The New York Public Library has announced the finalists for the 2016 Young Lions Fiction Award and, for the first time, all five nominees are women. The Young Lions program is a membership group of people in their 20s and 30s who support the NYPL and celebrate young writers and artists who are making an impact on the city’s cultural life.
The 2016 finalists are:
Angela Flournoy, The Turner House (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
Amelia Gray, Gutshot: Stories (FSG Originals)
Alexandra Kleeman, You Too Can Have a Body Like Mine (Harper)
Helen Phillips, The Beautiful Bureaucrat (Henry Holt)
Kirstin Valdez Quade, Night at the Fiestas: Stories (Norton)
The award, which is given to an outstanding writer under 35, comes with a $10,000 prize. The five finalists are selected by a reading committee of Young Lions members, writers, editors, and librarians. A panel of judges selects the winner. The Young Lions Fiction Award was founded by Ethan Hawke, Jennifer Rudolph Walsh, Rick Moody, and Hannah McFarland and made possible by an endowment funded by Hawke, Moody, and several other benefactors.
The award will be presented during a ceremony at the library on June 9.
Night at the Fiestas was recently awarded the John Leonard Prize for debut fiction by the National Book Critics Circle. The prize is decided by a direct vote of the organization’s 700 members nationwide. The story collection also received the Sue Kaufman Prize for First Fiction from the American Academy of Arts and Letters and a “5 Under 35” award from the National Book Foundation. It was a New York Times Notable Book, and was named a best book of 2015 by the San Francisco Chronicle and the American Library Association.
The Turner House was a finalist for the National Book Award and the Barnes & Noble “Discover Great New Writers Award.” It was also short-listed for the Center for Fiction’s First Novel Prize and the PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize for Debut Fiction, and was nominated for the NAACP Image Awards for Outstanding Literary Work — Debut Author. The Turner House was also a New York Times Notable Book and an Editors’ Choice.
Flournoy’s debut is also a finalist in The Morning News’ Tournament of Books, a “March Madness” playoff in which 16 books are placed in brackets to compete against each other, with a different judge for each match. The Turner House, which just yesterday defeated Hanya Yanagihara’s A Little Life, will face Paul Beatty’s The Sellout, which defeated Lauren Groff’s Fates and Furies and just last week won the National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction, in the championship today.
I’ve very much enjoyed Amelia Gray’s works in the past, though I struggled with her novel. I’ve met her, too; her personality is surprisingly like her stories.