Ta-Nehisi Coates named National Book Award finalist

Baltimore-born author Ta-Nehisi Coates can add another accolade to his ever-growing resume.

"Between the World and Me," written as an open letter to Coates' son about racism and violence against African-Americans, is one of 10 finalists announced Wednesday for the prestigious National Book Award for nonfiction, the AP reports.


According to the website of the National Book Foundation, which hands out the awards, the other nonfiction finalists are: Cynthia Barnett for "Rain"; Martha Hodes for "Mourning Lincoln"; Sally Mann for "Hold Still"; Sy Montgomery for "The Soul of an Octopus"; Susanna Moore for "Paradise of the Pacific"; Michael Paterniti for "Love and Other Ways of Dying: Essays"; Carla Power for "If the Oceans Were Ink"; Tracy K. Smith for "Ordinary Light"; and Michael White for "Travels in Vermeer."

The longlist of finalists will be narrowed down to five on Oct. 14, AP reports. The winner will be announced on Nov. 18 in New York City.


The 39-year-old Coates, who grew up in West Baltimore and graduated from Woodlawn High School, has spoken nationally about the roots of racial violence, especially following the death of Freddie Gray and the Charleston church massacre this year.

His June 2014 cover story for The Atlantic magazine, "The Case for Reparations," won a George Polk Award for commentary in February. He has also won a National Magazine Award. Coates is The Atlantic's national correspondent.

"Between the World and Me" has famous fans. Novel Prize-winner Toni Morrison called the book "required reading" and described Coates as the intellectual successor to James Baldwin.

For the record, here's our review of the book.