South Boston Author’s Book is a Massachusetts Book Awards “Must Read”

Massachusetts Center for the Book (MCB) is pleased to announce the “Must Read” longlists in the 20th annual Massachusetts Book Awards. The awards recognize significant works of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry for adults and young readers written by Massachusetts authors and published during the preceding calendar year.

This year’s longlist for Fiction includes Bunny (Viking), by South Boston resident Mona Awad, a dark academic satire and creepy horror novel following a group of mean girls in an MFA program; it makes the reader simultaneously laugh and cringe. “It’s beautiful to check in with what’s being done around the state – and to give a boost to fiction that deserves to be widely read,” stated William Pierce, Coeditor of AGNI Magazine and lead fiction judge for this year’s Mass Book Awards.

In August, the Center will announce the award winner and two honors titles in each of the five award categories with the hope of celebrating all titles in the program at a 20th anniversary reception in the Fall. The complete list follows:

Must-Read Fiction:
The Age of Light by Whitney Scharer; Big Giant Floating Head by Christopher Boucher; Blue Hours by Daphne Kalotay; Bunny by Mona Awad; A Kind of Solitude by Dariel Suarez; Leading Men by Christopher Castellani; The Lesson by Cadwell Turnbull; The Limits of the World by Jennifer Acker; On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong; Repentance by Andrew Lam; This Is Not a Love Song by Brendan Mathews; Wake Siren by Nina MacLaughlin

Must-Read Nonfiction
American Radicals by Holly Jackson; Black Radical by Kerri K. Greenidge; The Body Papers by Grace Talusan; City on a Hill by Alex Krieger; Once More to the Rodeo by Calvin Hennick; The Optimist’s Telescope by Bina Venkataraman; Some of My Friends Are by Deborah L. Plummer; The Soul of Care by Arthur Kleinman; Stony The Road by Henry Louis Gates, Jr.; Walk this Way by Geoff Edgers; What We Will Become by Mimi Lemay; Womanish by Kim McLarin

Must-Read Poetry:
Battle Dress by Karen Skolfield; The Boy in the Labyrinth by Oliver de la Paz; Here All Night by Jill McDonough; Little-Known Operas by Patrick Donnelly; The Lord of Everywhere by John Hodgen; Love and I by Fanny Howe; Memento Mori by Charles Coe; Nightshade by Andrea Cohen; Soft Science by Franny Choi; Ugly Music by Diannely Antigua; Voices of Dogtown by James R. Scrimgeour; Wonder Tissue by Hannah Larrabee

Must-Read Middle Grade/Young Adult Literature:
1919 The Year That Changed America by Martin W. Sandler; Cilla Lee-Jenkins: The Epic Story by Susan Tan; Diary of an Awesome Friendly Kid by Jeff Kinney; Every Moment After by Joseph Moldover; Midsummer’s Mayhem by Rajani LaRocca; The Next Great Paulie Fink by Ali Benjamin; Revenge of the Red Club by Kim Harrington; Shouting at the Rain by Lynda Mullaly Hunt; The Waning Age by S.E. Grove; What Every Girl Should Know by J. Albert Mann; White Rose by Kip Wilson; XL by Scott Brown

Must-Read Picture Books/Early Readers:
Because by Mo Willems; Daniel’s Good Day by Micha Archer; Eek, You Reek! by Jane Yolen and Heidi E. Y. Stemple; Follow Chester! by Gloria Respress-Churchwell; Gittel’s Journey by Lesléa Newman; Here and Now by Julia Denos; The Hundred-Year Barn by Patricia MacLachlan; Linus the Little Yellow Pencil by Scott Magoon; Monument Maker by Linda Booth Sweeney; Tiny Feet Between the Mountains by Hanna Cha; ¡Vamos! Let’s Go to the Market by Raúl the Third; What Miss Mitchell Saw by Hayley Barrett

“In the midst of a public health crisis, we take heart that we can announce another exciting year for Massachusetts writing,” said Sharon Shaloo, Executive Director of MCB. “These awards confirm the strength and vitality of our extensive community of authors and illustrators working in our academic and literary economies. We look forward to promoting the long lists in every way we can throughout the spring and summer.”

The Massachusetts Center for the Book is a public-private partnership, chartered as the Commonwealth affiliate of the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress, and charged with developing, supporting and promoting cultural programming to advance the cause of books and reading. For more information, please visit or call 617-872-3718.