Elaine Castillo longlisted for Aspen Words Prize for America is Not the Heart

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.

To see the full list of nominees click here.

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