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National Book Awards longlist announced: Brit Bennett, Isabel Wilkerson nominated

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The National Book Foundation has announced the longlist for the 2020 National Book Awards.

Among the fiction nominees is Brit Bennett, whose novel "The Vanishing Half," about America's legacy of racism and the experience of colorism in the South, is one of USA TODAY's best-reviewed book of the year. "There are moments in 'The Vanishing Half' that stun with quiet power," Emily Gray Tedrowe wrote in a ★★★½ (out of four) review for USA TODAY.

And among the nonfiction nominees is Isabel Wilkerson, whose book "Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents," an exploration of race and hierarchy in the U.S., was chosen by Oprah Winfrey as her latest book club pick. “This might be the most important book I’ve ever chosen for my book club,” Winfrey said

Here are all the longlist nominees for fiction and nonfiction. For the complete list of nominees, including in the categories of young people's literature, translated literature and poetry, visit The finalists in all five categories will be revealed on Oct. 6, and the winners will be announced on Nov. 18.

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2020 longlist for the National Book Award for fiction 

  • "Leave the World Behind," by Rumaan Alam 
  • "The Index of Self-Destructive Acts," by Christopher Beha
  • "The Vanishing Half," by Brit Bennett
  • "If I Had Two Wings," by Randall Kenan
  • "A Burning," Megha Majumdar
  • "A Children’s Bible," Lydia Millet
  • "The Secret Lives of Church Ladies," by Deesha Philyaw
  • "Shuggie Bain," by Douglas Stuart
  • "The Great Offshore Grounds," by Vanessa Veselka
  • "Interior Chinatown," by Charles Yu

2020 longlist for the National Book Award for nonfiction

  • "Is Rape a Crime?: A Memoir, an Investigation, and a Manifesto," by Michelle Bowdler
  • "The Undocumented Americans," by Karla Cornejo Villavicencio
  • "If Then: How the Simulmatics Corporation Invented the Future," by Jill Lepore
  • "The Dead Are Arising: The Life of Malcolm X," by Les Payne and Tamara Payne
  • "Unworthy Republic: The Dispossession of Native Americans and the Road to Indian Territory," by Claudio Saunt
  • "My Autobiography of Carson McCullers," by Jenn Shapland
  • "Owls of the Eastern Ice: A Quest to Find and Save the World’s Largest Owl," by Jonathan C. Slaght.
  • "How to Make a Slave and Other Essays," by Jerald Walker
  • "Afropessimism," by Frank B. Wilderson III
  • "Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents," by Isabel Wilkerson