All eight nominees for NBCC’s John Leonard Prize for first book are women

In the Country  Star Side of Bird Hill

You Too Can Have a Body Like Mine  Night at the Fiestas

The National Book Critics Circle sent out the ballot today with the nominees for the John Leonard Prize, awarded for a debut work of fiction, and all eight books on the longlist are by women. Six of the selections are novels, while two (by Mia Alvar and Kirstin Valdez Quade) are story collections.


Here are the nominees:

Mia Alvar, In the Country (Knopf)

Angela Flournoy, The Turner House (HMH)

Julie Iromuanya, Mr. and Ms. Doctor (Coffee House)

Naomi Jackson, The Star Side of Bird Hill (Penguin Press)

Alexandra Kleeman, You Too Can Have a Body Like Mine (Harper)

Sophie McManus, The Unfortunates (FSG)

Kirstin Valdez Quade, Night at the Fiestas (Norton)

Naomi Williams, Landfalls (FSG)


The John Leonard Prize is in its third year. Previous winners were Anthony Marra for A Constellation of Vital Phenomena in 2013 and Phil Klay for Redeployment in 2014.

Voting by membership of the National Book Critics Circle will close on January 14. The NBCC Awards will be held in New York City in March.



  1. Interesting — I read Mr. and Mrs. Doctor (as an entry to the VCU Cabell First Novelist Award) but did not think it prize-worthy. It has a lot to recommend it…but I found too much of the important action happening off the page. Hmm. Still, a laudable first novel for sure.


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