2020 National Book Awards

Created by Linda Tripp, collection development librarian

Established in 1950, the National Book Awards have celebrated the best writing in America. Since 1989, the awards have been overseen by the National Book Foundation, a nonprofit organization whose mission is “to celebrate the best literature in America, expand its audience, and ensure that books have a prominent place in American culture.”

This year’s awards, listed below, were announced on November 18 and honor the best books in the categories of Fiction, Nonfiction, Poetry, Translated Literature, and Young People’s Literature. For more on this year’s awards and a complete list of finalists, including past winners, visit the National Book Foundation website. 


Playful but heartfelt, a send-up of Hollywood tropes and Asian stereotypes, this is a deeply personal novel about race, pop culture, assimilation, and escaping the roles we are forced to play.


A revisionary portrait of the iconic civil rights leader draws on hundreds of hours of interviews with surviving family members, intelligence officers and political leaders to offer new insights into Malcolm X’s Depression-era youth, religious conversion and 1965 assassination.


A powerful work of cultural memory that recovers voices from Korea’s heartbreakingly violent postcolonial history.

Translated Literature Winner:

A surreal, devastating story of a homeless ghost who haunts one of Tokyo’s busiest train stations.

Young People’s Literature:

In a small but turbulent Louisiana town, one boy’s grief takes him beyond the bayous of his backyard, to learn that there is no right way to be yourself.