Colin Dwyer

Out of 1,032 books, only 18 remain.

Judges for the Kirkus Prize have whittled a vast list of eligible entrants down to just six finalists each in three categories: fiction, nonfiction and young readers' literature. The shortlists for the literary award, now in its second year, boast a healthy mix — between Americans and writers in translation, second-timers and old hands, headline-grabbers and small presses.

And that's not to mention the picture books.

It's not often that you'll get the National Book Awards confused for that other NBA, but at least in this respect they're the same: They don't go picking their winners lightly — or quickly. Since 2013, in a bid to raise its profile, the prestigious literary prize has been unveiling and then whittling its lists of nominees over multiple rounds, over multiple months.

The first of these rounds wrapped up Thursday, as the National Book Foundation rolled out its long list of 10 nominees for the fiction prize.

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