The longlist for the Aspen Words Literary Prize 2021 was announced on November 10, 2020.

The Aspen Words Literary Prize is an annual award for an influential work of fiction that illuminates a vital contemporary issue and demonstrates the transformative power of literature on thought and culture. Eligible works include novels or short story collections that address questions of violence, inequality, gender, the environment, immigration, religion, race or other social issues. Previous winners have been Mohsin Hamid for Exit West in 2018 and Tayari Jones for An American Marriage in 2019. Running for the prize have been Laila Lalami (2019) and Nicole Dennis-Benn (2020).

The 2021 edition of the prize is judged by Emily Bernard, Sarah Ladipo Manyika, Viet Thanh Nguyen, Daniel Shaw, Luis Alberto Urrea. This panel of judges has revealed the longlist for the prize, possibly the blackest in its history, are;

  • Black Sunday by Tola Rotimi, Abraham Catapult
  • Against the Loveless World by Susan Abulhawa, Atria Books
  • Leave the World Behind by Rumaan Alam, Harper Collins/Ecco
  • The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett, Riverhead Books
  • The New Wilderness by Diane Cook, Harper Collins
  • Fiebre Tropical by Juliana Delgado Lopera, Feminist Press
  • The Death of Vivek Oji by Akwaeke Emezi Riverhead Books
  • The Night Watchman by Louise Erdrich, Harper Collins
  • The Office of Historical Corrections: A Novella and Stories by Danielle Evans, Riverhead Books
  • Transcendent Kingdom by Yaa Gyasi, Alfred A Knopf
  • If I Had Two Wings by Randall Kenan, W.W. Norton & Company
  • A Children’s Bible: A Novel by Lydia Millet, W.W. Norton & Company
  • A Girl is a Body of Water by Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi, Tin House
  • Real Life by Brandon Taylor, Riverhead Books
  • Memorial by Bryan Washington, Riverhead

The shortlist will be announced on February 17, 2021, before the winner is announced Mid-April, 2021 in a virtual event yet to announced.