fb-pixel7 New England writers on National Book Award long lists - The Boston Globe Skip to main content

7 New England writers on National Book Award long lists

Several New Englanders made the long lists for this year’s National Book Awards.

“Imagine Me Gone” author Adam Haslett, who spent part of his childhood in Wellesley, is one of 10 on the fiction long list. The book explores the relationship between a woman and her troubled fiance in 1960s London and dives into how his condition affects their children in the following decades. Haslett’s first book, “You Are Not a Stranger Here” was both a National Book Award and Pulitzer Prize finalist.

Joining Haslett on the fiction long list are Chris Bachelder (“The Throwback Special”); Garth Greenwell (“What Belongs to You”); Paulette Jiles (“News of the World”); Karan Mahajan (“The Association of Small Bombs”); Elizabeth McKenzie (“The Portable Veblen”); Lydia Millet (“Sweet Lamb of Heaven”); Brad Watson (“Miss Jane”); Colson Whitehead (“The Underground Railroad”); and Jacqueline Woodson (“Another Brooklyn”).


In nonfiction, Andrew J. Bacevich, a retired Boston University professor living in Walpole, documents four decades’ worth of US military policy in “America’s War for the Greater Middle East: A Military History.” Bacevich attended the US Military Academy and served as an army officer for 23 years before becoming a professor.

Sturbridge resident Manisha Sinha’s “The Slave’s Cause: A History of Abolition” falls under her area of expertise as director of the graduate program in Afro-American studies at UMass Amherst. The book argues that abolitionism was not a white, middle-class movement as commonly believed but a racially diverse, radical one.

Other nonfiction long listers include Patricia Bell-Scott (“The Firebrand and the First Lady: Portrait of a Friendship: Pauli Murray, Eleanor Roosevelt, and the Struggle for Social Justice”); Adam Cohen (“Imbeciles: The Supreme Court, American Eugenics, and the Sterilization of Carrie Buck”); Arlie Russell Hochschild (“Strangers in Their Own Land: Anger and Mourning on the American Right”); Ibram X. Kendi (“Stamped From the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America”); Viet Thanh Nguyen (“Nothing Ever Dies: Vietnam and the Memory of War”); Cathy O’Neil (“Weapons of Math Destruction: How Big Data Increases Inequality and Threatens Democracy”); Andrés Reséndez (“The Other Slavery: The Uncovered Story of Indian Enslavement in America”); and Heather Ann Thompson (“Blood in the Water: The Attica Prison Uprising of 1971 and Its Legacy”).


Florence resident Grace Lin, author of “When the Sea Turned to Silver,” made the long list for young people’s literature. Inspired by Chinese folklore, her novel follows protagonist Pinmei on a journey to find Pinmei’s storytelling grandmother, who was abducted by the emperor’s soldiers.

Lin is joined by “Pax” author Sara Pennypacker, a part-time Cape Cod resident who has written four installments of the beloved “Flat Stanley” series. “Pax,” illustrated by Jon Klassen, is about an adopted fox who is separated from his owner and returned to the wild after the latter’s father enlists in the military.

Others on the young people’s literature list include Kwame Alexander (“Booked”); Kate DiCamillo (“Raymie Nightingale”); John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, and artist Nate Powell (“March: Book Three”); Anna-Marie McLemore (“When the Moon Was Ours”); Meg Medina (“Burn Baby Burn”); Jason Reynolds (“Ghost”); Caren Stelson (“Sachiko: A Nagasaki Bomb Survivor’s Story”); and Nicola Yoon (“The Sun Is Also a Star”).

Former US poet laureate and longtime New Hampshire resident Donald Hall has twice before been a finalist in poetry, and he returns as a contender this year with “The Selected Poems of Donald Hall.”


Holyoke’s Peter Gizzi penned another collection on the list, titled “Archeophonics.” The work draws inspiration from the archeology of lost sound, and is the first from Gizzi, an English professor at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, in five years.

Other poets on the aptly named long list include Daniel Borzutzky (“The Performance of Becoming Human”); Rita Dove (“Collected Poems 1974-2004”); Jay Hopler (“The Abridged History of Rainfall”); Donika Kelly (“Bestiary”); Jane Mead (“World of Made and Unmade”); Solmaz Sharif (“Look”); Monica Youn (“Blackacre”); and Kevin Young (“Blue Laws”).

National Book Award finalists will be announced Oct. 13.

Sonia Rao can be reached at sonia.rao@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @misssoniarao.