Awards: Ernest J. Gaines Winner; Waterstones Book of the Year Shortlist

The Talented Ribkins (Melville House), the debut novel by Ladee Hubbard, has won the $10,000 2017 Ernest J. Gaines Award for Literary Excellence, which recognizes "outstanding work from rising African-American fiction writers while honoring Louisiana native Ernest Gaines' extraordinary contribution to the literary world."

Organizers said The Talented Ribkins is about "Johnny Ribkin and his family, who use their unusual superpowers to help him search for money stolen from a mobster boss. It's a novel that incorporates race, class and politics with unique gifts. All of these combine to hold the Ribkin family together in their quest."

The award will be presented on January 18 in Baton Rouge, La.


Finalists have been named for the Waterstones Book of the Year award, the British bookstore chain's "annual endeavor to... share with our customers the titles which most celebrate what books can do, in all their lasting pleasure." The traditional six titles have been increased to seven this year because "no matter how we tried--we just couldn't decide on fewer than seven. It's been a stunner of a year." A winner, chosen by a Waterstones panel headed by managing director James Daunt, will be announced November 30. The shortlisted titles are:

Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls by Elena Favilli and Francesca Cavallo    
Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders    
La Belle Sauvage: The Book of Dust Volume One by Philip Pullman          
Mr. Lear by Jenny Uglow      
Talking to My Daughter About the Economy by Yanis Varoufakis  
A Skinful of Shadows by Frances Hardinge
The Lost Words by Robert Macfarlane and Jackie Morris       

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