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Longlist For Aspen Words Literary Prize Announced

Aspen Words

Aspen Words’ annual Literary Prize recognizes a work of fiction that tackles a contemporary social issue. The organization, along with NPR Books, has announced the titles in the running this year.  

The 16 books on the longlist for the Aspen Words Literary Prize look at everything from racial injustice, to family separation and immigration, to opioid addiction. 12 are novels, four are short story collections.  


Longlist For 2020 Aspen Words Literary Prize

  • Opioid, Indiana by Brian Allen Carr (Soho Press)
  • Your House Will Pay by Steph Cha (Ecco)
  • Dominicana by Angie Cruz (Flatiron Books)
  • Patsy by Nicole Dennis-Benn (Liveright) 
  • Sabrina & Corina: Stories by Kali Fajardo-Anstine (One World)
  • The Other Americans by Laila Lalami (Pantheon Books)
  • The Beekeeper of Aleppo by Christy Lefteri (Ballantine Books)
  • Lost Children Archive by Valeria Luiselli (Knopf)
  • The Beadworkers: Stories by Beth Piatote (Counterpoint Press)
  • The Affairs of the Falcóns by Melissa Rivero (Ecco)
  • We Cast a Shadow by Maurice Carlos Ruffin (One World) 
  • The World Doesn’t Require You: Stories by Rion Amilcar Scott (Liveright)
  • On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong (Penguin Press)
  • Lot: Stories by Bryan Washington (Riverhead Books)
  • The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead (Doubleday)
  • Red at the Bone by Jacqueline Woodson (Riverhead Books)

Previous winners include “An American Marriage” by Tayari Jones and “Exit West” by Mohsin Hahmid. 

The list will be culled down to five finalists that will be announced in February.  The recipient of the $35,0000 prize will be revealed at a ceremony in New York City in April.

Aspen Words, along with Pitkin County Library, will host a community-wide book club over the selection starting in the spring. 



Contributor Christin Kay is passionate about the rich variety of arts, cultural experiences and stories in the Roaring Fork Valley. She has been a devotee of public radio her whole life. Christin is a veteran of Aspen Public Radio, serving as producer, reporter and interim news director.
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