Novelist Gayl Jones is among National Book Award finalists

Novelist Gail Jones is a fiction nominee for the National Book Award, a rare established name on a list of 10 that includes eight first works of fiction.

Jones was cited Friday for “The Birdcatcher,” an exploration of race, art and marriage in which a black American writer travels to the island of Ibiza and stays with his married friends, including Trying to kill each other. Jones, 72, is herself the author of one of the most acclaimed debut books in recent memory, the novel “Corregidora,” which appeared in 1975. She has been published intermittently in the decades since and last year broke a 20-year gap. Novel “Palmares”, finalist for the Pulitzer Prize.

The National Book Foundation, which presents the awards, announced the 10 longlists earlier this week for young adults’ literature, poetry, literature in translation and nonfiction. Competing categories will be narrowed down to a list of five on October 4, with winners announced during a ceremony on November 16 featuring cartoonist Art Spiegelman and American Library Association Executive Director Tracy D. Hall. Honorary prizes will be included.

The lists are judged by panels of authors, critics and other members of the literary community. Among the books overlooked by the fiction judges: “The Candy House” by Jennifer Egan, “Dinosaurs” by Lydia Millett, “Least Lost” by Andrew Sean Greer and “The Book of Goose” by Yvonne Lee.

Apart from Jones, Jameel John Kochai is the only other nominee who published fiction earlier. On Friday, he was cited for “The Hunt for Haji Hotak and Other Stories.” The list of legends also includes two filmmakers: Fatima Asghar, author of “If She Came For Me” and co-creator of the Emmy-nominated “Brown Girls.” Ramona Emerson, who wrote and directed the documentary “The Mayors of Shiprock,” is a National Book Award nominee for “Shutter.”

Three of the first 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 interconnected collection of stories. The series.

Other nominees are “It Could All Be Different” by Sarah Thinkham Matthews, “The Rabbit Hutch” by Tess Gunty and “The Town of Babylon” by Alejandro Varela, released by Astra Publishing House, which was founded only two years ago.

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