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Laila Lalami. Image from Alchetron.

Moroccan American novelist Laila Lalami, Rwandan novelist Scholastique Mukasonga, and Nigerian novelist Akwaeke Emezi are finalists for the 2019 National Book Awards in the US. The 25 shortlisted books and authors fall under five categories: Young People’s Literature, Nonfiction, Fiction, Poetry, and Translated Literature.

Lalami is nominated in the Fiction category for her fourth novel The Other Americans, described as “a timely and powerful novel about the suspicious death of a Moroccan immigrant—at once a family saga, a murder mystery, and a love story, informed by the treacherous fault lines of American culture.”

Mukasonga is in the Translated Literature category for her memoir The Barefoot Woman, translated from the French by Jordan Stump. Emezi is in the Young People’s Literature category, for their debut YA novel PET, described as a “genre-defying novel that explores themes of identity and justice.”

The winners in the various categories will be announced on November 20.

Congratulations to them.

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Chukwuebuka Ibeh is a Staff Writer at Brittle Paper. His works have appeared in McSweeneys, the Charles River Journal, Clarion Review and elsewhere. An alumnus of the Purple Hibiscus Trust Creative Writing Workshop, his works have earned him nominations for the Awele Creative Trust Award and the Gerald Kraak Prize in 2017 and 2019 respectively. In 2019, he was named by Electric Literature as one of the Most Promising New Voices of Nigerian Fiction, with an introduction by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. He is a stringer for the New England Review of Books and lives in Port Harcourt, Nigeria.

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