anna Burns
    • ORDINARY PEOPLE by Diana Evans
    • AN AMERICAN MARRIAGE by Tayari Jones [ WINNER! ]
    • CIRCE by Madeline Miller
  • The 2019 longlist (best 16 novels of the year) was announced Monday, March 4, 2019.
    • THE SILENCE OF THE GIRLS by Pat Barker
    • REMEMBERED by Yvonne Battle-Felton
    • MY SISTER, THE SERIAL KILLER by Oyinkan Braithwaite
    • THE PISCES by Melissa Broder
    • MILKMAN by Anna Burns
    • FRESHWATER by Akwaeke Emezi
    • ORDINARY PEOPLE by Diana Evans
    • SWAN SONG by Kelleigh Greenberg-Jephcott
    • AN AMERICAN MARRIAGE by Tayari Jones
    • NUMBER ONE CHINESE RESTAURANT by Lillian Li
    • BOTTLED GOODS by Sophie van Llewyn
    • LOST CHILDREN ARCHIVE by Valeria Luiselli
    • PRAISE SONG FOR THE BUTTERFLIES by Bernice L. McFadden
    • CIRCE by Madeline Miller
    • GHOST WALL by Sarah Moss
    • NORMAL PEOPLE by Sally Rooney
  • The winner of the 2019 Women's Prize for Fiction was announced Wednesday, June 5, 2019

    (Algonquin/Workman)
    THE WINNER OF THE 2019 WOMEN'S PRIZE FOR FICTION
    AN AMERICAN MARRIAGE by Tayari Jones
    Newlyweds Celestial and Roy are the embodiment of both the American Dream and the New South. But as they settle into the routine of their life together, they are ripped apart by circumstances neither could have imagined. Roy is arrested and sentenced to twelve years for a crime he didn't commit. A profoundly insightful look into the hearts and minds of people both bound and separated by forces beyond their control.
    "Wise and compassionate. . . It is beautifully written, with many allusions to black music and culture - including the everyday poetry of the African-American community that begs to be heard. It also warns us to awaken our compassion and empathy. This can be you, the story whispers. Forget that at your peril." - The New York Times
    "Compelling. . . intimate and introspective: a story about the unpredictable ways love ferments in the airless conditions of forced separation. Each character speaks directly to us." - The Washington Post
    "Jones's exploration is a breathtaking look at who and what can be complicit in the breakdown of a marriage. Quietly powerful. . . It becomes head-spinning how Jones upends all expectations, flipping the reader's perceptions and offering unexpected moments of clarity." - The Atlantic.
    "Peopled by vividly realized, individual characters and driven by interpersonal drama, but also very much about being black in contemporary America. This is, at its heart, a love story, but a love story warped by racial injustice. And, in it, Jones suggests that racial injustice haunts the African-American story. Subtle, well-crafted, and powerful." - Kirkus Reviews *** starred review ***



    • The 2019 Man Booker International Prize
      Awarded annually for a single work of fiction that has been translated into English. Underlining the importance of translation, the £50,000 prize is divided equally between the author and the translator.
    • The longlist was announced on March 13, 2019
    • The shortlist was announced on April 9, 2019.
    • The winner was announced on Tuesday, May 21, 2019.
    • Beginning June 1, 2019, the Man International Man Booker Prize and the Man Booker Prize will revert to the names International Booker Prize and Booker Prize. The name of the Prizes' new sponsor, Crankstart, will not be included in the name of either Prize.
      [more...]

      THE 2019 MAN BOOKER INTERNATIONAL PRIZE SHORTLIST:

      *** WINNER ***

      • Celestial Bodies by Jokha Alharthi (Arabic/Omani), translated by Marilyn Booth (Sandstone Press/Dufour Editions) *** WINNER ***
      • The Years by Annie Ernaux (French), translated by Alison L. Strayer (Seven Stories Press/Random)
      • The Pine Islands by Marion Poschmann (German), translated by Jen Calleja (Profile Books, Serpent’s Tail)
      • Drive Your Plow Over The Bones Of The Dead by Olga Tokarczuk (Polish), translated by Antonia Lloyd-Jones (Riverhead/Random)
      • The Shape of the Ruins by Juan Gabriel Vásquez (Spanish/Colombian), translated by Anne McLean (Riverhead/Random)
      • The Remainder by Alia Trabucco Zerán (Spanish/Chilean and Italian), translated by Sophie Hughes (Coffee House Press)
    • Winner of the 2019 Man Booker International Prize [presented Tuesday, May 21, 2019 - more...]

      (Sandstone/Dufour)
      CELESTIAL BODIES by Jokha Alharthi | Translated by Marilyn Booth
      WINNER OF THE 2019 MAN BOOKER INTERNATIONAL PRIZE
      The very first winner of the International Booker Prize originally written in Arabic. Three sisters and their families in the Oman village of al-Awafi witness their country evolve from a traditional, slave-owning society slowly redefining itself after the colonial era, to the crossroads of its complex oil-producing present. Tautly and elegantly structured, Celestial Bodies is a coiled spring of a novel, telling of Oman's coming-of-age through the prism of one family's losses and loves.
      "A book to win over the head and the heart in equal measure. Its delicate artistry draws us into a richly imagined community, opening out to tackle profound questions of time and mortality." — Man Booker International Prize Judging Panel.
      "A beautifully achieved account of lives pulling at the edges of change. A novel that deftly undermines recurrent stereotypes about Arab language and cultures." — The Irish Times (U.K.).
      "Marks the arrival of a major literary talent. . . Celestial Bodies continually re-evaluates both present and past. And while the book doesn’t tell us how things turn out, it skilfully builds suspense by creating 'Aha!' moments as characters come to better understand their pasts. Readers who can leap nimbly into its stream will certainly find themselves carried away." — The National.
      "Slavery was only outlawed in Oman in 1970 and its dark complexities affect the families at the heart of the novel. The glimpses into a culture relatively little known in the West are fascinating." — The Guardian (U.K.).



      The 2019 Nebula Awards [presented Saturday, May 18, 2019 - more...]

      The Nebula Awards are voted on by members of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America. Founded in 1965 by Damon Knight, the SFFWA has over 1,500 writers as members, among them many of the leading authors of science fiction and fantasy. The Nebula Awards were presented this year on Saturday, May 18, at the 54th Nebula Conference in Los Angeles.

      NOMINEES FOR THE 2019 NEBULA AWARD: Best Science Fiction/Fantasy Novel:

    • The Calculating Stars by Mary Robinette Kowal *** WINNER ***
    • The Poppy War by R. F. Kuang
    • Blackfish City by Sam J. Miller
    • Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik
    • Witchmark by C. L. Polk
    • Trail of Lightning by Rebecca Roanhorse
      The 2019 Nebula Nominees for Best Novel

      (Tor/MPS)
      THE CALCULATING STARS by Mary Robinette Kowal
      2019 HUGO AWARD FINALIST | WINNER OF THE 2019 NEBULA AWARD
      Veteran historical fantasist Kowal tackles an alternate history of the space race, in which a catastrophe necessitates an earlier reach for the stars in the 1950s - and the confrontation of gender barriers by aspiring astronaut Elma York. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
      "Kowal's outstanding prequel to her Hugo-winning novelette The Lady Astronaut of Mars shows the alternate history that created a mid-20th-century Mars colony. In a compelling parallel to our own history, Kowal explores a wide range of issues - including religion, grief, survivor's guilt, mental health, racism, misogyny, and globalism - without sermonising or subsuming the characters and plot. Elma's struggles with her own prejudices and relationships, including her relationship with herself, provide a captivating human center to the apocalyptic background. Readers will thrill to the story of this 'lady astronaut' and eagerly anticipate the promised sequels." - Publishers Weekly *** starred review ***.
      "When a program invites women to take the same astronaut training as men, Elma York won't let anything - not family, history, or the attitudes of men regarding the proper place for women - stand in her way. A fast-forward thrill ride, Hugo Award winner Kowal's exciting alternate history, the first in a duology, highlights the space race and the sexism of the time. Readers will be hooked!" - Library Journal.
      "Kowal strikes a fine balance of integrating historical accuracy - including mid-twentieth-century sexism, racism, and technology - with speculative storytelling. Readers will root for Elma as she breaks barriers and calculates lifesaving equations, all while dealing with sometimes-crippling anxiety." - Booklist.

      (Harper Voyager)
      THE POPPY WAR by R. F. Kuang
      A BEST SCIENCE FICTION BOOK OF THE YEAR: Library Journal, Vulture, Entropy, Bustle
      2019 NEBULA AWARD FINALIST
      When Lin gains admittance to the Empire's top military academy, she discovers that despite her martial arts prowress and academic excellence, her peasant background marks her as a target. The odds seem stacked against her until Lin finds she has a gift for shamanism. R. F. Kuang - a brilliantly imaginative talent - makes her exciting debut with this epic military fantasy, set in an alternate world of historical China.
      "An ambitious fantasy re-imagining of Asian history populated by martial artists, philosopher-generals, and gods. Kuang highlights the horrors of war, especially the moral and emotional toll on combatants who employ scorched-earth strategies. The novel does not allow its characters to slough off their culpability for channeling godly powers. Readers may empathize with Rin's desire for vengeance, but any thrill at her success is matched by horror at its costs. This is a strong and dramatic launch to Kuang's career." — Publishers Weekly.
      "The narrative is an impactful, impressive symphony of words that grant life to this incredible morality tale. Setting the stage for an epic fantasy is an understandably enormous undertaking, but Kuang does an exceptional job of world and character building." — RT Book Reviews : Top Pick.
      "The humor is a bitter laugh, the lessons bruising. . . The book starts as an epic bildungsroman, and just when you think it can't get any darker, it does. Kuang pulls from East Asian history, including the brutality of the Second Sino-Japanese war, to weave a wholly unique experience." — The Washington Post: Best Science Fiction Novels.
      "Immediate, visceral and wrenching, pulling on the reader's sense of disgust and anger. The 'war is hell' trope plays out solemnly and intimately here, leaving no character untouched. Thank goodness we have Rin to lead us through it. Her tenacity, stubbornness and insecurity are instantly sympathetic and Kuang's attention to Rin's feelings opens up oceans of emotional depth. There's a definite weight to Rin's conflicting choices that only builds as the suspenseful final act plays out." — Bookpage *** starred review ***.

