Lisa Hagen, Chris Haxel, Graham Smith and Robert Little of National Public Radio
The podcast “No Compromise” examined a group of American right-wing activists with extreme pro-gun views and a burgeoning following on social media.
Finalists Staff of National Public Radio; Staffs of the Invisible Institute of Chicago, The Intercept and Topic Studios
Ms. Frazier, the young woman who took out her cellphone to record the killing of George Floyd, was recognized for the video that spurred a global reckoning with police brutality.
“The Night Watchman,” by Louise Erdrich
This entry in the ongoing Chippewa chronicles takes place in the 1950s, its title character inspired by Ms. Erdrich’s grandfather and the letters he sent to politicians in Washington in an effort to save his tribe.
Finalists “A Registry of My Passage Upon the Earth,” by Daniel Mason; “Telephone,” by Percival Everett
“Franchise: The Golden Arches in Black America,” by Marcia Chatelain
“Franchise” connects McDonald’s with the civil rights movement, telling the history of the increasingly intricate ties between the fast-food behemoth and Black communities.
Finalists “The Deviant’s War: The Homosexual vs. the United States of America,” by Eric Cervini; “The Three-Cornered War: The Union, the Confederacy, and Native Peoples in the Fight for the West,” by Megan Kate Nelson
“The Dead Are Arising: The Life of Malcolm X,” by the late Les Payne and Tamara Payne
This poetic biography, completed by Les Payne’s daughter and principal researcher, Tamara Payne, after his death in 2018, reconstructs the conditions and key moments of Malcolm X’s life, using hundreds of original interviews with his family, friends, colleagues and adversaries.
Finalists “Red Comet: The Short Life and Blazing Art of Sylvia Plath,” by Heather Clark; “Stranger in the Shogun’s City: A Japanese Woman and Her World,” by Amy Stanley
“Postcolonial Love Poem,” by Natalie Diaz
The New York Times Book Review called this collection, which showcases Ms. Diaz’s gift for musicality and imagery and centers the experiences of queer women of color, “no doubt one of the most important poetry releases in years.”
Finalists “A Treatise on Stars,” by Mei-mei Berssenbrugge; “In the Lateness of the World,” by Carolyn Forché