Unique for combining nonfiction and fiction, the Guardian First Book Award has announced this year's five finalists including Chad Harbach's baseball novel featuring a romance between a player and the university president, and a debut novel about strong working-class women and feckless men in Scotland by Kerry Hudson, an out lesbian. (Katharine Boo and Kevin Powers are also nominated for National Book Awards, to be announced Wednesday night.) The Guardian award has a peerless track record in former winners Alex Ross, Dinaw Mengestu, Yiyun Li, Jonathan Foer, Chris Ware, Zadie Smith, and Philip Gourevitch.
Lindsey Hilsum, Sandstorm: Libya in the Time of Revolution
Kerry Hudson, Tony Hogan Bought Me an Ice-Cream Float Before He Stole My Ma [Kindle]
The winner will be announced November 29.