5 under 35

National Book Foundation Honors 5 Inspiring Young Authors Under 35

The results are in for the National Book Foundation’s 2018 5 Under 35 Honorees! The 5 Under 35 is an annual prize that honors five promising, debut fiction writers from around the world.

 

The honorees are chosen by a panel of previous National Book Award winners, finalists, longlisted authors or even those who have who have been honored a 5 under 35 prize themselves.

This year’s recipients are as follows:

 

 

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Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah, author of Friday Black (Mariner Books / Houghton Mifflin Harcourt) has been selected by Colson Whitehead, 2016 National Book Award Winner for Fiction. Adjei-Brenyah has proudly dedicated the “majority of my adult life….to the [writing] craft”. He received his MFA in creative writing from Syracuse University and now works as a creative writing and literature professor. Friday Black is a collection of “surreal tales and dystopian satire about American consumerism and race”.
 

 

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Hannah Lillith Assadi, author of Sonora (Soho Press) has been selected by Claire Vaye Watkins, 2012 5 Under 35 Honoree. Assadi received her MFA in fiction from Columbia University. Having grown up in Arizona, and moved to NYC, it comes as no surprise that the desert and the city both make appearances in her debut novel about “two girls that fall into a deeply emotional partnership and flee their homes for New York City after a series of mysterious deaths in their high school” in their search for “love, ecstasy, oblivion, and belonging”, all while their past threaten to unravel their attempts.

 

 

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Akwaeke Emezi, author of Freshwater (Grove Atlantic) has been selected by Carmen Maria Machado, 2017 National Book Award Finalist for Fiction. A graduate of New York University, Emezi’s Freshwater is based “in the author’s realities”. Told from the perspective of “Nigerian protagonist Ada”, “this raw and extraordinary debut explores the metaphysics of identity and being, plunging the reader into the mysteries of self.”

 

 

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Lydia Kiesling, author of The Golden State (MCD Books / Farrar, Straus & Giroux / Macmillan Publishers) has been selected by Samantha Hunt, 2006 5 Under 35 Honoree. “I really squeaked in under the wire,” Kiseling remarked, in regard to being the oldest of the chosen 5 Under 35 honorees this year. Having visited her mother’s home state of California, Kiesling’s The Golden State follows the trend of authors writing from their personal experience. Kiseling’s The Golden State is a “gorgeous, raw debut novel about a young woman braving the ups and downs of motherhood in a fractured America” which offers “a sharp examination of class, culture, and parenthood.”

 

 

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Moriel Rothman-Zecher, author of Sadness Is a White Bird (Atria Books / Simon & Schuster) has been selected by Bill Clegg, 2015 National Book Award Longlist for Fiction. A graduate of Middlebury College, Rothman-Zecher’s own feelings for the Israeli army influenced Sadness is a White Bird, where a young Israeli soldier named Jonathan navigates his own feelings toward the Israeli army. Jonathan must “must reconcile his loyalty to his country with his close friendship with two Palestinian siblings” in a “powerful narrative of heritage, legacy, violence, and self-discovery”.

 

 

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