The National Book Critics Circle announced on November 30 the finalists for the prestigious John Leonard Prize for best first novel. Four of the six finalists are women, three of whom are POC (Bennett, Dennis-Benn, and Gyasi). Four finalists are American; Dennis-Benn is a Jamaican living in Brooklyn and Max Porter is British. Gyasi was born in Ghana but moved to the U.S. at age two.
The Mothers by Brit Bennett (Riverhead)
The Girls by Emma Cline (Random House)
Here Comes the Sun by Nicole Dennis-Benn (Liveright)
Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi (Knopf)
The Nix by Nathan Hill (Knopf)
Grief is the Thing with Feathers by Max Porter (Graywolf)
The finalists were determined by a membership-wide submission process, with the books receiving the most nominations being designated as the finalists. A new procedure for determining the winner was put in place this year. Approximately 50 members who volunteered to read all the finalists in a four-t0-six week period will choose the prize winner.
The winner will be announced in January. The John Leonard Prize will be presented at the NBCC Awards Ceremony at The New School in New York City on March 16, 2017.