Awards Childrens literature Fiction Nonfiction Poetry United States

US NAACP Image Awards 2022 finalists announced.

The finalists for the US NAACP Image Awards 2022, featuring literary categories, were announced on January 18, 2021.

The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) is a civil rights organization in the United States aimed at advancing justice for African Americans founded by a group including W. E. B. Du Bois, Mary White Ovington, Moorfield Storey, and Ida B. Wells in 1909. One of its most recognisable activities is its image awards where the highest achieving Black people are awarded in a variety of fields since 1967. Some of the winners in the literary categories in 2021 were Walter Mosley, Elijah Cummings, Les Payne, Tamara Payne, Honorée Jeffers, and Jacqueline Woodson.

The 2022 cycle of the award is with us and the finalists for the different from the categories including fiction, nonfiction, poetry as well as work for children and youth/teens. The finalists for 2022 are;


  • Harlem Shuffle, Colson Whitehead, Penguin Random House
  • Libertie, Kaitlyn Greenidge, Algonquin Books
  • Long Division, Kiese Laymon, Simon & Schuster
  • The Man Who Lived Underground, Richard Wright, Library of America
  • The Perishing, Natashia Deón, Counterpoint Press


  • Dance Theatre of Harlem, Judy Tyrus, Paul Novosel Kensington
  • Just As I Am, Cicely Tyson, Amistad
  • My Remarkable Journey, Katherine Johnson, Amistad
  • Renegades: Born In The USA, Barack Obama, Bruce Springsteen, Penguin Random House
  • The 1619 Project: A New Origin Story, Nikole Hannah-Jones, Penguin Random House

Debut Author

  • Just As I Am, Cicely Tyson, Amistad
  • My Remarkable Journey, Katherine Johnson, Amistad
  • The Other Black Girl: A Novel, Zakiya Dalila Harris, Simon & Schuster
  • The Love Songs of W.E.B. Du Bois, Honorée Fanonne Jeffers, HarperCollins Publishers
  • Wake: The Hidden History of Women-Led Slave Revolts, Rebecca Hall, Simon & Schuster


  • Just As I Am, Cicely Tyson, Amistad
  • Unbound: My Story of Liberation and The Birth Of The Me Too Movement, Tarana Burke Macmillan / Flatiron Books
  • Unprotected: A Memoir, Billy Porter, Abrams Press
  • Until I Am Free, Keisha Blain, Beacon Press
  • Will, Will Smith, Penguin Random House


  • Perfect Black, Crystal Wilkinson, University Press of Kentucky
  • Playlist For The Apocalypse, Rita Dove, W. W. Norton & Company
  • Such Color: New And Selected Poems, Tracy K. Smith, Graywolf Press
  • The Wild Fox of Yemen, Threa Almontaser, Graywolf Press
  • What Water Knows: Poems, Jacqueline Jones, LaMon Northwestern University Press

Youth/ Teens

  • Ace Of Spades, Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé, Feiwel & Friends / Macmillan
  • Happily Ever Afters, Elise Bryant, HarperCollins
  • The Cost of Knowing, Brittney Morris, Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers
  • When You Look Like Us, Pamela N. Harris, HarperCollins
  • Wings of Ebony, J. Elle, S&S Books for Young Readers


  • Black Ballerinas: My Journey To Our Legacy, Misty Copeland, Aladdin
  • Change Sings, Amanda Gorman, Loren Long, Penguin Young Readers
  • Stacey’s Extraordinary Words, Stacey Abrams, Kitt Thomas, HarperCollins
  • Time For Bed, Old House, Janet Costa Bates A.G. Ford, Candlewick Press
  • When Langston Dances, Kaija Langley, Keith Mallett, S&S Books for Young Readers

Here are some reactions from some of the finalists;

Wow! LIBERTIE is a @naacpimageaward nominee!

Kaitlyn Greenidge

There were so many better books than the revision of LD this year, no question, and I am so thankful to be seen by our folk, especially in this group of my literary superheroes.

Kiese Laymon

Feeling so random among these giants and SO DOGGONE HONORED TO BE NOMINATED for a 2022 @naacpimageaward.

Natashia Deón

I’ve been watching these awards from my living room for what feels like my entire life. I am so very honored by this. Thank you.

Nikole Hannah-Jones

What a mind-blowing thing to see #TheOtherBlackGirl nominated for outstanding literary debut work alongside the Fire works of Cicely Tyson, Katherine Johnson, @WakeRevolt & @BlkLibraryGirl …the brilliance!!

I am honored.

Thank you, @naacpimageaward

Zakiya Dalila Harris

I go offline for 2 hours & come back to an NAACP Image Award Nomination: Début Work! I’m so very honored to be nominated in the same category as the great Cicely Tyson! Congratulations to all the literary nominees in other categories, including @nhannahjones & @CrystalWilki!

Honorée Fanonne Jeffers

I can’t believe my name is on this list. But I checked several times and can confirm that my book UNTIL I AM FREE was nominated for an NAACP Image Award!

Keisha Blain

The things you miss while inflight! PERFECT BLACK is nominated for an NAACP Image Award!!

Crystal Wilkinson

HAPPILY EVER AFTERS was nominated for an @naacpimageaward!!! I’m so, so grateful to see my book about a Black girl learning to love herself honored in this way. Thank you.

Elise Bryant

Yoooo, THE COST OF KNOWING is a nominee for an NAACP Image Award in the “Outstanding Literature for Youth/Teens” category!!!! A dream!!!!

Brittney M. Morris

Whoa I’m blown away at the news that WINGS OF EBONY is an NAACP Image Award nominee Exploding head. Talk about the sun peeking through storm clouds. Wow, just wow. So honored

J Elle

I’m unbelievably honored to be nominated in the literary category for Black Ballerinas @naacpimageaward alongside some INCREDIBLE authors! Congrats to you all!!!

Misty Copeland

The winners will be announced at a ceremony televised on BET TV on February 26.

By James Murua

This blog is run by James Murua a Nairobi, Kenya based lover of books.

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