Molly Antopol, whose debut story collection, The UnAmericans (W.W. Norton & Company), was my favorite book of 2014, is one of three finalists in the fiction category of Barnes & Noble’s Discover New Writers award program. [Read my review of Feb. 8, 2014 — coincidentally enough, one year ago today — here, and my interview with Antopol here.]
The other fiction finalists are Arna Bontemps Hemenway for Elegy on Kinderklavier (Sarabande Books) and Evie Wyld for All the Birds, Singing (Pantheon Books).
The nonfiction finalists are Bryce Andrews for Badluck Way: A Year on the Ragged Edge of the West (Atria Books), Caitlin Doughty for Smoke Gets in Your Eyes (W.W. Norton & Company), and Will Harlan for Untamed (Grove/Atlantic).
The award is celebrating its 25th year in 2015. The two winners, who will each receive $10,000, will be announced at a ceremony in New York City on March 4. The runner-up in each category will receive $5,000, while the third-place finisher will receive $2,500.
Over a thousand books published in 2014 were submitted for the contest by publishers. The three judges in each category narrowed the list down to 64 books and, ultimately, to the three finalist.
Antopol has enjoyed a remarkable 15 months, starting with being named one of the National Book Foundation’s “5 Under 35” writers at the NBA’s awards ceremony in November 2013. The UnAmericans was published in February 2014 to consistently positive (and occasionally rave) reviews and was nominated for the 2014 National Book Award. She is currently teaching creative writing at Stanford University.
Evie Wyld is the Anglo-Australian author of After the Fire, a Still, Small Voice (2009) and All the Birds, Singing (2014 in the U.S.). In 2010 she was listed by The Daily Telegraph as one of the twenty best British authors under the age of 40. In 2013 she was included on the once a decade Granta Best of Young British Novelists List. Her novels have been shortlisted for the The Costa Novel Prize, The Miles Franklin Award, the Commonwealth Writers Prize, the Orange Award for New Writers, the Dublin International IMPAC Prize, The James Tait Black Prize, and long listed for the Stella Prize and the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction.