The Aspen Institute has announced this year's nominees for its annual prize — 16 titles (including several short story collections and quite a few debut authors) that, in the Institute's words, address "a vital contemporary issue."
The topics these books cover may seem familiar if you follow the news, Aspen Words executive director Adrienne Brodeur said in a statement. "Gun violence, immigration, police brutality, Native American culture — but fiction allows us to examine these issues with more compassion." Brodeur says she hopes the list will get these books into readers' hands, "while also sparking meaningful dialogue around some of our greatest challenges today."
Last year's inaugural prize went to Mohsin Hamid, for Exit West, his powerful novel about migration, refugees, love and loss.
The Institute has partnered with NPR to announce this year's list, as well as the finalists in February. Five judges — including National Book Award nominee Dorothy Allison and Whiting Award winner Samrat Upadhyay — will pick the finalists and the winner of the $35,000 prize, which will be revealed in April at a ceremony in New York City.
You can find the nominees here — or simply scroll down for the list, with links to our coverage.
You won’t find a paywall here. Come as often as you like — we’re not counting. You’ve found a like-minded tribe that cherishes what a free press stands for. If you can spend another couple of minutes making a pledge of as little as $5, you’ll feel like a superhero defending democracy for less than the cost of a month of Netflix.