Author Edward P. Jones His novel, The Known World, is receiving critical acclaim and has been selected as a finalist for the National Book Award for fiction. It's about a black farmer and former slave who becomes a slave owner. Jones made his literary debut more than 10 years ago with Lost in the City, a collection of short stories about struggling black residents of Washington, D.C. It won the Lannan Literary Award. Until recently Jones made his living as a proofreader for the trade magazine Tax Notes.