      (Ecco/Harper)
      BLACKFISH CITY by Sam Miller
      2019 NEBULA AWARD FINALIST
      After the climate wars, a floating city is constructed in the Arctic Circle, a remarkable feat of mechanical and social engineering, complete with geothermal heating and sustainable energy. But decay has set in: the contradictions of incredible wealth alongside direst poverty are spawning unrest, and a new disease is ravaging the population. A remarkably urgent novel about political corruption, organized crime, technology run amok, the consequences of climate change, gender identity, and the unifying power of human connection.
      "An ambitious, imaginative, and big-hearted dystopian ensemble story that's by turns elegiac and angry. Miller has crafted a thriller that unflinchingly examines the ills of urban capitalism. The floating city of Qaanaaq is a beautiful and brutal character in its own right, rendered in poetic interludes." - Publishers Weekly *** starred review ***.
      "Qaanaaq is vividly brought to life in all its squalid glory, and Miller excels at depicting a metropolis bursting at the seams and populated by both refugees and the elite. Blackfish City is a compelling dystopian thriller." - The Guardian (U.K.)
      "An eco-punk thriller with startling implications for how climate change, technology, and the political machinations of the mega-rich could dramatically alter our future. Sam J. Miller has proven himself a force to be reckoned with. Fascinating. . . A science fantasy that is truly remarkable in scope." - B&N Sci-Fi & Fantasy.
      "An urgent tale imploring us to look at the ties between technology, race, gender and class privilege. . . Surprisingly heartwarming. . . Ultimately, Blackfish is a book about power structures and the way that privilege is built on the backs of the disenfranchised - wrapped in an action-packed science fiction thriller." - The Washington Post

      (Del Rey/Random)
      SPINNING SILVER by Naomi Novik
      A BEST SCIENCE FICTION BOOK OF THE YEAR: The New York Times Book Review, NPR, Time, Vox, Vulture, Paste, Bustle, Library Journal
      2019 HUGO AWARD FINALIST | 2019 NEBULA AWARD FINALIST
      Miryem comes from a family of moneylenders, but her compassionate father's inability to collect his debts has left his family on the edge of poverty - until Miryem takes matters into her own hands. Hardening her heart, Miryem sets out to claim what is owed and soon gains a reputation for being able to turn silver into gold. But when her talents come to the attention of a fairy-King, she finds the fate of her world may depend on her. Naomi Novik, the acclaimed author of Uprooted, draws readers deep into a glittering realm of fantasy, wonder and terror.
      "This gorgeous, complex, and magical novel, grounded in Germanic, Russian, and Jewish folklore but richly overlaid with a cohesive, creative story of its own, rises well above a mere modern re-imagining of classic tales. Novik probes the edges between the everyday and the extraordinary, balancing moods of wonder and of inevitability. Her work inspires deep musings about love, wealth, and commitment, and embodies the best of the timeless fairy-tale aesthetic. Readers will be sad to walk away from its deeply immersive setting. This is the kind of book that one might wish to inhabit forever." — Publishers Weekly *** starred review ***.
      "A perfect tale. . . This book is about the determination and quiet competence of women doing remarkable things without knowing first that they can do them. A big and meaty novel, rich in both ideas and people, with the vastness of Tolkien and the empathy and joy in daily life of Le Guin." — The New York Times.
      "In spare prose of great clarity Novik weaves in and out of multiple first-person narratives exploring human and alien social structures and ethnic prejudices, fathers and daughters, damaged relationships and hidden agendas, wringing unexpected consequences from seemingly simple choices. A medieval fable blossoms into a thoughtful, emotionally complex, absorbing drama that stands confidently on its own merits." — Kirkus Reviews.
      "Novik addresses weighty questions of power, choice, prejudice, beauty, and identity with aplomb. Echoes of the Rumpelstiltskin fairy tale as well as Greek and Slavic myths are transformed through Novik's skill. VERDICT: This masterly, immersive high fantasy tale is grounded in real-world challenges and opportunities for growth. Highly recommended." — Library Journal *** starred review ***.

      (Tor/MPS)
      WITCHMARK by C. L. Polk
      2019 NEBULA AWARD FINALIST
      In a world reminiscent of Edwardian England in the shadow of a World War, cabals of noble families use their unique magical gifts to control the fates of nations, while one young man with the secret gift of healing seeks only to live a life of his own. An exceptional debut full of thrills, atmosphere, lost souls, and more than a touch of romance.
      "Polk's stellar debut, set in an alternate early 20th century in an England-like land recovering from a WWI-like war, blends taut mystery, exciting political intrigue, and inventive fantasy. The final revelations are impossible to see coming and prove that Polk is a writer to watch." - Publishers Weekly *** starred review ***.
      "Many disparate elements are expertly woven together to make this debut a crackler, with layers like a nesting doll and just as delightful to discover. There's a will-he-or-won't-he romance, mages, wizards, and political intrigue, all wrapped up in the feeling of a historical mystery. Polk has created an amazing new world with hints of Edwardian glamour, sizzling secrets, and forbidden love that crescendos to a cinematic finish. Witchmark is a can't-miss debut that will enchant readers." - Booklist *** starred review ***.
      "Thoroughly charming and deftly paced. . . opening up intriguing possibilities for a sequel." - The New York Times, (Best New Fantasy Novels)
      "A startlingly beautiful fantasy debut that is both magical conspiracy thriller and supernatural love story... The increasing darkness of Witchmark is beautifully modulated, funneling the reader closer to a chilling, utterly fantastic final reveal." - BookPage *** starred review ***.

      (Gallery/Simon & Schuster)
      TRAIL OF LIGHTNING by Rebecca Roanhorse
      2019 HUGO AWARD FINALIST | 2019 NEBULA AWARD FINALIST
      While most of the world has drowned beneath the sudden rising waters of a climate apocalypse, Dinétah (formerly the Navajo reservation) has been reborn. The gods and heroes of legend walk the land, but so do monsters. Maggie Hoskie is a Dinétah monster hunter, a supernaturally gifted killer. When a small town needs help finding a missing girl, Maggie is their last best hope. Rebecca Roanhorse is an exciting new voice in speculative fiction, and her skilful weaving of Navajo mythology into her debut novel makes for a truly fascinating and unique read.
      "It takes a special talent to devise an apocalypse that feels original. Rebecca Roanhorse meets the challenge head-on. Smartly paced, with character development and action sequences expertly interspersed. The beginning of a longer saga, Trail of Lightning is a highly satisfying reading experience all on its own. Roanhorse possesses a sure hand and a singular vision, and she establishes her credentials as a novelist with this ambitious, exciting and well-executed first book." - The San Francisco Chronicle.
      "Vividly depicts Navajo land, legends, and culture in a marvelous fantasy debut. . . Roanhorse unspools a fascinating narrative of colorful magic in a world made otherwise bleak by both natural and man-made circumstances. The monster-hunting plot nearly takes a back seat to Maggie's challenging journey of working through personal and cultural trauma. A fresh take on the tale of the emotionally and spiritually wounded hero who faces down increasing evil to make the world better. This rich tale from a strong Native American voice is recommended for all fantasy audiences." - Publishers Weekly *** starred review ***.
      "Roanhorse's sharp prose vividly builds a reborn Navajo universe filled with magic and flawed protagonists who are striving to live beyond their presumed destinies. VERDICT: This exciting postapocalyptic debut, with its heady combination of smartly drawn characters, Wild West feel, and twisty plot, is a must-read." - Library Journal *** starred review ***.
      "Delightful. . . I loved the worldbuilding. After decades of reading genre futures in which black and brown people don't exist, it's deeply satisfying to find fiction in which histories of genocide actually equip them to survive disasters." - The New York Times.



      The 2019 Edgar Award [presented April 26, 2019 - more...]

