The 2019 National Book Awards have been narrowed down to just 25 finalists, and New Orleans authors Sarah M. Broom and Albert Woodfox fill two of those spots.
Both authors are nominated for books in the nonfiction category, of which there are five.
Broom's "The Yellow House" is a memoir named for the New Orleans East house in which she grew up. The house was destroyed after Hurricane Katrina and the levee failures, which is when Broom moved back to New Orleans. In the book, she discusses the impact Katrina had on her family.
“When I was growing up, there was just no reference. There certainly wasn’t a book about coming from New Orleans East.” — Sarah M. Broom, author of "The Yellow House"
Woodfox's book "Solitary" discusses his time in Angola Prison, where he joined the Black Panther Party. Woodfox and other members of the Panthers were accused of killing a white guard in 1972.
He would spend more than 40 years in solitary confinement before his eventual release in February 2016, and the book details the harrowing conditions he experienced.
Imagine more than 40 years in solitary confinement, 23 hours a day, in a 6-by-9 cell in one of the most brutal penal institutions in America, …
Jericho Brown, a Shreveport native who attended the University of New Orleans and Dillard University and now lives in Atlanta, also is a finalist for the poetry award with his book "The Tradition," which explores themes of safety, evil and freedom.
View a full list of the finalists here. The final awards will be announced Nov. 20 at a ceremony in New York City.