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All eight of the books longlisted for the 2015 John Leonard Prize were written by women.

In 2013, the National Book Critics Circle announced the John Leonard Prize, which would be awarded to the best debut book of the year in any genre—fiction, nonfiction, or poetry. In its first two years in existence, the prize has only been awarded to novels, however: Anthony Marra won for A Constellation of Vital Phenomena in 2013 and Phil Klay won for the short story collection  Redeployment in 2014. This year’s longlist, which was just sent out to NBCC members, continues that tradition: all eight longlisted books are works of fiction and six of the eight are novels—Mia Alvar’s In the Country and Kirstin Valdez Quade’s Night of the Fiestas are the two short story collections. More notably, all eight were written by women. Alexandra Kleeman’s You Too Can Have a Body Like Mine and Angela Flournoy’s The Turner House strike me as the clear favorites, though the prizes given out by the NBCC are often difficult to predict. The full longlist is below. 

  • In the Country by Mia Alvar
  • The Turner House by Angela Flournoy
  • Mr. and Mrs. Doctor by Julie Iromuanya
  • The Star Side of Bird Hill by Naomi Jackson
  • You Too Can Have a Body Like Mine by Alexandra Kleeman
  • The Unfortunates by Sophie McManus
  • Night of the Fiestas by Kirstin Valdez Quade
  • Landfalls by Naomi Williams