      2019 EDGAR AWARD NOMINEES: Best Mystery Novel:

    • The Liar’s Girl by Catherine Ryan Howard
    • House Witness by Mike Lawson
    • A Gambler's Jury by Victor Methos
    • Down the River Unto the Sea by Walter Mosley *** WINNER ***
    • Only to Sleep by Lawrence Osborne
    • A Treacherous Curse by Deanna Raybourn
      The 2019 Edgar Award Winners:

    • 2019 BEST MYSTERY / SUSPENSE NOVEL: DOWN THE RIVER UNTO THE SEA by Walter Mosley

      (Mulholland/Hachette)
      WINNER OF THE 2019 EDGAR AWARD FOR BEST NOVEL
      DOWN THE RIVER UNTO THE SEA by Walter Mosley
      Acclaimed mystery author Walter Mosley introduces a new main character in this Edgar-Award-winning gem. Joe King Oliver, a framed ex-New York City police detective turned private eye, takes on the case of a black activist journalist accused of a double murder. Oliver's path leads him to hired killers and crooked cops, drug addicts and prostitutes, and a host of men, women and children - those whose lives have been shattered by the law and those who are supposed to uphold it.
      "It's hard not to simply quote all the great lines. There are so many of them. You want to share the pleasures of Mosley's jazz-inflected dialogue and the moody, descriptive passages reminiscent of Raymond Chandler at his best. Down the River Unto the Sea is as gorgeous a novel as anything Mosley's ever written. And with Joe King Oliver I'm betting, and hoping, he's given us a character we haven't see the last of." — The Washington Post.
      "A wild ride that delivers hard-boiled satisfaction while toying with our prejudices and preconceptions. The darker and uglier the story gets, the more Joe King Oliver comes alive. . . Despite its serious subject matter, Down the River Unto the Sea is an optimistic noir. A fitting work for a world riddled with dark contradictions." — The Los Angeles Times.
      "Mosley shakes things up, crafting a story set squarely in the time of Black Lives Matter. Urgent in its plotting and carefully observed in the behaviors and the voices of its supporting cast. . . Mosley makes it all look simple, creating in Joe King Oliver another fascinatingly flawed detective brimming with potential." — The San Francisco Chronicle.
      "Mosley rekindles the remarkable energy that drove the early Easy Rawlins novels. And he has created a new hero in Joe King Oliver with the depth and vulnerability to sustain what readers will hope becomes a new series. Mosley writes with great power here about themes that have permeated his work: institutional racism, political corruption, and the ways that both of these issues affect not only society at large but also the inner lives of individual men and women. It's the perfect moment for Mosley to unveil an exciting new hero and a series set in the present and confronting the issues that drive today's headlines." — Booklist *** starred review ***.

    • 2019 BEST FIRST NOVEL: BEARSKIN by James A. McLaughlin

      (Ecco/Harper)
      WINNER OF THE 2019 EDGAR AWARD FOR BEST FIRST NOVEL
      BEARSKIN by James A. McLaughlin
      Rice Moore, a caretaker for a remote forest preserve in Virginia, cherishes a solitary life that enables him to hide from the Mexican drug cartels he betrayed back in Arizona. But when Rice finds the carcass of a bear killed on the grounds, his quiet life is upended.
      "As taut as a crossbow and as sharp as an arrowhead, McLaughlin's debut unfolds in the Appalachian wilderness of Virginia, a landscape whose heart of darkness pulses viscerally through its characters. The novel's denouement, a smoothly orchestrated confluence of the greater and lesser subplots, plays out against a tempest-tossed natural setting whose intrinsic beauty and roughness provide the perfect context for the story's volatile events. This is a thrilling, thoroughly satisfying debut." — Publishers Weekly *** starred review ***.
      "A violent, compelling story that uses its milieu to incredible effect. Told in spare prose and portraying the authentic mechanics of hunting, combat, and psychological defense, the novel dares the reader to root for this damaged antihero but convinces us that he's worth it. An intense, visceral debut." — Kirkus Reviews *** starred review ***.
      "Part thriller, part crime novel, part dreamscape, James A. McLaughlin's Bearskin refuses to be contained. Wonderfully lucid prose starkly conveys Rice's descent into a wild existence. Smart and sophisticated, with animals both wild and domestic acting as metaphors, Bearskin is a gritty, down-home tale told with brute force. Rice is a memorable, reluctant hero for both his community and the animals in his charge." — BookPage *** starred review ***.
      "Gruesomely gorgeous. McLaughlin writes about the natural world with a casual lyricism and un-self-conscious joy. Remarkable. . . The kind of writing that makes me shiver." — The New York Times.
      "A powerful and often profound debut, Bearskin constructs a riveting narrative, set within a natural world that, should it vanish, McLaughlin suggests, might take part of us with it." — USA Today.



      The 2019 Pulitzer Prizes [presented April 15, 2019 - more...]

    • FICTION:

      (Norton)
      WINNER OF THE 2019 PULITZER PRIZE FOR FICTION
      A 2018 MAN BOOKER PRIZE FINALIST

      THE OVERSTORY by Richard Powers
      Nine remarkable strangers are summoned in different ways for an ultimate, brutal stand to save the continent's few remaining acres of virgin forest. Richard Powers delivers a sweeping, impassioned novel of activism and resistance that is also a stunning homage to the natural world - a world alongside ours, and almost invisible to us. This is the story of a handful of people who learn how to see that world and who are drawn up into its unfolding catastrophe.
      "This ambitious novel soars up through the canopy of American literature and remakes the landscape of environmental fiction." — The Washington Post.
      "An extraordinary novel. . . an astonishing performance. I found, while reading, that some of what was happening to his characters passed into my conscience, like alcohol into the bloodstream, and left a feeling behind of grief or guilt, even after I put the book down." — The Guardian (U.K.).
      "A masterpiece of operatic proportions, involving nine central characters and more than half a century of American life. A magnificent achievement: a novel that is, by turns, both optimistic and fatalistic, idealistic without being naive." — Kirkus Reviews *** starred review ***.
      "A magnificent saga! Powers’ sylvan tour de force is alive with gorgeous descriptions; continually surprising, often heartbreaking characters; complex suspense; unflinching scrutiny of pain; celebration of creativity and connection; and informed and expressive awe over the planet’s life force and its countless and miraculous manifestations." — Booklist *** starred review ***.
      "A monumental novel that accomplishes what few living writers from either camp, art or science, could attempt. Using the tools of story, Powers pulls readers heart-first into a perspective so much longer-lived and more subtly developed than the human purview that we gain glimpses of a vast, primordial sensibility, while watching our own kind get whittled down to size. . . The descriptions of this deeply animate place stand with any prose I’ve ever read. I hesitate to tell more, and spoil the immense effort Powers invests in getting us into that primal forest to bear witness." — The New York Times.

    • GENERAL NON-FICTION:

      (FSG/Macmillan)
      WINNER OF THE 2019 PULITZER PRIZE FOR NON-FICTION
      AMITY AND PROSPERITY: One Family and the Fracturing of America by Eliza Griswold
      When farm animals, pets, and then children begin to sicken and die in a small Appalachian town, single mother Stacey Haney goes up against the corporate forces behind the natural gas fracking boom. Drawing on seven years of immersive reporting, prizewinning poet and journalist Eliza Griswold reveals what happens when an imperiled town faces a crisis, and a family wagers everything on an improbable quest for justice.
      "Griswold painstakingly builds the narrative amid its historical and social context. Griswold’s brilliant choice is to focus tightly on a small group of residents and let the details of their predicament speak for themselves. Thoroughly reported and tightly paced, Amity and Prosperity is an essential document of the region’s latest go-round with the riches underfoot." — The Los Angeles Review of Books.
      "Griswold's empathetic yet analytical account of Stacey Haney's indefatigable role as advocate for justice is a thorough and thoroughly blood-pressure-raising account of the greed and fraud embedded in the environmentally ruinous natural-gas industry. As honest and unvarnished an account of the human cost of corporate corruption as one will find." — Booklist *** starred review ***.
      "Her impressive research notwithstanding, Amity and Prosperity is at heart a David and Goliath story fit for the movies. It has everything but a happy ending: a bucolic setting concealing fortune and danger; poor but proud locals; tough, reluctant victim-heroes; grisly scenes of animal die-off; and courtroom drama as a tenacious husband-wife legal team takes on the industry and the state. A valuable, discomforting book." — The New York Times.

    • HISTORY:

      (Simon & Schuster)

      10 BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR
      WINNER OF THE 2019 PULITZER PRIZE FOR HISTORY
      A NEW YORK TIMES BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR

      FREDERICK DOUGLASS: Prophet of Freedom David W. Blight
      The most important African American of the nineteenth century: Frederick Douglass was an escaped slave who became the greatest orator of his day and one of the leading abolitionists and writers of the era. There has not been a major biography of Douglass in a quarter century. Now David W. Blight affords this major American prophet and reformer the distinguished biography he deserves. With the lucid prose and in-depth research that have been a hallmark of his long and distinguished career, the acclaimed historian has drawn on new information few other biographers have been able to access. The result is a portrait that is likely to stand as the definitive account for years to come.
      “A monumental work about a monumental figure. Cinematic and deeply engaging. . . a tour de force of storytelling. Blight isn't looking to overturn our understanding of Douglass, whose courage and achievements were unequivocal, but to complicate it - a measure by which this ambitious and empathetic biography resoundingly succeeds.” - The New York Times (Editors' Choice).
      “David W. Blight brilliantly captures this legendary figure and his times in one of the best biographies of recent years. Blight's portrait of Douglass is engrossing, moving, nuanced, frightening - and certainly thought-provoking.” - Bookpage *** starred review ***.
      “The most comprehensive biography of Douglass ever written. Above all, Blight lets this remarkable voice speak for itself throughout the text. Douglass excelled at telling his own story (he wrote three autobiographies), and Blight does not talk over him. Blight has written a biography that will likely stand as definitive for decades to come.” - The Philadelphia Inquirer.
      “Magisterial. . . David Blight has written the definitive biography of Frederick Douglass. With extraordinary detail he illuminates the complexities of Douglass's life and career and paints a powerful portrait of one of the most important American voices of the 19th century. The resulting chronicle enriches our understanding of Douglass and the challenges he faced and offers a lesson for our own troubled times.” - The Boston Globe.

