Two Minneapolis writers short-listed for National Book Awards

Two photos side by side
"A New Name" by Jon Fosse and "The Ogress and the Orphans" by Kelly Banrhill.
Courtesy photos

Minnesota talent claimed an outsized presence in the list of National Book Awards finalists, released Tuesday. Among the finalists are two Minneapolis writers and two Twin Cities presses. 

The short list from the National Book Foundation comprises five authors in the categories of fiction, nonfiction, translated literature, poetry and young people's literature. The winners will be named Nov. 16.

Minneapolis writer Kelly Barnhill is a finalist in the young people's literature category for her novel "The Ogress and the Orphans." Barnhill received the 2017 Newbery Medal for her novel "The Girl Who Drank the Moon."

Damion Searls, also of Minneapolis, made the final five in the translated literature category for his translation of “A New Name: Septology VI – VII” by Norwegian author Jon Fosse. Searls translates from German, Norwegian and French, and Dutch.

Among the short-listed titles in the nonfiction category is "His Name is George Floyd," written by journalists Robert Samuels and Toluse Olorunnipa. The book explores who George Floyd was before his 2020 murder in Minneapolis sparked a national movement for police accountability.

Three titles from Minnesota presses made the short list dominated by New York publishing houses. Coffee House Press in Minneapolis published "Jawbone" by Mónica Ojeda, translated by Sarah Booker; as well as Allison Adelle Hedge Coke's poetry collection, "Look at This Blue." Jenny Xie's poetry collection "The Rupture Tense" was published by Graywolf Press in St Paul.

Find the full list of the National Book Award finalists here.

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