Gayl Jones among National Book Award finalists

Novelist Gayl Jones has made the list of fiction nominees for the National Book Award. According to reports, Jones, 72, is the rare established name on a list of 10 that features eight debut works of fiction.

Jones is the author of one of the most acclaimed debut books in recent memory, the novel Corregidora, which came out in 1975. She has published sporadically in the decades following and last year broke a 20-year hiatus with the novel Palmares, a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize.

The National Book Foundation, which presents the awards, announced long lists of 10 earlier this week for young people’s literature, poetry, literature in translation and nonfiction. The competitive categories will be narrowed to lists of five on October 4, with winners announced during a November 16 ceremony that will include honorary prizes for cartoonist Art Spiegelman and for Tracie D. Hall, executive director of the American Library Association.

Besides Jones, Jamil Jan Kochai (The Haunting of Hajji Hotak and Other Stories) is the only nominee who had previously published fiction. The fiction list also includes two filmmakers: Fatimah Asghar (If They Come for Us) and Ramona Emerson (Shutter).

Three of the debut books are story collections: Leigh Newman’s “Nobody Gets Out Alive,” Marytza K. Rubio’s “Maria, Maria & Other Stories” and Jonathan Escoffery’s “If I Survive You,” an interlinked series of stories.

The other nominees are Sarah Thankam Mathews’ ”All This Could Be Different,” Tess Gunty’s “The Rabbit Hutch” and Alejandro Varela’s “The Town of Babylon,”.

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