    • BIOGRAPHY:

      (Oxford University Press)
      WINNER OF THE 2019 PULITZER PRIZE FOR BIOGRAPHY
      WINNER OF THE 2019 NATIONAL BOOK AWARD

      THE NEW NEGRO: The Life of Alain Locke by Jeffrey C. Stewart
      In the early 20th century, a black man emerged from Philadelphia to mentor a generation of young artists including Langston Hughes and Zora Neale Hurston that he called the “New Negro” - the African Americans whose art, literature, music, and drama would inspire black people to greatness. Jeffrey C. Stewart offers the definitive biography of the father of the Harlem Renaissance, based on primary sources of his life and on interviews with those who knew him personally.
      "Jeffrey C. Stewart’s majestic biography gives Locke the attention his life deserves, but the book is more than a catalog of this philosopher and critic’s achievements. Stewart also renders the tangled knot of art, sexuality and yearning for liberation that propelled Locke’s work. The benefits of this book's thoroughness are manifold. A master class in how to trace the lineage of a biographical subject’s ideas and predilections." — The New York Times.
      "Stewart’s sprawling, magisterial labor of love comes as a reminder that a century ago, when race relations were far worse than they are now, a fiercely independent philosopher of color set down visions of black American freedom beyond economic agendas, nationalist visions, and political protest. This book draws Alain Locke out of the shadows and bestows his legacy to artists of all colors and genders seeking freedom from narrow-minded expectations and fear-mongering hypocrisy." — Book Forum *** starred review ***.
      "A magisterial biography of the prime mover of the Harlem Renaissance. This hefty, deeply researched book brilliantly doubles as a history of the philosophical debates that girded black artistic triumphs early in the 20th century. A sweeping biography that gets deep into not just the man, but the movements he supported, resisted, and inspired." — Kirkus Reviews *** starred review ***.
      "A vitally important, astonishingly well researched, exhaustive biography of the brilliant, complex, flawed, utterly fascinating man who served as the curator, intellectual champion, and guiding spirit of the Harlem Renaissance. Stewart's account of Locke’s life is detailed, sometimes astoundingly so. More important, he displays a thorough grasp of the intellectual challenges Locke took on." — The Wall Street Journal.

    • POETRY:

      (Norton)
      WINNER OF THE 2019 PULITZER PRIZE FOR POETRY
      BE WITH by Forrest Gander
      Gander has been called one of our most formally restless poets, and these new poems express a characteristically tensile energy and uniquely eclectic diction. His partner of more than thirty years, the poet C. D. Wright, died unexpectedly in her sleep in 2016 and in many ways, this collection of Gander's poetry serves as both an elegy to Wright and an outpouring of Gander's grief.
      "The book’s title gives away its most tragic insight. 'Be with': the phrase is stripped of its object; the beloved has been ripped from the world. Reciprocity is suddenly broken, as though one player in a game had walked off the court mid-volley. A harrowing, sometimes despairing book. . . But even in near-darkness there’s light enough for a new, strange kind of love poem" — The New Yorker.
      "Reading Forrest Gander’s work makes the reader feel as if she’s entering a world larger than her own, one with a broader vocabulary, richer imagery, and a deeper understanding of the relationships between the ordinary and the unknowable. This is a book that opens a deeper way of seeing and being in the world, inviting us to go back to it again and again." — ZYZZYVA: A San Francisco Journal of Arts and Letters..
      "Read together, Gander’s verses have a shattering, symphonic quality, but he uses poetry to locate and dislocate at once, pushing against the borders of meaning or pitching his camp where language estranges itself from sense. Gander’s poems are like rich Möbius strips, entrances and exits at once, tunnels that simultaneously displace us and gather us up, drawing us into a profound human longing. There are dazzling fragments, unraveling syntax, poems that, in their ghostliness, also force us to be alert to our own fragile lives." — The New York Times



      The 2019 Hugo Award [presented on Sunday, August 18, 2019. - more...]

      The Hugo Awards, presented annually since 1955, are the most prestigious awards in the field of science fiction and fantasy. The Hugo Awards are voted on by members and attendees of the World Science Fiction Convention and will be presented this year on Sunday, August 18, at the 77th World Science Fiction Convention in Dublin, Ireland.

      NOMINEES FOR THE 2019 HUGO AWARD: Best Science Fiction/Fantasy Novel:

    • The Calculating Stars by Mary Robinette Kowal
    • Record of a Spaceborn Few by Becky Chambers
    • Revenant Gun by Yoon Ha Lee
    • Space Opera by Catherynne M. Valente
    • Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik
    • Trail of Lightning by Rebecca Roanhorse
      The 2019 Hugo Award Nominees for Best Novel:

      (Tor/MPS)
      THE CALCULATING STARS by Mary Robinette Kowal
      2019 HUGO AWARD FINALIST | 2019 NEBULA AWARD WINNER
      Veteran historical fantasist Kowal tackles an alternate history of the space race, in which a catastrophe necessitates an earlier reach for the stars in the 1950s - and the confrontation of gender barriers by aspiring astronaut Elma York. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
      "Kowal's outstanding prequel to her Hugo-winning novelette The Lady Astronaut of Mars shows the alternate history that created a mid-20th-century Mars colony. In a compelling parallel to our own history, Kowal explores a wide range of issues - including religion, grief, survivor's guilt, mental health, racism, misogyny, and globalism - without sermonising or subsuming the characters and plot. Elma's struggles with her own prejudices and relationships, including her relationship with herself, provide a captivating human center to the apocalyptic background. Readers will thrill to the story of this 'lady astronaut' and eagerly anticipate the promised sequels." - Publishers Weekly *** starred review ***.
      "When a program invites women to take the same astronaut training as men, Elma York won't let anything - not family, history, or the attitudes of men regarding the proper place for women - stand in her way. A fast-forward thrill ride, Hugo Award winner Kowal's exciting alternate history, the first in a duology, highlights the space race and the sexism of the time. Readers will be hooked!" - Library Journal.
      "Kowal strikes a fine balance of integrating historical accuracy - including mid-twentieth-century sexism, racism, and technology - with speculative storytelling. Readers will root for Elma as she breaks barriers and calculates lifesaving equations, all while dealing with sometimes-crippling anxiety." - Booklist.

      (Harper Voyager)
      RECORD OF A SPACEBORN FEW by Becky Chambers
      2019 HUGO AWARD FINALIST
      Hundreds of years ago, the last humans on Earth boarded the Exodus Fleet in search of a new home among the stars. After centuries spent wandering empty space, their descendants were eventually accepted by the well-established species that govern the Milky Way. But that was long ago. Today, the Exodus Fleet is a living relic - those who remain are left to ponder their own lives and futures: What is the purpose of a ship that has reached its destination? Why remain in space when there are habitable worlds available to live? What is the price of sustaining their carefully balanced way of life - and is it worth saving at all?
      "Multiple narrators and plot lines converge thematically into an intensely powerful and multifaceted meditation on time, history, change, and memory, leavened with a welcome touch of humor. The characters are distinct and lovable, each shedding light on a different facet of the Fleet. Chambers uses the interconnections inevitable in such a small society to provide moments of both horrific pain and soaring grace, and to make it clear that those things are inextricably intermingled. This is a superb work from one of the genre's rising stars." - Publishers Weekly *** starred review ***.
      "Chambers has created a thoughtful, just society, but one populated by flawed characters. Human decisions can lead to terrible consequences, and all Chambers’ characters are complex and fully-realized. Those characters allow us to view aspects of a 'spaceborn' society that are usually erased by space opera’s traditionally masculine focus. Chambers’ thoughtful, measured work offers space opera the depth and complexity it so often lacks. Her work is profound, engaging, and beautifully written." - New York Journal of Books.
      "This series is a rare gem within the sci-fi genre. Chambers' writing pulls you in, making it impossible not to imagine living in her brilliantly crafted universe." - Pomegranate Magazine.

      (Solaris/Simon & Schuster)
      REVENANT GUN by Yoon Ha Lee
      2019 HUGO AWARD FINALIST
      This third and final novel in the Machineries of Empire trilogy brings Yoon Ha Lee's epic of interstellar warfare, politics, intrigue, and arcane technology to a shattering conclusion. [The preceding volumes are Ninefox Gambit and Raven Stratagem.] Lee combines riveting space opera action with dazzling, imaginative worldbuilding to stunning effect. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
      "Lee concludes his brilliant Machineries of Empire trilogy. Lee's highly imaginative creation is a triumph." - Publishers Weekly *** starred review ***.
      "Yoon Ha Lee stuck the landing, and in doing so cemented that the Machineries of Empire series is one of the most ambitious and rewarding science fiction series in print. Lee relentlessly reminds us that war is a self-sustaining state, and that the suffering it produces is its intended product." - Strange Horizons
      "A fast, gripping story. . . Its shifting viewpoints - all seeing some part of the picture, none with a complete view or good insight into other people’s motivations – and potential for betrayals make it feel complex and demanding. At base, though, it’s a thriller crossed with a story about learning to live with consequences you didn’t choose. This is excellent space opera, and I wish there were more like it." - Locus Magazine.
      "What am I going to do with my life now that this series is over? I suppose I’m left with no choice but to read everything else Yoon Ha Lee ever writes. This series is heart-wrenchingly wonderful. I can’t recommend it enough." - The Illustrated Page.

