We are excited to announce that three Authors Guild members have been nominated for the 2021 National Book Awards. Founded in 1950 to recognize the best writing in America, the National Book Awards are now administered by the National Book Foundation, which honors the best fiction, nonfiction, poetry, translated literature, and young people’s literature published each year.
A panel of judges selects a longlist of 10 titles per category, which is then narrowed to five finalists, with this year’s winners to be announced on November 17. Each finalist receives a prize of $1,000, a medal, and a judge’s citation. Winners receive $10,000 and a bronze sculpture. The following Guild members have been nominated to the 2021 longlists:
Lauren Groff for Matrix, a historical novel set in 12th-century Europe about 17-year-old Marie de France who is cast out of the court of Eleanor of Aquitaine for being coarse and rough-hewn for marriage or courtly life, and is sent to England to be the new prioress of an impoverished abbey, its nuns on the brink of starvation and beset by disease. This is the second time that Lauren has been named a National Book Award finalist. She previously won the Story Prize, the PEN/O. Henry Prize, was a finalist for the National Books Critics Circle Award and was named one of Granta’s Best of Young American Novelists.
Robert Jones, Jr. for The Prophets, which is about how the loving friendship between Isiah and Samuel, two young slaves on a Southern plantation, changes when an older fellow slave, seeking to gain favor by preaching the master’s gospel on the plantation, portrays their relationship as sinful and causes the enslaved to turn against their own. A New York City resident, Robert received both his BA and MFA in Creative Writing from Brooklyn College. His work has appeared in numerous publications, including The New York Times, Essence, and The Paris Review.
Best Translated Literature
Sora Kim-Russell has been nominated along with Joungmin Lee Comfort as the translators and South Korea’s Bo-Young Kim as the author of On the Origin of Species and Other Stories,the first English edition of Bo-Young’s most acclaimed stories, as well as an essay on science fiction. Based in Seoul, Kim-Russell has also translated Kim Un-su’s The Plotters; Hwang Sok-yong’s At Dusk, which was longlisted for the Booker International Prize; and Pyun Hye-young’s City of Ash and Red and The Hole, which won the 2017 Shirley Jackson Award for best novel.
You can access the full longlists for the 2021 National Book Awards here.
Congratulations to Lauren, Robert, and Sora!