The Aspen Institute unveiled the longlist for its annual Aspen Words Literary Prize on Thursday, with Jacqueline Woodson, Ocean Vuong , and Colson Whitehead among the finalists.
The award is given each year to an outstanding “work of fiction that addresses a vital contemporary issue.”
Fajardo-Anstine’s book is one of four short story collections to make the list, along with Bryan Washington’s Lot, Rion Amilcar Scott’s The World Doesn’t Require You,and Beth Piatote’s The Beadworkers.
Other notable books on the longlist include Nicole Dennis-Benn’s Patsy, Valeria Luiselli’s Lost Children Archive, and Steph Cha’s Your House Will Pay. The complete longlist is available on the prize’s website.
In a news release, Aspen Words Executive Director Adrienne Brodeur said, “Fiction can help bridge divides across political, racial and socioeconomic lines. This year’s longlist includes titles that grapple with many of our biggest contemporary challenges.”
The winner of the award, which comes with a $35,000 cash prize, will be announced on Feb. 19, 2020.
Michael Schaub is an Austin, Texas-based journalist and regular contributor to NPR.