      (Saga/Simon & Schuster)
      SPACE OPERA by Catherynne M. Valente
      2019 HUGO AWARD FINALIST
      The great galactic civilizations gather for the Metagalactic Grand Prix - part gladiatorial contest, part beauty pageant, part concert extravaganza, and part continuation of the wars of the past. Now, for the first time, humans from Earth will compete - and their performance will determine Earth's right to exist.
      "One of the funniest books that I’ve ever read... But the real selling point is Valente’s elaborate prose, dense with description and metaphors. Each of Valente’s sentences could be an entire story, and I found myself engrossed in each one, visualizing her chaotic, bizarre, and delightful universe. I enjoyed every minute I spent reading Space Opera." - The Verge.
      "Although her comedic talents are reminiscent of Douglas Adams at his best, Valente’s palette is far larger. The ability to fluidly tie real-world tragedy together with psychedelic hilarity is perhaps Space Opera’s most impressive attribute. It takes confidence, skill and talent to craft a tragic disco ball metaphor, and Valente has all three in spades." - BookPage *** starred review ***.
      "There are really no words to describe Space Opera. I can say that it's a wicked-fast read (if you can handle the whiplash) and enjoyable at speeds unsafe for upright mammals. In between it's all big ideas written in glitter. It's surprising tenderness on a galactic scale. It's about loneliness and nerdliness and acceptance and making fun of the old, frowsy powers that be. Valente offers up a universe in which the only thing of true value is rhythm." - NPR.

      (Del Rey/Random)
      SPINNING SILVER by Naomi Novik
      A BEST SCIENCE FICTION BOOK OF THE YEAR: The New York Times Book Review, NPR, Time, Vox, Vulture, Paste, Bustle, Library Journal
      2019 HUGO AWARD FINALIST | 2019 NEBULA AWARD FINALIST
      Miryem comes from a family of moneylenders, but her compassionate father's inability to collect his debts has left his family on the edge of poverty - until Miryem takes matters into her own hands. Hardening her heart, Miryem sets out to claim what is owed and soon gains a reputation for being able to turn silver into gold. But when her talents come to the attention of a fairy-King, she finds the fate of her world may depend on her. Naomi Novik, the acclaimed author of Uprooted, draws readers deep into a glittering realm of fantasy, wonder and terror.
      "This gorgeous, complex, and magical novel, grounded in Germanic, Russian, and Jewish folklore but richly overlaid with a cohesive, creative story of its own, rises well above a mere modern re-imagining of classic tales. Novik probes the edges between the everyday and the extraordinary, balancing moods of wonder and of inevitability. Her work inspires deep musings about love, wealth, and commitment, and embodies the best of the timeless fairy-tale aesthetic. Readers will be sad to walk away from its deeply immersive setting. This is the kind of book that one might wish to inhabit forever." — Publishers Weekly *** starred review ***.
      "A perfect tale. . . This book is about the determination and quiet competence of women doing remarkable things without knowing first that they can do them. A big and meaty novel, rich in both ideas and people, with the vastness of Tolkien and the empathy and joy in daily life of Le Guin." — The New York Times.
      "In spare prose of great clarity Novik weaves in and out of multiple first-person narratives exploring human and alien social structures and ethnic prejudices, fathers and daughters, damaged relationships and hidden agendas, wringing unexpected consequences from seemingly simple choices. A medieval fable blossoms into a thoughtful, emotionally complex, absorbing drama that stands confidently on its own merits." — Kirkus Reviews.
      "Novik addresses weighty questions of power, choice, prejudice, beauty, and identity with aplomb. Echoes of the Rumpelstiltskin fairy tale as well as Greek and Slavic myths are transformed through Novik's skill. VERDICT: This masterly, immersive high fantasy tale is grounded in real-world challenges and opportunities for growth. Highly recommended." — Library Journal *** starred review ***.

      (Gallery/Simon & Schuster)
      TRAIL OF LIGHTNING by Rebecca Roanhorse
      2019 HUGO AWARD FINALIST | 2019 NEBULA AWARD FINALIST
      While most of the world has drowned beneath the sudden rising waters of a climate apocalypse, Dinétah (formerly the Navajo reservation) has been reborn. The gods and heroes of legend walk the land, but so do monsters. Maggie Hoskie is a Dinétah monster hunter, a supernaturally gifted killer. When a small town needs help finding a missing girl, Maggie is their last best hope. Rebecca Roanhorse is an exciting new voice in speculative fiction, and her skilful weaving of Navajo mythology into her debut novel makes for a truly fascinating and unique read.
      "It takes a special talent to devise an apocalypse that feels original. Rebecca Roanhorse meets the challenge head-on. Smartly paced, with character development and action sequences expertly interspersed. The beginning of a longer saga, Trail of Lightning is a highly satisfying reading experience all on its own. Roanhorse possesses a sure hand and a singular vision, and she establishes her credentials as a novelist with this ambitious, exciting and well-executed first book." - The San Francisco Chronicle.
      "Vividly depicts Navajo land, legends, and culture in a marvelous fantasy debut. . . Roanhorse unspools a fascinating narrative of colorful magic in a world made otherwise bleak by both natural and man-made circumstances. The monster-hunting plot nearly takes a back seat to Maggie's challenging journey of working through personal and cultural trauma. A fresh take on the tale of the emotionally and spiritually wounded hero who faces down increasing evil to make the world better. This rich tale from a strong Native American voice is recommended for all fantasy audiences." - Publishers Weekly *** starred review ***.
      "Roanhorse's sharp prose vividly builds a reborn Navajo universe filled with magic and flawed protagonists who are striving to live beyond their presumed destinies. VERDICT: This exciting postapocalyptic debut, with its heady combination of smartly drawn characters, Wild West feel, and twisty plot, is a must-read." - Library Journal *** starred review ***.
      "Delightful. . . I loved the worldbuilding. After decades of reading genre futures in which black and brown people don’t exist, it’s deeply satisfying to find fiction in which histories of genocide actually equip them to survive disasters." - The New York Times.



    The 2018 Man Booker Prize
    The Man Booker Prize is the world's most prestigious literary award. The prize promotes the finest in fiction by rewarding the very best novel of the year written in the English language.
    [more...]


    • The 2018 longlist (best 13 titles) was announced Tuesday, July 24, 2018.
      • Belinda Bauer (UK), Snap
      • Anna Burns (UK), Milkman [ WINNER! ]
      • Nick Drnaso (USA), Sabrina
      • Esi Edugyan (Canada), Washington Black (* shortlist)
      • Guy Gunaratne (UK), In Our Mad and Furious City
      • Daisy Johnson (UK), Everything Under (* shortlist)
      • Rachel Kushner (USA), The Mars Room (* shortlist)
      • Sophie Mackintosh (UK), The Water Cure
      • Michael Ondaatje (Canada), Warlight
      • Richard Powers (USA), The Overstory (* shortlist)
      • Robin Robertson (UK), The Long Take (* shortlist)
      • Sally Rooney (Ireland), Normal People
      • Donal Ryan (Ireland), From a Low and Quiet Sea
    • The 2018 shortlist (best 6 titles) was announced Thursday, September 20, 2018 (* shortlist).
    • The winner of the 2018 Man Booker Prize (Milkman by Anna Burns) was announced Tuesday, October 16, 2018
    The 2018 Man Booker Prize Longlist:

    (Atlantic/PGW)

    2018 MAN BOOKER PRIZE NOMINEE
    SNAP by Belinda Bauer
    When the family car broke down, eleven-year-old Jack and his two younger sisters had to be left behind on the side of the highway until their mother returned with help. "Jack's in charge," said his mother. "I won't be long." But she never returned. Now Jack's fifteen and is on the verge of finding out who killed his mother. Jack's still in charge - but he's also become a criminal. This twisting, masterfully written novel contains some of the most acutely perceived characters to be found in the thriller genre. It will also keep readers on the edge of their seats from the opening chapter to the last.
    "Bauer deftly interweaves a cold-case murder, a teenage master burglar, some ill-assorted coppers and a pregnant wife, knowing exactly when to turn the dial to humor, pathos or something darker. Intelligent entertainment that keeps you guessing." — The Sunday Times (U.K.).
    "Vividly unnerving. . . Bauer deftly weaves an intelligent mystery, written with razor-sharp observation and wry humour. Her ability to get under the skins of her characters is second to none." — The Guardian (U.K.).
    "Surprise, of course, is the most potent aspect of suspense. And Belinda Bauer knows exactly how to manipulate that element, right until the very end with extraordinary dexterity, maturity and feeling. . . Brilliant." — The Daily Mirror (U.K.).
    "Amazing! Whilst the story tugged on my heartstrings, I could not have predicted where it would lead, and how deviously Bauer’s mind works, creating spine-chilling situations in the seemingly mundane. Snap is undoubtedly one of the cleverest thrillers I have read in a long time, and stands out from the fray in its original premise, writing style and characters." — But Books Are Better (U.K.).
    "Bauer takes astonishing risks but - like a brilliant ski-jumper - arcs down to the perfect landing." — The Independent (U.K.).
    "Bauer secures her place as a star in the British psychological-suspense firmament with this tightly written tale. Bauer's characters are richly drawn and her plotting is impeccable. Even the most bizarre circumstances and red herrings make perfect sense." — Booklist *** starred review ***.

