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Book News: Fiction Longlist Is Out For The National Book Awards

The daily lowdown on books, publishing, and the occasional author behaving badly.

  • The fiction longlist for the National Book Awards was released Wednesday evening, and includes Richard Powers, who won the award in 2006; Mountain Goats vocalist John Darnielle; and Molly Antopol and Phil Klay, who were both nominated for their debut story collections. Although a few of the nominees were expected — Anthony Doerr's novel All the Light We Cannot See is one of the year's breakaway hits, and Marilynne Robinson is a living legend — the list as a whole is varied and features a handful of underappreciated or relatively new writers. The shortlist will be announced Oct. 15, and the winners on Nov. 19. The full longlist is below:
  • Rabih Alameddine, An Unnecessary Woman

    Molly Antopol, The UnAmericans

    John Darnielle, Wolf in White Van

    Anthony Doerr, All the Light We Cannot See

    Phil Klay, Redeployment

    Emily St. John Mandel, Station Eleven

    Elizabeth McCracken, Thunderstruck & Other Stories

    Richard Powers, Orfeo

    Marilynne Robinson, Lila

    Jane Smiley, Some Luck

  • "I became a poet in Pittsburgh." Listen to the poet Terrance Hayes speak with NPR's Melissa Block about being named a MacArthur Fellow. (And if you missed it, check out yesterday's interview with Alison Bechdel).
  • A Jane Austen festival in England will enter the Guinness Book of World Records "for the largest gathering of people dressed in Regency costume," the BBC reports.
  • In The Washington Post,Ron Charles argues that "not all big novels with lots of eccentric characters are necessarily Dickensian, and not all novels written in garbled syntax are necessarily Joycean."
  • A note to readers: This will be Annalisa's last week doing Book News. She's going off to graduate school and leaving you in the very capable hands of Colin Dwyer, who got his start in NPR Digital Arts before moving toAll Things Considered.

    Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

    Annalisa Quinn is a contributing writer, reporter, and literary critic for NPR. She created NPR's Book News column and covers literature and culture for NPR.
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