The 2022 National Book Awards Longlist: Fiction


This week, The New Yorker announced the longlists for the 2022 National Book Awards. Earlier, we presented the lists for Young People’s Literature, Translated Literature, Poetry, and Nonfiction.

Jonathan Escoffery’s collection of interlinked short stories, “If I Survive You,” follows a Jamaican family living in Miami as they fight to survive amid racism, recession, and Hurricane Andrew. The book, which ranges between the first, second, and third person, and the past, present, and future tenses, “feels thrillingly free,” Katy Waldman writes in a recent review. Escoffery’s stylistic exuberance stands in contrast to his subject matter, which Waldman describes as “a litany of the cruelties that people in straitened circumstances visit upon one another.”

Escoffery’s collection is one of eight fiction débuts on the longlist for this year’s National Book Award for Fiction, along with “When We Were Sisters,” by Fatimah Asghar; “The Town of Babylon,” by Alejandro Varela; “All This Could Be Different,” by Sarah Thankam Mathews; “Nobody Gets Out Alive,” by Leigh Newman; “The Rabbit Hutch,” by Tess Gunty; “Maria, Maria: & Other Stories,” by Marytza K. Rubio; and “Shutter,” by Ramona Emerson. Only one nominee, Gayl Jones, has been honored by the National Book Awards before, for her 1998 novel “The Healing.” The full list is below.

Fatimah Asghar, “When We Were Sisters
One World / Penguin Random House

Ramona Emerson, “Shutter
Soho Crime / Soho Press

Jonathan Escoffery, “If I Survive You
MCD / Farrar, Straus & Giroux / Macmillan Publishers

Tess Gunty, “The Rabbit Hutch
Alfred A. Knopf / Penguin Random House

Gayl Jones, “The Birdcatcher
Beacon Press

Jamil Jan Kochai, “The Haunting of Hajji Hotak and Other Stories
Viking Books / Penguin Random House

Sarah Thankam Mathews, “All This Could Be Different
Viking Books / Penguin Random House

Leigh Newman, “Nobody Gets Out Alive
Scribner / Simon & Schuster

Marytza K. Rubio, “Maria, Maria: & Other Stories
Liveright / W. W. Norton & Company

Alejandro Varela, “The Town of Babylon
Astra House / Astra Publishing House

The judges for the category this year are Ben Fountain, the author of “Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk,” a Finalist for the National Book Award in 2012; Brandon Hobson, whose novel “Where the Dead Sit Talking” was a Finalist for the National Book Award in 2018; Pam Houston, the author of the memoir “Deep Creek: Finding Hope in the High Country”; Dana Johnson, the author of the short-story collection “In the Not Quite Dark”; and Michelle Malonzo, the head of operations at the Word, a Storytelling Sanctuary. ♦


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