    (Graywolf/MPS)

    2018 MAN BOOKER PRIZE WINNER
    MILKMAN by Anna Burns
    WINNER OF THE 2018 MAN BOOKER PRIZE
    In a strife-torn district of Northern Ireland in the 1970s, the narrator, a bookish 18-year-old girl, is relentlessly stalked by the "Milkman", a menacing paramilitary leader. Told in a comically convoluted prose style, this is a nerve-jangling tale of gossip and hearsay, silence and deliberate deafness. This is a story of inaction with enormous consequences.
    "Breathless, intense - even overwhelming at times. Its shrewd observations about sexual harassment and tribalism will speak to the moment. Boldly different from anything else on the Booker shortlist. . . a truthful and complex account of what it’s like for a teenager to experience the heat of an older man’s unwanted attentions. Burns brings alive the disorientating experience of being victim-shamed for being too conspicuous." — The Times (U.K.).
    "Burns' writing has been described as 'point-blank poetry', and rightly so. From the outset, Milkman is delivered in a breathless, hectic, glorious torrent. The pace doesn't let up for a single moment. It's an astute, exquisite account of Northern Ireland's social landscape, but Milkman is much more than that, too. It's also a coming-of-age story with flecks of dark humour, yet at other points it's a damning portrait of rape culture. A potent and urgent book, with more than a hint of barely contained fury." — The Irish Independent (U.K.).
    "Original and thought-provoking. Burns ingeniously draws comparisons between the hypocrisies and injustices of a sectarian society and the troubled and misunderstood experience of female adolescence. That she successfully tackles her serious mission with razor sharp wit, warm humour and great compassion is even more impressive. This one's a keeper." — Big Issue (U.K.).
    "Anna Burns is excellent at evoking the strange ecosystem that emerges during protracted conflict: Distrust of state forces is total: 'The only time you’d call the police in my area would be if you were going to shoot them.' Milkman has its own energy, its own voice. Despite the surreality, everything about this novel rings true. The narrator of Milkman disrupts the status quo not through being political, heroic or violently opposed, but because she is original, funny, disarmingly oblique and unique: different. The same can be said of this book." — The Guardian (U.K.).

    (Drawn & Quarterly/MPS)

    2018 MAN BOOKER PRIZE NOMINEE
    SABRINA by Nick Drnaso
    The first graphic novel ever to be nominated for the Man Booker Prize
    A woman named Sabrina vanishes from her Chicago apartment, leaving friends and family haunted by what might have befallen her. Unable to cope, her boyfriend Teddy takes refuge with his childhood friend Calvin - but Calvin finds that by sheltering Teddy he has become the target of vague, hostile conspiracy theories spread by internet cranks and late-night radio hosts. Incisive, chilling, and completely unpredictable, Sabrina demonstrates the inexplicable power of comics at their best.
    "A profoundly American nightmare. The fictional killing in Sabrina is disturbing, but Drnaso doesn't fixate on the gore or the culprit; he's more concerned with how the public claims and consumes it, spinning out morbid fantasies with impunity. It's a shattering work of art." — The New York Times.
    "What's most curious and, ultimately, valuable about this book is that it is not a crime story; it's a perspicacious and chilling analysis of the nature of trust and truth and the erosion of both in the age of the internet - and especially, in the age of Trump." — The Guardian (U.K.).
    "Cinematic and deeply timely, this tale is torn from today's darkest headlines of fake news, terrorism, and the ultimately dehumanizing effect of the Internet. Drnaso's artwork reveals depths of emotion that culminate in a reading experience guaranteed to linger. More indictment of modern life than satire, and almost sure to be one of the most discussed graphic novels of the year - if not the next several, this should skyrocket Drnaso to the top tier of comics creators today." — Library Journal *** starred review ***.
    "A quietly forceful examination of suburban ennui. . . a masterful look at the emotional toll taken by the dehumanizing forces at large in modern society. Drnaso's subtly penetrating work is an incisive depiction of emotionally stunted men who don't need a tragedy to display the symptoms of trauma victims." — Booklist *** starred review ***.

    (Knopf/Random)

    2018 MAN BOOKER PRIZE NOMINEE
    WASHINGTON BLACK by Esi Edugyan
    Ranging from the blistering cane fields of the Caribbean to the frozen Far North, from the earliest aquariums of London to the eerie deserts of Morocco, this is a tale of self-invention and self-destruction, of comradeship and betrayal, which asks the question, What is true freedom? A dazzling adventure story about a boy who rises from the ashes of slavery to become a free man of the world.
    "Perfectly executed. . . Soaring. . . More than a tale of human bondage, it's also an enthralling meditation on the weight of freedom, wrapped in a rousing adventure story stretching to the ends of the earth." — The Boston Globe.
    "At the core of this novel, with its searing, supple prose and superb characters, is a visceral depiction of the abomination of slavery. Yet, as importantly, it explores an unlikely friendship, the limits to understanding another's suffering, the violence lurking in humans, and the glories of adventure in a world full of wonders." — The Daily Mail (U.K.).
    "Terrifically exciting. . . An engrossing hybrid of 19th-century adventure and contemporary subtlety, a rip-roaring tale of peril imbued with our most persistent strife. Discover what the rest of the world already knows: Edugyan is a magical writer." — The Washington Post.
    "A daring work of empathy and imagination, featuring a Barbados slave boy in the 1830s who flees barbaric cruelty in a hot-air balloon and embarks on a life of adventure that is wondrous, melancholy, and strange. Astonishing. . . Washington Black's presence in these pages is fierce and unsettling. His urge to live all he can is matched by his eloquence." — The New York Times (Editors' Choice).
    "A rare creation. It is a work of unmistakable literary sensibility, written in prose that is fresh and beautiful, yet it retains a storyteller's skill to shock and surprise." — The Daily Telegraph (U.K.).

    (Headline/ U.K.)

    2018 MAN BOOKER PRIZE NOMINEE
    IN OUR MAD AND FURIOUS CITY by Guy Gunaratne
    A brutal and vibrant tapestry of today's London. Inspired by the real-life murder of a British army soldier by religious fanatics, and the rampant burning of mosques that followed, Guy Gunaratne's debut novel pulses with the frantic energy of the city's homegrown grime music and is animated by the youthful rage of a dispossessed, overlooked, and often misrepresented generation. In a forty-eight-hour surge of extremism and violence, the lives of five unforgettable characters are inexorably drawn together in the lead-up to an explosive, tragic climax.
    "Already hailed as a modern masterpiece, this timely and authentic portrayal is as mesmerizing as it is vital." — Heat (U.K.).
    "A tinderbox of a novel. A tense read about young men with foreclosed futures, the dread of violence and the sense of alienation they feel, written from the inside. Desire, desperation, fear and the slashed grime music rhythms of Wiley and Skepta run through this tale of a jagged London suburb. Gunaratne writes their world as though he were holding his breath, afraid it might crack open and come apart at any moment." — The Guardian (U.K.).
    " Fraught and heartbreaking at the same time, with a biting, in-your-face clarity to it that you can't ignore. It's a searing marvel of a novel." — The Belfast Telegraph.
    "The language is virtuosic throughout while remaining largely true to each narrator's first-person voice, replete with their own distinctive slang. . . An impressive feat." — The Times Literary Supplement (U.K.).
    "A novel that’s a piece of communal vitality, choral in its urgency, one that squares up to the history of division, makes contemporary disjuncture come alive on the page, doesn’t flinch, and demands change right now." — Ali Smith.
    "Guy Gunaratne throws words against the wall and makes us watch them bounce. You feel the heat, reel from the sound, and bump to the unstoppable pulse. A novel so of this moment that you don't even realize you've waited your whole life for it." — Marlon James, winner of the 2015 Man Booker Prize.

    (Graywolf/MPS)

    2018 MAN BOOKER PRIZE NOMINEE
    EVERYTHING UNDER by Daisy Johnson
    While in her teens, Gretel was abandoned by her mother. She's found peace and purpose as a lexicographer updating dictionary entries. But after years of silence, one phone call from her mother is all it takes for the past to come rushing back. In this electrifying reinterpretation of a classical myth, Daisy Johnson explores questions of fate and free will, gender fluidity, and fractured family relationships. A daring, moving story gorgeously written and profoundly unsettling.
    "A retelling of Oedipus Rex set in the insular community of the boat people who live along the canals of Oxford. A tense, startling book of true beauty and insight. Proof that the oldest of stories contain within them the seeds of our future selves." — Kirkus Reviews *** starred review ***.
    "Blends a deep understanding of character and storytelling sophistication to examine a troubled mother-daughter relationship. A complex uncompromising novel. . . Johnson excels at making psychic phenomena feel visceral. An eerie melodrama which tosses, almost in passing, a grenade into debates over self-determination, luridly staging the supremacy of biological fact." — The Guardian (U.K.).
    "Johnson's harrowing, singular first novel retells the myth of Oedipus, putting a modern spin on a familiar tale. This story about motherhood and self-determination is a stunning fever dream of a novel." — Publishers Weekly *** starred review ***.
    "This imaginative and innovative use of myth leads to the creation of a new myth. As well as the pleasures of allusion and innovation, there is a spellbinding tension. As the threads move towards a common end, you’re a child who wants to know the magic; all the more if, like a young listener to a fairytale, you sense what’s coming." — The Irish Times (U.K.).
    "Daisy Johnson is a new goddamn swaggering monster of fiction." - Lauren Groff.

