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Colson Whitehead leads the National Book Award’s fiction longlist.

Amy Sussman/Getty

Whitehead’s The Underground Railroad—an Oprah Book Club pick, New York Times bestseller, and pretty clear “book of the year”—was always going to make the NBA longlist. It will make the shortlist too and will be the odds-on-favorite to win the prize itself in November. The rest of the longlist, however, is eclectic, and features a number of very strong, somewhat under-the-radar books—most notably Chris Bachelder’s The Throwback Special (the year’s most underrated novel), Garth Greenwell’s What Belongs to You (its best debut), and Jacqueline Woodson’s Another Brooklyn (the novel most likely to upset The Underground Railroad in November). The full National Book Award for Fiction longlist is below.

  • Chris Bachelder, The Throwback Special
  • Garth Greenwell, What Belongs to You
  • Adam Haslett, Imagine Me Gone
  • Paulette Jiles, News of the World
  • Karan Mahajan, The Association of Small Bombs
  • Lydia Millet, Sweet Lamb of Heaven
  • Elizabeth McKenzie, The Portable Veblen
  • Brad Watson, Miss Jane
  • Colson Whitehead, The Underground Railroad
  • Jacqueline Woodson, Another Brooklyn