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Get to Know the National Book Award Finalists for Nonfiction

Emily Perper | Longreads | October 18, 2015 | words

Several of this year’s nominees have been featured on Longreads before (see: Ta-Nehisi Coates, Adam Johnson, Noelle Stevenson), and this reading list features the five nonfiction nominees. The winner will be announced on November 18, 2015.

Posted inFeatured, Nonfiction, Reading List

Get to Know the National Book Award Finalists for Nonfiction

This reading list features the five nonfiction nominees for the National Book Awards. The winner be announced on November 18, 2015.
Photo: State Library Victoria Collections

The National Book Awards, presented by the National Book Foundation, “celebrate the best of American literature, to expand its audience, and to enhance the cultural value of great writing in America.” There are four categories: fiction, nonfiction, “young people’s literature,” and poetry. Several of this year’s nominees have been featured on Longreads before (see: Ta-Nehisi Coates, Adam Johnson, Noelle Stevenson), and this reading list features the five nonfiction nominees. The winner will be announced on November 18, 2015.

1. The Radical: Ta-Nehisi Coates, Between the World and Me

“The Hard Truths of Ta-Nehisi Coates.” (Benjamin Wallace-Wells, New York Magazine, July 2015)

“Letter to My Son,” in The Atlantic, adapted from Between the World and Me

You must struggle to truly remember this past. You must resist the common urge toward the comforting narrative of divine law, toward fairy tales that imply some irrepressible justice. The enslaved were not bricks in your road, and their lives were not chapters in your redemptive history. They were people turned to fuel for the American machine. Enslavement was not destined to end, and it is wrong to claim our present circumstance—no matter how improved—as the redemption for the lives of people who never asked for the posthumous, untouchable glory of dying for their children.

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