Emmett Till

Jesmyn Ward among finalists for National Book Awards

Jesmyn Ward, Masha Gessen and Frances Fitzgerald are among this year's finalists for the National Book Awards.

On Wednesday, the National Book Foundation announced short lists of five each in the categories of fiction, nonfiction, young people's literature and poetry. Winners will be announced at a Manhattan dinner ceremony on Nov. 15, when Annie Proulx and publisher Dick Robinson of Scholastic will receive honorary prizes.

Fifteen of the 20 nominees are women.

Ward was cited for her haunting, lyrical novel "Sing, Unburied, Sing," her first work of fiction since winning the National Book Award for "Salvage the Bones." The other fiction finalists...