2017 Winners


Colson Whitehead

The Underground Railroad

(Doubleday, Penguin Random House LLC)

Book cover: The Underground RailroadIn this magnetizing and wrenching saga, Whitehead tells the story of smart and resilient Cora, a young third-generation slave on a Georgia cotton plantation. Certain that the horror will only get worse, she flees with a young man who knows how to reach the Underground Railroad. Each stop Cora makes along the Underground Railroad reveals another shocking and malignant symptom of a country riven by catastrophic conflicts, a poisonous moral crisis, and diabolical violence. Hard-driving, laser-sharp, artistically superlative, and deeply compassionate, Whitehead’s unforgettable odyssey adds a clarion new facet to the literature of racial tyranny and liberation.

Read the Booklist review.


Matthew Desmond

Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City

(Crown, Penguin Random House LLC)

Book cover: EvictedDesmond does a marvelous job exposing the harrowing stories of people who find themselves in bad situations, shining a light on how eviction sets people up to fail. He also makes the case that eviction disproportionately affects women (and, worse, their children). This is essential reading for anyone interested in social justice, poverty, and feminist issues, but its narrative nonfiction style will also draw general readers—and will hopefully spark national discussion.

Read the Booklist review.



Book cover: Moonglow

Michael Chabon


(Harper, an imprint of HarperCollins)

Book cover: Swing Time

Zadie Smith

Swing Time

(Penguin Press, Penguin Random House LLC)

Book cover: The Underground Railroad

Colson Whitehead

The Underground Railroad

(Doubleday, Penguin Random House LLC)


Book cover: Evicted

Matthew Desmond

Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City

(Crown, Penguin Random House LLC)

Book cover: Blood at the Root

Patrick Phillips

Blood at the Root: A Racial Cleansing in America

(W. W. Norton)



Alameddine, Rabih. The Angel of History. (Atlantic Monthly)

Beverly, Bill. Dodgers. (Crown)

Butler, Robert Olen. Perfume River. (Atlantic Monthly)

Chabon, Michael. Moonglow. (Harper)

Eggers, Dave. Heroes of the Frontier. (Knopf)

Enrigue, Álvaro. Sudden Death. (Riverhead)

Erdrich, Louise. LaRose. (Harper)

Gyasi, Yaa. Homegoing. (Knopf)

Haslett, Adam. Imagine Me Gone. (Little, Brown)

Ivey, Eowyn. To the Bright Edge of the World. (Little, Brown)

Lee, Krys. How I Became a North Korean. (Viking)

Mbue, Imbolo. Behold the Dreamers. (Random House)

Morgan, C. E. The Sport of Kings. (Farrar)

Murphy, Tim. Christodora. (Grove)

Patchett, Ann. Commonwealth. (Harper)

Prose, Francine. Mister Monkey. (Harper)

Smith, Dominic. The Last Painting of Sara de Vos. (Farrar)

Smith, Zadie. Swing Time. (Penguin Press)

Strout, Elizabeth. My Name Is Lucy Barton. (Random House)

Terrell, Whitney. The Good Lieutenant. (Farrar)

Thien, Madeleine. Do Not Say We Have Nothing. (Norton)

Watson, Larry. As Good as Gone. (Algonquin)

Whitehead, Colson. The Underground Railroad. (Doubleday)

Woodson, Jacqueline. Another Brooklyn. (Harper)


Bell-Scott, Patricia. The Firebrand and the First Lady: Pauli Murray, Eleanor Roosevelt, and the Struggle for Social Justice. (Knopf)

Desmond, Matthew. Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City. (Crown)

Dum, Christopher P. Exiled in America: Life on the Margins in a Residential Motel. (Columbia University Press)

France, David. How to Survive a Plague: The Inside Story of How Citizens and Science Tamed AIDS. (Knopf)

Isenberg, Nancy. White Trash: The 400-Year Untold History of Class in America. (Viking)

Jahren, Hope. Lab Girl. (Knopf)

Kanigel, Robert. Eyes on the Street: The Life of Jane Jacobs. (Knopf)

King, Ross. Mad Enchantment: Claude Monet and the Painting of the Water Lilies. (Bloomsbury)

Kurlansky, Mark. Paper: Paging through History. (Norton)

Macy, Beth. Truevine: Two Brothers, a Kidnapping, and a Mother’s Quest—A True Story of the Jim Crow South. (Little, Brown)

McBride, James. Kill ‘Em and Leave: Searching for James Brown and the American Soul. (Spiegel & Grau)

McDonald-Gibson, Charlotte. Cast Away: True Stories of Survival from Europe’s Refugee Crisis. (New Press)

Phillips, Patrick. Blood at the Root: A Racial Cleansing in America. (Norton)

Rawlence, Ben. City of Thorns: Nine Lives in the World’s Largest Refugee Camp. (Picador)

Roach, Mary. Grunt: The Curious Science of Humans at War. (Norton)

Sax, David. The Revenge of Analog: Real Things and Why They Matter. (Perseus/Public Affairs)

Shetterly, Margot Lee. Hidden Figures:The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race. (Morrow)

Sobel, Dava. The Glass Universe: How the Ladies of the Harvard Observatory Took the Measure of the Stars. (Viking)

Staiti, Paul. Of Arms and Artists: The American Revolution through Painters’ Eyes. (Bloomsbury)

Wideman, John Edgar. Writing to Save a Life: The Louis Till File. (Scribner)

Williams, Terry Tempest. The Hour of Land: A Personal Topography of America’s National Parks. (Farrar)

Voight, Emily. The Dragon behind the Glass. A True Story of Power, Obsession, and the World's Most Coveted Fish. (Scribner)

Younge, Gary. Another Day in the Death of America: A Chronicle of Ten Short Lives. (Nation Books)