AWLP

Aspen Words has announced its longlist for the Aspen Words Literary Prize, a $35,000 annual award for “a work of fiction that addresses a vital contemporary issue,” according to a press release issued Thursday.

The award is one of the largest literary prizes in the United States, according to the release, and is announced on the NPR Books platform, the official media partner for the award. 

The longlist includes 16 titles, made up of 12 novels and four short story collections. According to the press release, six of the selections are by debut authors.

The full longlist is: “Opioid, Indiana” by Brian Allen Carr; “Your House Will Pay” by Steph Cha; “Dominicana” by Angie Cruz; “Patsy” by Nicole Dennis-Benn; “Sabrina & Corina: Stories” by Kali Fajardo-Anstine; “The Other Americans” by Laila Lalami; “The Beekeeper of Aleppo” by Christy Lefteri; “Lost Children Archive” by Valeria Luiselli; “The Beadworkers: Stories” by Beth Piatote; “The Affairs of the Falcóns” by Melissa Rivero; “We Cast a Shadow” by Maurice Carlos Ruffin; “The World Doesn’t Require You: Stories” by Rion Amilcar Scott; “On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous” by Ocean Vuong; “Lot: Stories” by Bryan Washington; “The Nickel Boys” by Colson Whitehead; and “Red at the Bone” by Jacqueline Woodson.

The five finalists and winner will be selected by a five-member jury that includes Alexander Chee, Saeed Jones and Esmeralda Santiago, according to the release. The finalists will be announced on Feb. 19, 2020, and the winner will be revealed at an awards ceremony The Morgan Library in New York City on April 16, 2020.

“Fiction can help bridge divides across political, racial and socioeconomic lines,” Aspen Words Executive Director Adrienne Brodeur said in the release. “This year’s longlist includes titles that grapple with many of our biggest contemporary challenges — racial injustice, family separation and immigration, opioid addiction. But they are also stories of triumph and hope — a reckoning with colonial history, a reclamation of the American Dream, a reflection of human resiliency and a celebration of so many voices left out of conventional literature.”