Megha Majumdar's A Burning, Brit Bennett's The Vanishing Half on National Book Awards fiction longlist for 2020 

Friday's list concludes a week during which the National Book Foundation, which presents the awards, announced nominees for translation, poetry, young people's literature and nonfiction.

The Associated Press September 18, 2020 22:01:13 IST
Megha Majumdar's A Burning, Brit Bennett's The Vanishing Half on National Book Awards fiction longlist for 2020 

(L) Cover for Megha Majumdar’s A Burning. (R) Megha's portrait © Elena Seibert

Two of the summer's most talked about novels, Brit Bennett's The Vanishing Half and Megha Majumdar's A Burning, are on the National Book Awards fiction longlist. Judges also nominated the story collection If I Had Two Wings, by Randall Kenan, who died in August.

Friday's list concludes a week during which the National Book Foundation, which presents the awards, announced nominees for translation, poetry, young people's literature and nonfiction.

Also read: Megha Majumdar’s A Burning is a no-nonsense portrait of contemporary India that refuses to avert its eyes

On 6 October, the lists will be narrowed from 10 to 5 books in each category. Winners will be announced on 18 November, with honorary medals being awarded to novelist Walter Mosley and to the late Simon & Schuster CEO Carolyn Reidy, whose husband will accept on her behalf.

Many of the fiction nominees are younger authors, under age 50, with a handful or less of published works.

Two books are debut novels: The Burning, the story of a woman in India who is accused of terrorism, and Douglas Stuart's Shuggie Bain, a family saga set in Glasgow.

On FirstpostNational Book Awards 2020: N Kalyan Raman's translation of Poonachi by Perumal Murugan features in longlist

Others on the fiction list include Rumaan Alam's Leave the World Behind, Christopher Beha's The Index of Self-Destructive Acts, Lydia Millet's A Children's Bible and Deesha Philyaw's The Secret Lives of Church Ladies.

Also nominated were Vanessa Veselka's The Great Offshore Grounds and Charles Yu's Interior Chinatown. Some off the year's most anticipated works did not make the list, including Marilynne Robinson's Jack, Ayad Akhtar's Homeland Elegies and Sigrid Nunez's What You Are Going Through, her first novel since winning the National Book Award two years ago for The Friend.

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