announced as a finalist for the prestigious PEN/Faulkner award in fiction. The novels included Whitehead's Sag Harbor, Sherman Alexie's War Dances, Barbara Kingsolver's The Lacuna, Lorrie Moore's A Gate at the Stairs, and Lorraine N. Lopez's Homicide Survivors Picnic and Other Stories.
Based on the coverage so far, it appears that Alexie or Kingsolver are favored to win. At least their names are mentioned most often in the headlines for the award.
Nonetheless, I get the sense that in the marketplace of fiction, authors get considerable credit for being a finalist. Random House publisher placed a prominent sticker on the cover of the paperback edition of Whitehead's John Henry Days highlighting that the book was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction. Sure, winning would be most important. But reaching the final round somehow brings rewards too.