Indian American author Mitali Perkins’ novel features in longlist of National Book Awards

Perkins’ novel is among the 10 that have been selected for the longlist

The New Yorker has announced the long list of books contending for this year’s National Book Awards and it features Indian American writer Mitali Perkins’ novel “You Bring the Distant Near”.

Perkins’ novel is among the 10 that have been selected for the longlist in the category of Young People’s Literature.

“You Bring the Distant Near” is the story of five women, who are at once “intimately relatable and yet entirely new”. Through the novel, Perkins tries to capture the immigrant experience for one Indian-American family with humor and heart.

The other authors to feature in the longlist are: Elana K. Arnold, “What Girls Are Made Of”; Robin Benway, “Far from the Tree”; Samantha Mabry, “All the Wind in the World”; Jason Reynolds, “Long Way Down”; Erika L. Sánchez, “I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter”; Laurel Snyder, “Orphan Island”; Angie Thomas, “The Hate U Give”; Rita Williams-Garcia, “Clayton Byrd Goes Underground” and Ibi Zoboi, “American Street”


The finalists will be decided by a judging panel comprising of Suzanna Hermans, the co-owner of Oblong Books & Music, in the Hudson Valley; Brendan Kiely, whose book “All American Boys,” co-authored by Jason Reynolds, won the 2016 Coretta Scott King Author Honor Award; Kekla Magoon, whose book “X: A Novel,” written with Ilyasah Shabazz, was long-listed for the award in 2015; Meg Medina, whose novel “Burn Baby Burn” was long-listed for the award in 2016; and Alex Sanchez, whose books include “Rainbow Boys” and the Lambda Literary Award-winning “So Hard to Say.”

The finalists will be announced on October 4, and winners of National Book Awards will be announced during a grand ceremony in New York on November 15.

Interestingly, the announcement of its inclusion in the long list comes on the book release day.

Perkins was born in Kolkata, India, to Bengali parents who traveled extensively while she was a kid. By the age of 11, she had lived in Ghana, Cameroon, London, New York and Mexico before finally settling in California. By then she was ready for her middle school.

Perkins completed political science at Stanford and public policy at U.C. Berkeley.

She is the author of 10 novels for young readers published by Penguin Random House, Charlesbridge, Candlewick, Little Brown, and Macmillan Children’s Books.

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