The Center for Fiction announced the nominees for its First Novel Prize, with a slate of books that puts the “long” in longlist.
The Brooklyn-based nonprofit group named 27 books up for the award, which comes with a $15,000 cash prize. A shortlist will be announced in the fall.
Raven Leilani made the longlist for Luster, her buzzy novel out next month, which a reviewer for Kirkus calls “sharp, strange, propellant—and a whole lot of fun.” Other much talked-about books to be named as finalists include Kawai Strong Washburn’s Sharks in the Time of Saviors and C Pam Zhang’s How Much of These Hills Is Gold.
One debut novel to make the cut is from a veteran writer: Antkind by Charlie Kaufman, the Oscar-nominated screenwriter of Adaptation and Being John Malkovich.
Big Five publishers dominated this year’s list, but small presses are represented with Godshot by Chelsea Bieker (Catapult), The Redshirt by Corey Sobel (University Press of Kentucky), and Temporary by Hilary Leichter (Coffee House).
The First Novel Prize was first awarded in 2006, to Marisha Pessl’s Special Topics in Calamity Physics. Previous winners have included Karl Marlantes’ Matterhorn, and De’Shawn Charles Winslow’s In West Mills.
The winner of this year’s award will be announced in December.
Michael Schaub is a Texas-based journalist and regular contributor to NPR.