Auhor Marlon James recently became the first Jamaican-born writer to win the Man Booker Prize, while some writers came a little closer to capturing the National Book Award in the US.
James won the Man Booker Prize for his work “A Brief History of Seven Killings,” which ranges from the attempted murder of Bob Marley to the politics of Jamaica to the drug culture in New York and other topics.
Barnes & Noble reviewer Liesel Schillinger called the novel a “magisterial, viscerally lyric epic… the sharp-edged pleasures of this book come from its protean, potent language.”
It was recently decided that the Man Booker Prize would be open to any author whose book was available in English and published in the UK. The decision was met with criticism from some; Americans were eligible for the award for the first time last year, but the prize was won by Australian-born author Richard Flanagan for “The Narrow Road to the Deep North.”
Meanwhile, the list of contenders for the National Book Award has been shortened. The finalists for the fiction award are Angela Flournoy for “The Turner House,” Karen E. Bender for “Refund,” Lauren Groff for “Fates and Furies,” Hanya Yanagihara for “A Little Life,” and Adam Johnson for “Fortune Smiles.”
Meanwhile, for the nonfiction award, the finalists are Sally Mann for “Hold Still,” Ta-Nehisi Coates for “Between the World and Me,” Carla Power for “If the Oceans Were Ink,” Tracy K. Smith for “Ordinary Light,” and Sy Montgomery for “The Soul of an Octopus.”
Ali Benjamin made the cut for the young people’s literature finalist list for “The Thing About Jellyfish,” as did Steve Sheinkin for “Most Dangerous,” Laura Ruby for “Bone Gap,” Neal Shusterman for “Challenger Deep,” and Noelle Stevenson for “Nimona.”
The poetry contenders are Patrick Phillips for “Elegy for a Broken Machine,” Ada Limón for “Bright Dead Things,” Robin Coste Lewis for “Voyage of the Sable Venus,” Terrance Hayes for “How to Be Drawn,” and Ross Gay for “Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude.”
The winners will be announced on Nov. 18.