• An Unnecessary Woman, by Rabih Alameddine
  • A Brief History of Seven Killings, by Marlon James
  • Euphoria, by Lily King
  • On Such a Full Sea, by Chang-rae Lee
  • Lila, by Marilynne Robinson


  • Prelude to Bruise, by Saeed Jones
  • The Essential Hits of Shorty Bon Bon, by Willie Perdomo
  • Citizen: An American Lyric, by Claudia Rankine
  • Once in the West, by Christian Wiman
  • Abide, by Jake Adam York


  • The Problem of Slavery in the Age of Emancipation, by David Brion Davis
  • The Zhivago Affair: The Kremlin, the CIA, and the Battle over a Forbidden Book, by Peter Finn and Petra Couvee
  • The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History, by Elizabeth Kolbert
  • Capital and the Twenty-First Century, by Thomas Piketty (translated from the French by Arthur Goldhammer
  • Deep Down Dark: The Untold Stories of 33 Men Buried in a Chilean Mind, and the Miracle That Set Them Free, by Hector Tobar


  • The Splendid Things We Planned: A Family Portrait, by Blake Bailey
  • Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant?, by Roz Chast
  • The Other Side, by Lacy M. Johnson
  • Little Failure, by Gary Shteyngart
  • There Was and There Was Not, by Meline Toumani


  • William Wells Brown: An African American Life, by Ezra Greenspan
  • Rebel Yell: The Violence, Passion and Redemption of Stonewall Jackson, by S.C. Gwynne
  • Tennessee Williams: Mad Pilgrimage of the Flesh, by John Lahr
  • “Literchoor Is My Beat”: A Life of James Laughlin, Publisher of New Directions, Ian S. MacNiven
  • The Crusades of Cesar Chavez: A Biography, by Miriam Pawel


  • On Immunity: An Inoculation, by Eula Biss
  • Geek Sublime: The Beauty of Code, the Code of Beauty, by Vikram Chandra
  • Citizen: An American Lyric, by Claudia Rankine
  • What Would Lynne Tillman Do?, by Lynne Tillman
  • The Essential Ellen Willis, by Ellen Willis

Nona Balakian Citation for Excellence in Reviewing

  • Alexandra Schwartz


  • Charles Finch
  • Barbara K. Fischer
  • Benjamin Moser
  • Liva Russ Spaar

Ivan Sandrof Lifetime Achievement Award

  • Toni Morrison

John Leonard Prize

  • Phil Klay, Redeployment
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By |2015-03-12T18:12:43+00:00January 20th, 2015|Categories: Book Prize News|7 Comments


  1. Lee Monks January 20, 2015 at 6:05 am

    Some great finalists, as ever. Perhaps they couldn’t figure out where to place Ben Lerner…I loved the Marlon James book so I hope that wins. Is like to see Lahr win as well.

  2. Will January 20, 2015 at 9:21 am

    This may be the first time I’ve actually read all the titles on a prize finalist list (fiction). Interesting choices, all strong in their own way. I’m least keen on the Lily King, but it certainly has been well received by others, appearing on so many ‘best of the year’ lists. Robinson’s listing is no surprise and certainly well deserved. I’m most thrilled to see Marlon James listed. I’ve been hoping to see it receive some prize recognition. Like Lee, I loved it – exciting, electric prose, a fascinating piece of Jamaican history. I would be extremely happy to see it win. It might not be for everyone though – it is long, very violent and some of the various, rotating narrators ‘speak’ in a Jamaican patois which could annoy some readers (I didn’t find it a problem).
    I also liked the Lahr and am happy to see Shteyngart listed, although I haven’t read any of their competition.

  3. Lee Monks January 20, 2015 at 10:15 am

    Oh and I hope Roz Chast wins…

  4. Trevor Berrett January 20, 2015 at 2:50 pm

    Great response, Lee and Will. I have read only Lila, which I liked but not nearly as much as its competition: Gilead (I’m unfair there, I know). I have the Lahr and have just been waiting for that moment I can sit and devote some time to it — ha! I need to just dig in! I hadn’t really looked into James’ novel, so thanks for pointing me in that direction.

  5. Lee Monks January 20, 2015 at 4:40 pm

    Treat yourself, Trevor! It’s, at the very least, a majestic array of different voices. But I do think it’s so much more than that.

  6. Trevor Berrett January 20, 2015 at 4:57 pm

    Well why on earth haven’t you reviewed it for us, Lee? ;-)

  7. Lee Monks January 20, 2015 at 5:18 pm

    The prospect is a little daunting! But that shouldn’t put me off…

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