The Orwell Foundation unveiled the longlists for their 2020 Orwell Prizes, with 25 books named finalists in the Political Fiction and Political Writing categories.
The longlist for the Political Fiction Book Prize contains 13 titles, including several books that have become stalwarts of this literary awards season.
Colson Whitehead’s The Nickel Boys, which won the Kirkus Prize and was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, made the Orwell longlist, as did Ben Lerner’s critically acclaimed The Topeka School.
Lucy Ellmann’s 1,040-page Ducks, Newburyport, which won the Goldsmiths Prize and was a finalist for the Booker Prize, was named a finalist, along with Bernardine Evaristo’s Girl, Woman, Other, one of two novels to win the Booker. (Margaret Atwood’s The Testaments, the other Booker winner, didn’t make the Orwell Prize longlist.)
The Orwell Foundation has honored books since 1994. Last year, they split their annual book award into two categories, one for fiction and one for nonfiction. The winners in 2019 were Anna Burns’ Milkmanand Patrick Radden Keefe’s Say Nothing.
The winners of this year’s awards will be announced on June 25, George Orwell’s birthday.
Michael Schaub is a Texas-based journalist and regular contributor to NPR.