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Announcing the Finalists for the 2020 Big Other Book Award for Nonfiction!


We are excited to announce the finalists for the 2020 Big Other Book Award for Nonfiction. The winner will be announced April 8, 2021 at 7:00 p.m. at the 2020 Big Other Book Awards Ceremony.

All the books below are linked to their respective pages at Bookshop. Visit the Big Other Shop there, where you can find the list of finalists in its entirety.

Without further ado, here are the finalists for the 2020 Big Other Book Award for Nonfiction:

Harold Abramowitz and Will Alexander’s Colloquy at the Abyss: A Fugitive Amalgam (Insert Blanc Press)

Louise Amoore’s Cloud Ethics: Algorithms and the Attributes of Ourselves and Others (Duke University Press)

Tobias Carroll’s Political Sign (Object Lessons)

Debra Di Blasi’s Selling the Farm (C&R Press)

Joan Frank’s Try to Get Lost (University of New Mexico Press)

Rolf Halden’s Environment (Object Lessons)

Kapka Kassabova’s To the Lake: A Balkan Journey of War and Peace (Graywolf)

Tsipi Keller’s And Yes She Was (Unsolicited Press)

Michael Leong’s Contested Records: The Turn to Documents in Contemporary North American Poetry (University of Iowa Press)

Greg Mania’s Born to Be Public (Clash Books)

Sarah Minor’s Bright Archive (Rescue Press)

Wayétu Moore’s The Dragons, the Giant, the Women (Graywolf)

Lisa Olstein’s Pain Studies (Bellevue Literary Press)

Caryl Pagel’s Out of Nowhere into Nothing (FC2)

Claudia Rankine’s Just Us: An American Conversation (Graywolf)

David Rothenberg’s The Possibility of Reddish Green: Wittgenstein Outside Philosophy (Terra Nova)

Elsa Valmidiano’s We Are No Longer Babaylan (New Rivers Press)

Karla Cornejo Villavicencio‘s The Undocumented Americans (One World)

Black Imagination: Black Voices on Black Futures, edited by Natasha Marin (McSweeney’s)

Dispatches from the Republic of Letters: 50 Years of the Neustadt International Prize for Literature, edited by Daniel Simon (Deep Vellum)


  • John Madera is the author of Nervosities (Anti-Oedipus Press, 2024). His other fiction is published in Conjunctions, Salt Hill, The &Now Awards 2: The Best Innovative Writing, and many other journals. His nonfiction is published in American Book Review, Bookforum, The Review of Contemporary Fiction, Rain Taxi: Review of Books, The Believer, The Brooklyn Rail, and many other venues. Recipient of an M.F.A. in Literary Arts from Brown University, New York State Council on the Arts awardee John Madera lives in New York City, Rhizomatic and manages and edits Big Other.

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