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Congratulations to our 2018 National Book Award Semi-Finalists

Sep 14, 2018 Blog

Congratulations to our Penguin Random House authors who have been chosen by the respective five category judges as “longlisted” semi-finalists for the 2018 National Book Awards.

Wednesday, October 10: The “shortlist” of five finalists per category will be announced.

Wednesday, November 15: The five winners will be revealed at the annual National Book Awards dinner.

See below for our semi-finalists in each category.




Florida by Lauren Groff


By Lauren Groff

Lauren Groff brings the reader into a physical world that is at once domestic and wild—a place where the hazards of the natural world lie waiting to pounce, yet the greatest threats and mysteries are still of an emotional, psychological nature. Read more >

The Great Believers by Rebecca Makkai

The Great Believers

By Rebecca Makkai

A dazzling new novel of friendship and redemption in the face of tragedy and loss set in 1980s Chicago and contemporary Paris, by the acclaimed author Rebecca Makkai. Read more >

The Friend by Sigrid Nunez

The Friend

By Sigrid Nunez

A moving story of love, friendship, grief, healing, and the magical bond between a woman and her dog. Read more >

There There by Tommy Orange

There There

By Tommy Orange

This stunning novel grapples with a complex and painful history, with an inheritance of beauty and profound spirituality, and with a plague of addiction, abuse, and suicide. Read more >



Brothers of the Gun by Molly Crabapple,Marwan Hisham

Brothers of the Gun

By Molly Crabapple and Marwan Hisham

This bracingly immediate memoir by a young man coming of age during the Syrian war is an intimate lens on the century’s bloodiest conflict and a profound meditation on kinship, home, and freedom. Read more >



American Sonnets for My Past and Future Assassin by Terrance Hayes

American Sonnets for My Past and Future Assassin

By Terrance Hayes

A powerful, timely, dazzling collection of sonnets from one of America's most acclaimed poets, Terrance Hayes. Read more >

Museum of the Americas by J. Michael Martinez

Museum of the Americas

By J. Michael Martinez

Winner of the 2017 National Poetry Series Competition, this is an exploration in verse of imperial appropriation and Mexican American cultural identity. Read more >

Translated Literature


Flights by Olga Tokarczuk


By Olga Tokarczuk

From the incomparably original Polish writer Olga Tokarczuk, this novel interweaves reflections on travel with an in-depth exploration of the human body, broaching life, death, motion, and migration. Read more >

Young Adult Fiction and Nonfiction


Blood Water Paint by Joy McCullough

Blood Water Paint

By Joy McCullough

Joy McCullough’s bold novel in verse is a portrait of an artist as a young woman, filled with the soaring highs of creative inspiration and the devastating setbacks of a system built to break her. Read more >

Boots on the Ground by Elizabeth Partridge

Boots on the Ground

By Elizabeth Partridge

With more than one hundred photographs, award-winning author Elizabeth Partridge’s unflinching book captures the intensity, frustration, and lasting impacts of one of the most tumultuous periods of American history. Read more >

What the Night Sings by Vesper Stamper

What the Night Sings

By Vesper Stamper

After losing her family and everything she knew in the Nazi concentration camps, Gerta is finally liberated, only to find herself completely alone and must choose how to build a new future. Read more >

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