National Book Award for Fiction Longlist Honors Eight Fiction Debuts

Photo-Illustration: Vulture; Photos by Publishers

The National Book Foundation is plopping some fresh fiction faces into the literary limelight. The organization spent the week announcing longlists for its National Book Awards, and newcomers dominate today’s list for fiction. This year’s roster features eight fiction debuts out of nine honorees, announced by The New Yorker: Fatimah Asghar lands on the list for her lyrical coming-of-age novel When We Were Sisters, along with Sarah Thankam Mathews, whose All This Could Be Different follows the lives of young adults forging a home for themselves amid an American recession. Jonathan Escoffery’s stylish collection of interlinked short stories concerns a Jamaican family’s struggle to thrive in 1970s Miami, while Jamil Jan Kochai’s story collection The Haunting of Hajji Hotak and Other Stories explores heritage and war. Gayl Jones (who appears on the list for The Birdcatcher) is the only author to have been previously honored by the National Book Awards, for her 1998 novel The Healing. The finalists will be announced on October 4; below, find the full fiction longlist.

Fatimah Asghar, When We Were Sisters
Ramona Emerson, Shutter
Jonathan Escoffery, If I Survive You
Tess Gunty, The Rabbit Hutch
Gayl Jones, The Birdcatcher
Jamil Jan Kochai, The Haunting of Hajji Hotak and Other Stories
Sarah Thankam Mathews, All This Could Be Different
Leigh Newman, Nobody Gets Out Alive
Marytza K. Rubio, Maria, Maria: & Other Stories

National Book Award for Fiction Longlist Honors 8 Newcomers