    (Scribner)

    2018 MAN BOOKER PRIZE FINALIST
    THE MARS ROOM by Rachel Kushner
    As Romy Hall begins serving two consecutive life sentences at Stanville Women's Correctional Facility in California's Central Valley, she comes to grips with her new reality: thousands of women hustling for the bare essentials needed to survive; the bluffing and pageantry and casual acts of violence by guards and prisoners; and the absurdities of institutional living. Rachel Kushner has written a spectacularly compelling, heart-stopping novel about a life gone off the rails in contemporary America.
    "In smart, determined, and vigilant Romy, Kushner, an acclaimed writer of exhilarating skills, has created a seductive narrator of tigerish intensity. This is a gorgeously eviscerating novel of incarceration writ large. Rooted in deeply inquisitive thinking and executed with artistry and edgy wit, Kushner's dramatic and disquieting novel investigates with verve and compassion societal strictures and how very difficult it is to understand each other and to be truly free." — Booklist *** starred review ***.
    "Heartbreaking and unforgettable. . . Kushner excels at capturing the minutiae of prison life, and manages to critique the justice system and vividly capture the reality of life behind bars. Her novel is notable for its holistic depiction of who gets wrapped up in incarceration - families, lawyers, police, and prisoners; it deserves to be read with the same level of pathos, love, and humanity with which it clearly was written." — Publishers Weekly *** starred review ***.
    "Much of the action of Rachel Kushner's brilliant new novel is set in California prisons. She has done her research. But the moral scope of The Mars Room is really too large for it to be considered a prison novel. Through its vividly rendered characters, it asks the reader to ponder bigger questions about the system of justice, the possibility of redemption and even the industrialization of the natural landscape. A captivating and beautiful novel." — BookPage *** Top Fiction Pick ***.
    "A major novel, a sustained performance, one that broods on several exigent ideas. The Mars Room prowls rather than races. It is like a muscle car oozing down the side roads of your mind. Kushner’s portrait of life inside the women’s prison is grainy and persuasive. It’s all here." — The New York Times.

    (Doubleday/Random)

    2018 MAN BOOKER PRIZE NOMINEE
    THE WATER CURE by Sophie Mackintosh
    To protect his three daughters from the toxicity and dangers of a degrading world, King has raised his family on an island where men are forbidden any access. But their father, the only man the sisters have ever seen, disappears, and one day two men and a boy wash ashore. Over the span of one blistering hot week, a psychological cat-and-mouse game plays out. A haunting, riveting tale about the capacity for violence and the potency of female desire, Sophie Mackintosh's debut novel both devastates and astonishes.
    "Mackintosh has created a fiction that is distinct and very much her own. The Water Cure is a moving, unsettling study of family trauma, but it also has the feel of a parable, a modern myth about the close relationship between women’s bodies and pain. There is nothing ‘safe’ about Mackintosh’s writing: hers is a debut that probes into the dark meeting places between fantasy and violence, and the disturbing transition from child’s to adult’s play." — The London Magazine (U.K.).
    "This riveting debut adds another dimension to a post-Handmaid's Tale world. But Mackintosh’s novel is quite different from The Handmaid’s Tale. . . The Water Cure deploys its twists more subtly. For this is a sisterhood that is theoretically feminist but plays with the slippery boundaries of gender equality in a way that lingers long after the final page." — The Telegraph (U.K.).
    "An extraordinary debut novel. Mackintosh is writing the way that Sofia Coppola would shoot the end of the world: everything is luminous, precise, slow to the point of dread." — The Guardian (U.K.).
    "Plays out as a sharp allegory of the extremities of male predation, and a potent revenge fantasy. . . This is a tense and haunting debut, as eerily prescient as it is otherworldly. Mackintosh’s sparse lyrical prose carves close to brutality, her blows cut simultaneously blunt and nuanced to disturbing effect." — The Arts Desk *** starred review ***.
    "Utopia portrayed in spectral, organic prose. . . Mackintosh is a wonderful stylist; the full scope of her imagination, as well as the cohesion of her vision, is evident on every page. It is the collusion between the ordinary and the extraordinary that gives the book its elemental power: its immediacy as a simple story and its completeness on the heightened metaphorical level. It’s a seriously impressive feat." — The Irish Times (U.K.).

    (Knopf/Random)

    2018 MAN BOOKER PRIZE NOMINEE
    WARLIGHT by Michael Ondaatje
    Nathaniel Williams delves into his memory to look back at the year 1945, when he was 14 and "our parents went away and left us in the care of two men who may have been criminals." But nothing is at it seems in this transfixing coming-of-age tale of intrigue and crossed destinies.
    "Michael Ondaatje is at the peak of his powers. A work of fiction as rich, as beautiful, as melancholy as life itself, written in the visionary language of memory. Warlight sucked me in deeper than any novel I can remember; when I looked up from it, I was surprised to find the 21st century still going on about me." — The Guardian (U.K.).
    "A new masterpiece. . . An elegiac thriller with the immediate allure of a dark fairy tale. In Warlight, all is illuminated, at first dimly then starkly, but always brilliantly. Warlight is a mosaic so cunningly assembled that the finished pattern seems as inevitable as it is harmonious. What must happen does happen in this elegiac thriller; we just can’t see it coming." — The Washington Post.
    "Ondaatje casts a magical spell, as he takes you into his half-lit world of war and love, death and loss, and the dark waterways of the past." — The New York Review of Books.
    "A haunting, brilliant novel from Ondaatje. . . Mesmerizing from the first sentence, rife with poignant insights and satisfying subplots, this novel about secrets and loss may be Ondaatje's best work yet." — Publishers Weekly *** starred review ***.
    "A tender coming of age story so warmly delivered you almost forget how much of its plot involves smuggling, spycraft, and assassins. The novel becomes at once a mystery tale and an exploration into how much of our lives are out of our control, especially in wartime." — The Minneapolis Star-Tribune.
    "An intricate and absorbing novel. . . This is a book rich with detail. The reader is bound to be conscious of a hidden ballast of research, the seven-eighths of the iceberg without which the thing would founder, but so deft is the writing that you forget this, simply appreciating the meticulous background that brings alive a time and a place." — The New York Times.

    (Norton)

    2018 MAN BOOKER PRIZE NOMINEE
    THE OVERSTORY by Richard Powers
    Nine remarkable strangers are summoned in different ways for an ultimate, brutal stand to save the continent's few remaining acres of virgin forest. Richard Powers delivers a sweeping, impassioned novel of activism and resistance that is also a stunning homage to the natural world - a world alongside ours, and almost invisible to us. This is the story of a handful of people who learn how to see that world and who are drawn up into its unfolding catastrophe.
    "This ambitious novel soars up through the canopy of American literature and remakes the landscape of environmental fiction." — The Washington Post.
    "An extraordinary novel. . . an astonishing performance. I found, while reading, that some of what was happening to his characters passed into my conscience, like alcohol into the bloodstream, and left a feeling behind of grief or guilt, even after I put the book down." — The Guardian (U.K.).
    "A masterpiece of operatic proportions, involving nine central characters and more than half a century of American life. A magnificent achievement: a novel that is, by turns, both optimistic and fatalistic, idealistic without being naive." — Kirkus Reviews *** starred review ***.
    "A magnificent saga! Powers’ sylvan tour de force is alive with gorgeous descriptions; continually surprising, often heartbreaking characters; complex suspense; unflinching scrutiny of pain; celebration of creativity and connection; and informed and expressive awe over the planet’s life force and its countless and miraculous manifestations." — Booklist *** starred review ***.
    "A monumental novel that accomplishes what few living writers from either camp, art or science, could attempt. Using the tools of story, Powers pulls readers heart-first into a perspective so much longer-lived and more subtly developed than the human purview that we gain glimpses of a vast, primordial sensibility, while watching our own kind get whittled down to size. . . The descriptions of this deeply animate place stand with any prose I’ve ever read. I hesitate to tell more, and spoil the immense effort Powers invests in getting us into that primal forest to bear witness." — The New York Times.

    (Knopf/Random)

    2018 MAN BOOKER PRIZE NOMINEE
    THE LONG TAKE: A Noir Narrative by Robin Robertson
    Brutalized by war, haunted by violence and apparently doomed to return to it, Walker, a World War II veteran, finds his way from New York to Los Angeles and San Francisco during a crucial period of fracture in American history. As Walker tries to piece his life back together, America is beginning to come apart - riven by social and racial divisions, spiraling corruption, and the collapse of the inner cities. Robin Robertson's epic verse pans with filmic immediacy across the postwar urban scene - and into the heart of an unforgettable character - in this highly original work of art.
    "When was the last time you said of a book of poetry, 'I couldn’t put it down'? Well, now’s your chance. Moving between poetry and prose, dialogue and history, Robin Robertson’s The Long Take is a propulsive verbal tour de force. Exquisite descriptions. . . An audacious and brilliant book." — The Washington Post.
    "A beautiful, vigorous and achingly melancholy hymn to the common man that is as unexpected as it is daring. Here we have a poet, at the peak of his symphonic powers, taking a great risk, and succeeding gloriously. A masterly work of art, exciting, colourful, fast-paced - and almost unbearably moving." — John Banville, The Guardian (U.K.).
    "A flashpoint in U.S. history, an almost perfect mirror image of the nation today. . . The Long Take remarkably captures linguistic styles of 1940s American writing - Saroyan and Steinbeck. As it progresses into the mid-50s we're hearing Ginsberg and Baldwin. . . You will be washed in all these when you read this." — The Sunday Herald (U.K.).
    "A remarkable work. I can't think of anything quite like it. The phrase ‘a slice of life’ takes on a particularly graphic edge when you’re reading Robertson. . . Modern, complex, political. . . Robertson's language is functional and often exquisite. A poem that's long been waiting to be written." — The Los Angeles Review of Books.

