Selections were reduced from 1,637 books.
On Wednesday, the National Book Foundation announced the 25 books that are still competing for the National Book Awards, now in its 69th year.
The writers come from places like Pittsburgh, Norway, Iran and Poland, and many of them have delved into some of the most urgent conversations of our time: racism, masculinity, addiction, destruction of indigenous culture, class divisions and corporations.
And for the first time since the 1980s, judges will also honor a translation job.
"This year, instead of celebrating the best literature in the United States, we are celebrating the best literature in the United States," Lisa Lucas, executive director of the National Book Foundation, told NPR.
"We are from everywhere and we have to celebrate the world we live in," he said.
The Chilean writer Isabel Allende will be recognized at the awards dinner in New York with the Distinguished Contribution to American Letters Award from the National Book Foundation.
Doron Weber, best known for his "family memories" Immortal bird, will receive the Literary Prize of the Foundation for his outstanding contribution to the American literary community.
On November 13, each finalist will read the pages of his book at The New School in New York City. The winners will be announced the next day.
Jamel Brinkley: A lucky man
Lauren Groff: Florida
Brandon Hobson: Where the dead sit to talk
Rebecca Makkai: The great believers
Sigrid Nunez Friend
Colin G. Calloway: The Indian world of George Washington: the first president, the first Americans and the birth of the nation
Victoria Johnson: American Eden: David Hosack, Botany and Medicine in the garden of the old Republic
Sarah Smarsh: Heartland: a memory of working hard and being broken in the richest country on Earth
Jeffrey C. Stewart: The new black: the life of Alain Locke
Adam Winkler: Corporations: how American companies won their civil rights
Rae Armantrout: Wobble
Terrance Hayes: American sonnets for my past and future murderer
Diana Khoi Nguyen: Ghost of
Justin Phillip Reed: Indecency
Jenny Xie: Height of the eyes
Négar Djavadi: Desoriental
Translated by Tina Kover
Hanne Ørstavik: Love
Translated by Martin Aitken
Domenico Starnone: Trick
Translated by Jhumpa Lahiri
Yoko Tawada: The emissary
Translated by Margaret Mitsutani
Olga Tokarczuk: Flights
Translated by Jennifer Croft
Elizabeth Acevedo: The poet x
M. T. Anderson and Eugene Yelchin: The murder of Brangwain Spurge
Leslie Connor: The truth as Mason Buttle said
Christopher Paul Curtis: Little Charlie's journey
Jarrett J. Krosoczka: Hello boy