NEW YORK (AP) — Two former National Book Award nominees, Deesha Philyaw and Sarah Shun-lien Bynum, are among this year’s finalists for the 17th annual Story Prize for short fiction.

Philyaw’s “The Secret Lives of Church Ladies” and Bynum’s “Likes” were finalists, along with Danielle Evans’ “The Office of Historical Corrections.”

“In a difficult year, these three books provided solace — not by offering escapist fantasies but by directly engaging with past and current realities through truly inventive and deeply engaging storytelling,” Story Prize Director Larry Dark said in a statement Tuesday.

The winner of the $20,000 prize will be announced March 10; runners-up each receive $5,000. Previous winners include George Saunders, Edwidge Danticat and Lauren Groff.