    (Hogarth/Random)

    2018 MAN BOOKER PRIZE NOMINEE
    NORMAL PEOPLE by Sally Rooney
    A strange and indelible connection grows between two very different teenagers - one they are determined to conceal. Connell is the popular star of the football team. Marianne is lonely, proud, and private. But when they both attend the same college, their roles are reversed - Connell retreats into an inward quest for self-discovery, while Marianne revels in a new social world. And then, Marianne begins to spiral downwards towards self-destruction. . . This is a brilliant and psychologically acute examination of how far people may go to save each other - and themselves.
    "A future classic. . . Astonishingly fresh. . . The energy and excitement of the story come from the couple themselves, their inner lives, from what Jane Austen called their 'sensibilities'. Rooney evokes them superbly. Rooney is such a gifted, brave, adventurous writer, so exceptionally good at observing the lies people tell themselves on the deepest level, in noting how much we forgive, and above all, in portraying love." — The Guardian (U.K.).
    "It is time to take a sharp inhale, people. Sally Rooney’s Normal People is superb. A tremendous read, full of insight and sweetness. . . I felt I understood something, at the end of it, that I had previously pushed away. This novel is about human connection and I found it difficult to disconnect. It is a long time since I cared so much about two characters on a page." — Anne Enright, The Irish Times (U.K.).
    "Sally Rooney has rightly been fêted as one of the most important writers of her generation. The question of generation matters because she’s writing about young people. What’s remarkable is how she’s at once fully immersed in the world she writes about and able forensically to observe both the characters and their world, as though from a great distance. It’s this combination that makes her so convincingly the real thing: a unique, fully formed talent." — The Spectator (U.K.).
    "There’s an effortlessness about Sally Rooney’s writing, as if the stories simply pour through her like liquid gold. Normal People is a daring book, unafraid to enter the darker corners of the psyche. This hits you deep in the marrow, and the result is quite astonishing. Rooney excels in writing characters who stand askance from life. She writes anguish like nobody can. There’s nothing normal about Rooney. She’s exceptional." — The Independent (U.K.).

    (Penguin)

    2018 MAN BOOKER PRIZE NOMINEE
    FROM A LOW AND QUIET SEA by Donal Ryan
    Farouk, Lampy, and John. . . The lives of these three very different men, each searching for some version of home, something each has lost, move inexorably towards a reckoning that will draw them all together. Donal Ryan delivers three brilliant character developments in a single novel, all three on a trajectory to an astonishing and unforgettable climax.
    "Ryan's cunningly structured and deeply compassionate fourth novel is told from the points of view of three men who initially appear to have nothing in common. When Ryan steps back to allow the connections among their stories to emerge, the effect is dazzling, like a series of fireworks building with each detonation." — Booklist *** starred review ***.
    "Exquisitely rendered, with raw anguish sublimated into lyrical prose. . . Ryan weaves his three protagonists' deceptively discrete trajectories together, creating a triptych of poignant and at times haunting stories. Undeniably affecting. . . meticulously wrought. . . artfully concluded." — The Washington Post.
    "Gorgeous prose, sentences that go on in an often Joycean fashion, association upon association, providing deep insight into each character. This is a book that comes alive even more when it's reread, when the connections are known. Our separate lives, Ryan seems to be saying, are linked in ways we so often don't recognize. . . we're all connected." — Ploughshares.
    "The author resists making any connection between the three stories until the final section - a daring decision, as by this time it feels almost impossible that the book will come together. But it does, in a conclusion that is both deft and devastating. Ryan has rightly been praised for his gift for empathy. He is also a writer of beauty and precision. This is a superb novel, from a writer building a body of work the equal of any today. His books are filled with love and righteous anger, most of which lurks darkly beneath the surface ready to explode like an ill-judged comment at a family gathering." — The Guardian (U.K.).



      The 2018 National Book Award
      The National Book Award for Fiction, Nonfiction, Poetry, and Young People's Literature
      is presented by the National Book Foundation in partnership with The New Yorker.
      The longlist of 10 nominees in each category was announced on Friday, September 14, 2018
      The shortlist of 5 finalists in each category was announced on Wednesday, October 10, 2018 (* finalist)
      The awards were presented to the winners on Wednesday, November 14, 2018.

      [more...]

    • 2018 NATIONAL BOOK AWARD NOMINEES FOR FICTION:
      Jamel Brinkley, A Lucky Man (Graywolf Press / Macmillan) (* finalist)
      Jennifer Clement, Gun Love (Hogarth / Penguin Random House)
      Lauren Groff, Florida (Riverhead Books / Penguin Random House) (* finalist)
      Daniel Gumbiner, The Boatbuilder (McSweeney’s / PGW)
      Brandon Hobson, Where the Dead Sit Talking (Soho Press / Penguin Random House) (* finalist)
      Tayari Jones, An American Marriage (Algonquin Books / Workman Publishing)
      Rebecca Makkai, The Great Believers (Viking Books / Penguin Random House) (* finalist)
      Sigrid Nunez, The Friend (Riverhead Books / Penguin Random House) (* finalist) *** WINNER ***
      Tommy Orange, There There (Alfred A. Knopf / Penguin Random House)
      Nafissa Thompson-Spires, Heads of the Colored People (Atria Books / 37 INK / Simon & Schuster)

    • 2018 NATIONAL BOOK AWARD NOMINEES FOR NONFICTION:
      Carol Anderson, One Person, No Vote: How Voter Suppression Is Destroying Our Democracy (Bloomsbury / Macmillan)
      Colin G. Calloway, The Indian World of George Washington (Oxford University Press) (* finalist)
      Steve Coll, Directorate S: The C.I.A. and America’s Secret Wars in Afghanistan and Pakistan (Penguin Press / Penguin Random House)
      Marwan Hisham and Molly Crabapple, Brothers of the Gun: A Memoir of the Syrian War (One World / Penguin Random House)
      Victoria Johnson, American Eden: David Hosack, Botany, and Medicine in the Garden of the Early Republic (Liveright / W. W. Norton & Company) (* finalist)
      David Quammen, The Tangled Tree: A Radical New History of Life (Simon & Schuster)
      Sarah Smarsh, Heartland: A Memoir of Working Hard and Being Broke in the Richest Country on Earth (Scribner / Simon & Schuster) (* finalist)
      Rebecca Solnit, Call Them by Their True Names: American Crises (and Essays) (Haymarket Books)
      Jeffrey C. Stewart, The New Negro: The Life of Alain Locke (Oxford University Press) (* finalist) *** WINNER ***
      Adam Winkler, We the Corporations: How American Businesses Won Their Civil Rights (Liveright / W. W. Norton & Company) (* finalist)

    • 2018 NATIONAL BOOK AWARD NOMINEES FOR POETRY:
      Rae Armantrout, Wobble (Wesleyan University Press) (* finalist)
      Jos Charles, feeld (Milkweed Editions)
      Forrest Gander, Be With (New Directions)
      Terrance Hayes, American Sonnets for My Past and Future Assassin (Penguin Books / Penguin Random House) (* finalist)
      J. Michael Martinez, Museum of the Americas (Penguin Books / Penguin Random House)
      Diana Khoi Nguyen, Ghost Of (Omnidawn Publishing) (* finalist)
      Justin Phillip Reed, Indecency (Coffee House Press) (* finalist) *** WINNER ***
      Raquel Salas Rivera, lo terciario / the tertiary (Timeless, Infinite Light)
      Natasha Trethewey, Monument: Poems New and Selected (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
      Jenny Xie, Eye Level (Graywolf Press / Macmillan) (* finalist)

    • 2018 NATIONAL BOOK AWARD NOMINEES FOR YOUNG PEOPLE'S LITERATURE:
      Elizabeth Acevedo, The Poet X (HarperTeen / HarperCollins Publishers) (* finalist) *** WINNER ***
      M. T. Anderson and Eugene Yelchin, The Assassination of Brangwain Spurge (Candlewick Press) (* finalist)
      Bryan Bliss, We’ll Fly Away (Greenwillow Books / HarperCollins Publishers)
      Leslie Connor, The Truth as Told by Mason Buttle (Katherine Tegen Books / HarperCollins Publishers) (* finalist)
      Christopher Paul Curtis, The Journey of Little Charlie (Scholastic Press / Scholastic, Inc.) (* finalist)
      Jarrett J. Krosoczka, Hey, Kiddo (Graphix / Scholastic, Inc.) (* finalist)
      Tahereh Mafi, A Very Large Expanse of Sea (HarperTeen / HarperCollins Publishers)
      Joy McCullough, Blood Water Paint (Dutton Children’s Books / Penguin Random House)
      Elizabeth Partridge, Boots on the Ground: America’s War in Vietnam (Viking Children’s Books / Penguin Random House)
      Vesper Stamper, What the Night Sings (Knopf Books for Young Readers / Penguin Random House)


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