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A Guide to the 2022 National Book Award Finalists

These 25 books are the finalists for the prestigious American literary award.

national book award finalists
Design by Michael Stillwell

Across all five categories of the National Book Award finalists, there are only five writers and one translator who have been nominated before—the other twenty writers are first-time finalists, and six are finalists with their debut work.

"I didn't think I would ever finish this book, publish this book, and then was sure no one would read the book. Moral: I have a bad track record when it comes to knowing what will happen with this book," tweeted Sabaa Tahir, whose work All My Rage is nominated in the young people's literature category.

The winners were announced on November 16, 2022 in New York City; Imani Perry and Tess Gunty took home awards in the nonfiction and fiction categories, respectively. Gunty, who won for her debut novel The Rabbit Hutch , said in her acceptance speech, "Attention is the most sacred resource we have on this planet, and books are the last place where we spend this resource freely."

In nonfiction, Perry won for her book, South to America: A Journey Below the Mason-Dixon to Understand the Soul of a Nation. "I write for my people. I write because we children of the lash-scarred, rope-choked, bullet-ridden, desecrated are still here, standing," she said in her acceptance award. "I write for the sinned-against and the sanctified. I write for the ones who clean the toilets and till the soil and walk the picket lines. For the hungry, the caged, the disregarded, the holding on — I write for you. I write because I love sentences, and I love freedom more."

There were two lifetime achievement awards granted: to author Art Spiegelman, most famous for his work Maus , and librarian Tracie D. Hall, the first Black woman to serve as the executive director of the American Library Association. "Please, please stand against this effort to limit access to reading," Hall said in her acceptance speech. "Remember: Free people read freely."

Here, a guide to the 25 National Book Award finalists, and winners:

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The Rabbit Hutch: A novel
Now 25% off
The Birdcatcher
The Haunting of Hajji Hotak and Other Stories
Now 12% off
All This Could Be Different: A Novel
Now 11% off
The Town of Babylon: A Novel
Ecco Press
South to America: A Journey Below the Mason-Dixon to Understand the Soul of a Nation
Now 29% off
The Invisible Kingdom: Reimagining Chronic Illness
Now 55% off
Breathless: The Scientific Race to Defeat a Deadly Virus
Now 16% off
The Man Who Could Move Clouds: A Memoir
Now 23% off
His Name Is George Floyd: One Man's Life and the Struggle for Racial Justice
Now 35% off
Punks: New & Selected Poems (Song Cave)
Look at This Blue
Best Barbarian: Poems
The Rupture Tense: Poems
Seven Empty Houses
Now 10% off
A New Name: Septology VI-VII (Septology, 3)
Now 37% off
Scattered All Over the Earth
All My Rage: A Novel
Now 55% off
The Ogress and the Orphans
Now 49% off
The Lesbiana's Guide to Catholic School
Now 22% off
Victory. Stand!: Raising My Fist for Justice
Now 22% off
Maizy Chen's Last Chance
Now 20% off
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