The National Book Foundation Announces 2022 National Book Award Winners

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Calling all bibliophiles who have been rooting for their favorite books to win big at this year's National Book Awards!

On Wednesday, Nov. 16, New York Times bestselling author, Emmy-nominated producer, food expert and television host Padma Lakshmi hosted the 73rd Annual National Book Awards. The prestigious awards ceremony, which is put on by the National Book Foundation, is designed to recognize and celebrate the best literature in America. Awards were given to the best books in fiction, best nonfiction books, best poetry books, translated literature and young people’s literature.

The process of selecting National Book Award winners is a lengthy one. A panel of judges comprised of 25 distinguished writers, translators, critics, librarians and booksellers selects a Longlist of 10 titles per category. That Longlist is then narrowed down to five finalists, from which one winner is chosen for each category. Each finalist receives a $1,000 prize while winners receive $10,000 and a bronze sculpture.

All in all, being selected for these prestigious awards is no easy feat, and we congratulate all of this year’s winners!

Here are the National Book Award winners

Fiction

The finalists for this year’s National Book Award in fiction included:

  • The Birdcatcher by Gayl Jones
  • The Haunting of Hajji Hotak and Other Stories by Jamil Jan Kochai
  • All This Could Be Different by Sarah Thankam Mathews
  • The Rabbit Hutch by Tess Gunty
  • The Town of Babylon by Alejandro Varela

Winner: Though we can’t imagine having to choose between these extraordinarily talented contemporary writers, the award was given to The Rabbit Hutch by Tess Gunty.

Nonfiction

This year, the National Book Awards’ nonfiction finalists were:

  • The Man Who Could Move Clouds: A Memoir by Ingrid Rojas Contreras
  • The Invisible Kingdom: Reimagining Chronic Illness by Meghan O’Rourke
  • Breathless: The Scientific Race to Defeat a Deadly Virus by David Quammen
  • His Names is George Floyd: One Man’s Life and the Struggle for Racial Justice by Robert Samuels and Toluse Olorunnipa
  • South to America: A Journey Below the Mason-Dixon to Understand the Soul of a Nation by Imani Perry

Winner: The award ultimately went to South to America: A Journey Below the Mason-Dixon to Understand the Soul of a Nation by Imani Perry.

Poetry

This year’s poetry finalists were:

  • Look at This Blue by Allison Adelle Hedge Coke
  • Balladz by Sharon Olds
  • Punks: New & Selected Poems by John Keene
  • Best Barbarian by Rover Reeves
  • The Rupture Tense by Jenny Xie

Winner: The winner in this category was Punks: New & Selected Poems by John Keene.

Translated Literature

This category includes books that have been translated from other languages. Finalists in this category were:

  • A New Game: Septology VI-VII by Jan Fosse, translated from Norwegian by Damion Searls,
  • Kibogo by Scholastique Mukasonga, translated from French by Mark Polizzotti
  • Jawbone by Monica Ojeda, translated from Spanish by Sarah Booker
  • Scattered All Over the Earth by Yoko Tawada, translated from Japanese by Margaret Mitsutani.
  • The winner was Seven Empty Houses by Samantha Schweblin, translated from Spanish by Megan McDowell

Winner: The winner was Seven Empty Houses by Samantha Schweblin, translated from Spanish by Megan McDowell.

Young People’s Literature

The finalists in this category were:

  • The Ogress and the Orphans by Kelly Barnhill
  • The Lesbiana’s Guide to Catholic School by Sonora Reyes
  • Victory. Stand!: Raising My Fist For Justice by Tommie Smith, Derrick Barnes and Dawud Anyabwile
  • Maizy Chen’s Last Chance by Lisa Yee
  • All My Rage by Sabaa Tahir

Winner: The winner in this category was All My Rage by Sabaa Tahir.

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Marisa Hillman
Marisa is a freelance writer and product expert covering product reviews, gift guides, and sales for RD.com. She is a former educator turned professional shopper dedicated to finding the best sales and products on the market. When she's not on deadline, she can be found exploring the East Coast or curled up at home with her nose in a book. She lives in New England with her husband, three children, and two dogs.