Here Are The Winners For The 2019 National Book Awards

24Nov - by bi - 0 - In Top Stories

The biggest awards in American books for 2019 have been decided.

On Wednesday night in New York City, recipients of this year’s five prestigious National Book Awards were named, in the categories of Fiction, Nonfiction, Young People’s Literature, Translated Literature, and Poetry.

In Fiction, Susan Choi was considered the frontrunner for her provocative, risky novel set at a performing arts high school,Trust Exercise, and ultimately prevailed. She wins on her first NBA nomination; she’s a previous finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, and generated significant attention and praise for this latest effort.

EW calledTrust Exercise“a gonzo literary performance one could mistake for a magic trick, duping its readers with glee before leaving them impossibly moved,” in an A- review, back in the spring when it published.

“This book is collaboration more so than any other book I’ve written,” Choi said at the National Book Awards upon accepting her award, before thanking her publishing team. “Given what we’re all facing today, I find it an astonishing privilege what I get to do every day. I get to lead a life centered on books and bring other people into that world.”

In Nonfiction, Sarah M. Broom triumphed with her debut book,The Yellow House, a richly detailed memoir of her family’s history in New Orleans East, pre- and post-Hurricane Katrina. She beat out such oft-published authors as Carolyn Forché (What You Have Heard Is True) and David Treuer (The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee). Broom appeared on EW’s Hot Summer Debut Authors roundtable forThe Yellow House, saying, “The entire act of being the baby child of 12 and telling this story felt like a major transgression. It took me a really long time to give myself permission to write the story.”

Other winners Wednesday night included Martin W. Sandler (1919 The Year That Changed America) for Young People’s Literature; Arthur Sze (Sight Lines) for Poetry; and László Krasznahorkai and his bookBaron Wenckheim’s Homecoming’s translator, Ottilie Mulzet, for Translated Literature.

See the full list below.


  • WINNER: Susan Choi,Trust Exercise
    Henry Holt and Company / Macmillan Publishers
  • Kali Fajardo-Anstine,Sabrina & Corina: Stories
    One World / Penguin Random House
  • Marlon James,Black Leopard, Red Wolf
    Riverhead Books / Penguin Random House
  • Laila Lalami,The Other Americans
    Pantheon Books / Penguin Random House
  • Julia Phillips,Disappearing Earth
    Alfred A. Knopf / Penguin Random House


  • WINNER: Sarah M. Broom,The Yellow House
    Grove Press / Grove Atlantic
  • Tressie McMillan Cottom,Thick: And Other Essays
    The New Press
  • Carolyn Forché,What You Have Heard is True: A Memoir of Witness and Resistance
    Penguin Press / Penguin Random House
  • David Treuer,The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee: Native America from 1890 to the Present
    Riverhead Books / Penguin Random House
  • Albert Woodfox with Leslie George,Solitary
    Grove Press / Grove Atlantic


  • Jericho Brown,The Tradition
    Copper Canyon Press
  • Toi Derricotte,“I”: New and Selected Poems
    University of Pittsburgh Press
  • Ilya Kaminsky,Deaf Republic
    Graywolf Press
  • Carmen Giménez Smith,Be Recorder
    Graywolf Press
  • WINNER: Arthur Sze,Sight Lines
    Copper Canyon Press


  • Khaled Khalifa,Death Is Hard Work
    Translated from the Arabic byLeri Price
    Farrar, Straus and Giroux / Macmillan Publishers
  • WINNER: László Krasznahorkai,Baron Wenckheim’s Homecoming
    Translated from the Hungarian byOttilie Mulzet
    New Directions
  • Scholastique Mukasonga,The Barefoot Woman
    Translated from the French byJordan Stump
    Archipelago Books
  • Yoko Ogawa,The Memory Police
    Translated from the Japanese byStephen Snyder
    Pantheon Books / Penguin Random House
  • Pajtim Statovci,Crossing
    Translated from the Finnish byDavid Hackston
    Pantheon Books / Penguin Random House


  • Akwaeke Emezi,Pet
    Make Me a World / Penguin Random House
  • Jason Reynolds,Look Both Ways: A Tale Told in Ten Blocks
    Atheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy Books / Simon & Schuster
  • Randy Ribay,Patron Saints of Nothing
    Kokila / Penguin Random House
  • Laura Ruby,Thirteen Doorways, Wolves Behind Them All
    Balzer + Bray / HarperCollins Publishers
  • WINNER: Martin W. Sandler,1919 The Year That Changed America
    Bloomsbury Children’s Books / Bloomsbury Publishing

Related content:

  • Meet the future of books: The summer’s hottest debut authors discuss all things literary
  • Susan Choi gives a gonzo literary performance withTrust Exercise
  • Here are the finalists for this year’s National Book Awards