US National Book Awards

The finalists for the US National Book Awards 2022 were announced from September 14 – 16, 2022. Here are the writers of African descent who made the list.

The US National Book Awards are literary awards from the Northern American nations National Book Foundation established in 1936. They are conferred in the categories of fiction, nonfiction, poetry, translated literature, and young people’s literature. In 2020, Les Payne, Tamara Payne, and Kacen Callender won in their categories while Walter Mosley was given a Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters. Tiya Miles and Jason Mott won in 2021.

The longlists were announced over a period of three days and writers of African descent on there are;

Young Adult

Judges: Jewell Parker Rhodes (Chair), Becky Albertalli, Joseph Bruchac, Megan Dietsche, Lilliam Rivera

  • Swim Team, Johnnie Christmas, (HarperCollins / Harper Alley)
  • Victory. Stand!: Raising My Fist for Justice, Tommie Smith, Derrick Barnes, Dawud Anyabwile (WW Norton)
  • Lotus Bloom and the Afro Revolution, Sherri Winston, (Bloomsbury / Bloomsbury Children’s Books)


Judges: Ben Foutain (chair), Brandon Hobson, Pam Houston, Dana Johnson, Michelle Malonzo.

  • If I Survive You, Jonathan Escoffery (MCD/Farrar, Straus, and Giroux/Macmillan Publishers
  • The Birdcatcher, Gayl Jones (Beacon Press)


Judges: Oscar Villalon (chair), Carol Anderson, Melissa Febos, Thor Hanson, Janet Webster Jones

  • South to America: A Journey Below the Mason-Dixon to Understand the Soul of a Nation, Imani Perry
  • His Name Is George Floyd Book, Robert Samuels and Toluse Olorunnipa


Judges: Kwame Dawes (chair), Juan Felipe Herrera, Keetje Kuipers, January Gill O’Niell, Mai Der Vang

  • Golden Ax, Rio Cortez (Penguin Books/ Penguin Random House)
  • Punks: New & Selected Poems, John Keene (The Song Cave)
  • Best Barbarian, Roger Reeves (W.W. Norton & Company)
  • Mummy Eaters, Sherry Shenoda (University of Nebraska Press)
  • Duende, Quincy Troupe (Seven Stories Press)

Translated literature

Judges: Ann Goldstein (chair), Nick Buzanski, Veronica Esposito, Rohan Kamicheril, Russel Scott Valentino

  • Kibogo, Scholastique Mukasonga (Mark Polizzotti) (Archipelago Books)

The finalists will be revealed on October 4 before the winners are revealed at a ceremony on November 16, 2022.