Surprise! Whitehead makes his debut on the NBA longlist.
Surprise! Colson Whitehead makes his debut on the NBA longlist. Go see him read (and chat with our very own Charles Mudede) at the Central Library on Saturday. MADELINE WHITEHEAD

Doubleday did a good job pushing out Colson Whitehead's instant classic, The Underground Railroad, in time to be nominated for this prestigious book award. That book will probably win for fiction? But the competition is stiff. I remain unsurprised that Adam Haslett made his second appearance on the list with his darkly and brilliantly rendered portrait of depression, Imagine Me Gone. And I'm sure that my colleague Christopher Frizzelle doesn't mind that Garth Greenwell's "brilliant debut," What Belongs to You, is getting some recognition. My literary Twitter is sending many kudos to Karan Mahajan for The Association of Small Bombs, and also to Jacqueline Woodson for Another Brooklyn. In 2014, Woodson won the Young People's prize for Brown Girl Dreaming.

In the world of poetry, you needs must check out Solmaz Sharif's book, Look . She erases, manipulates, and replaces language contained in the PATRIOT Act, letters from Gitmo detainees, and other documents of war to incredible effect. You can read a little excerpt over at PEN.

The full longlist of National Book Award nominees:


Chris Bachelder, The Throwback Special (W. W. Norton & Company)

Garth Greenwell, What Belongs to You (Farrar, Straus and Giroux/Macmillan)

Adam Haslett, Imagine Me Gone (Little, Brown and Company/Hachette Book Group)

Paulette Jiles, News of the World (William Morrow/HarperCollinsPublishers)

Karan Mahajan, The Association of Small Bombs (Viking Books/Penguin Random House)

Elizabeth McKenzie, The Portable Veblen (Penguin Press/Penguin Random House)

Lydia Millet, Sweet Lamb of Heaven (W. W. Norton & Company)

Brad Watson, Miss Jane (W. W. Norton & Company)

Colson Whitehead, The Underground Railroad (Doubleday/Penguin Random House)

Jacqueline Woodson, Another Brooklyn (Amistad/HarperCollinsPublishers)


Andrew J. Bacevich, America’s War for the Greater Middle East: A Military History
(Random House/Penguin Random House)

Patricia Bell-Scott, The Firebrand and the First Lady: Portrait of a Friendship: Pauli Murray, Eleanor Roosevelt, and the Struggle for Social Justice (Alfred A. Knopf /Penguin Random House)

Adam Cohen, Imbeciles: The Supreme Court, American Eugenics, and the Sterilization of Carrie Buck
(Penguin Press/Penguin Random House)

Arlie Russell Hochschild, Strangers in Their Own Land: Anger and Mourning on the American Right
(The New Press)

Ibram X. Kendi, Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America
(Nation Books)

Viet Thanh Nguyen, Nothing Ever Dies: Vietnam and the Memory of War
(Harvard University Press)

Cathy O’Neil, Weapons of Math Destruction: How Big Data Increases Inequality and Threatens Democracy
(Crown Publishing Group/Penguin Random House)

Andrés Reséndez, The Other Slavery: The Uncovered Story of Indian Enslavement in America
(Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)

Manisha Sinha, The Slave’s Cause: A History of Abolition
(Yale University Press)

Heather Ann Thompson, Blood in the Water: The Attica Prison Uprising of 1971 and Its Legacy
(Pantheon Books/Penguin Random House)


Daniel Borzutzky, The Performance of Becoming Human (Brooklyn Arts Press)

Rita Dove, Collected Poems 1974 – 2004 (W. W. Norton & Company)

Peter Gizzi, Archeophonics (Wesleyan University Press)

Donald Hall, The Selected Poems of Donald Hall (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)

Jay Hopler, The Abridged History of Rainfall (McSweeney’s)

Donika Kelly, Bestiary (Graywolf Press)

Jane Mead, World of Made and Unmade (Alice James Books)

Solmaz Sharif, Look (Graywolf Press)

Monica Youn, Blackacre (Graywolf Press)

Kevin Young, Blue Laws (Alfred A. Knopf)

Young People's Literature

Kwame Alexander, Booked (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)

Kate DiCamillo, Raymie Nightingale (Candlewick Press)

John Lewis, Andrew Aydin & Nate Powell (Artist), March: Book Three (Top Shelf)

Grace Lin, When the Sea Turned to Silver (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers)

Anna-Marie McLemore, When the Moon Was Ours (Thomas Dunne Books/St. Martin’s Press)

Meg Medina, Burn Baby Burn (Candlewick Press)

Sara Pennypacker & Jon Klassen (Illustrator), Pax (Balzer & Bray/HarperCollins)

Jason Reynolds, Ghost (Atheneum Books for Young Readers/Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing)

Caren Stelson, Sachiko: A Nagasaki Bomb Survivor’s Story (Carolrhoda Books/Lerner Publishing Group)

Nicola Yoon, The Sun Is Also a Star (Delacorte Press/Penguin Random House)

Congrats to the nominees!